Marriage and culture Two different female models in litterature Essay


Marriage and culture

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Two different Female Models in Literature


Women rights were the most precious prize to fight for - Marriage and culture Two different female models in litterature Essay introduction. In any place or time, women had to find their way through life in a manhood communities.

In this paper we are talking about two different women in different times and places ,their stories were written by two of the most famous writers .One of the women is in Naguib Mahfouz short story “The Answer is no” (Mahfouz 24) and the other is “Eveline” (Joyce 46) in James Joyce’s brilliant story collection “Dubliners” .

Both women refused to marry the antagonist in the story, and we will find out why by discussing both point of view.

1. Story overview

In Mahfouz’s story, we can see a young rich woman, who was raped when she was young by her teacher and that man promised her, he would propose to her when she becomes older. when the time came and she understood exactly what happened to her and what this man had done .she refused to marry him and she thought that she couldn’t love with him nor respect him and he also may be after her money, so she took a decision and refused to do what she supposed to do to deal with the shame of rape and marry the rapist and agreed to go on with her life working and studying and sacrificing love and marriage (Mahfouz 24).

“Eveline” in Joyce’s story is an Irish young woman in the latter years of the nineteenth century, who was taking care of her father and young brother after her mother death. The girl Eveline was suffering from her father cruelness and living without hope or love working in this boring job giving all her money to her father and one of her brothers was dead and the other works far from home.Eveline was in a relationship with a sailor called Frank. He was going to take her to Buenos Aires to get married and live there in a house of their own, anew hopeful life. But Eveline by the end of the story and when the time came to run away with Frank, she didn’t get on board and left Frank to travel alone (Joyce 46).

1.1 character analysis

In the first story,” The Answer is no” (Mahfouz 24), the young woman ,who was raped ,refused to marry the man who did this crime, she faced him and said no because she couldn’t respect or love him and couldn’t imagine her life with the man who killed her innocence (Mahfouz 25)and she couldn’t imagine that he could own her and have the upper hand on her by this marriage .She was also sure that he wasn’t going to marry her because of love as he said .  She thought he was after her money because her family was rich (Mahfouz 26).

In “Eveline”, the heroine was a girl with lots of happy childhood memories with neighbors, friends and with her family (Joyce 46), her father had been gentle once. Her life was changed after her mother death and her brother Ernest also died (Joyce 48) and the other left home and she became lonely with a very cruel father who she was afraid of (Joyce 46) and even this life was miserable from many ways, but it was familiar. It was the only life she knew. The man Frank ,she didn’t really loved him ,she only liked him(Joyce 50)he was kind and kind-hearted (Joyce 49).She knew that he is going to make her happy by marrying her, she would become a respectable person with a house of her own and she could have love. On the other hand, she was afraid of this new life, of the new country she will travel to, running away from her past life, a way from her family that counts on her, away from the house she promised her mother to keep altogether (Joyce 52)

Eveline was also afraid from what people are going to say about her after that. And although she may seem hating her father, but she was afraid to leave him alone. We can say that Eveline refused to leave with Frank because she couldn’t live another life other than her own, even if this life was better and also we may notice that she really didn’t love Frank enough to leave with him and have this new life knowing nothing about it with lack of confidence in her self. This was a struggle between what she wanted to have and what she must do and also a fear from a future she doesn’t know.

1.2 cultural factors

When we talk about Mahfouz’s story, we may put in minds that Eastern societies, including Egyptian community where the events of this story took place attaches great importance to the honor of women and surround it by protection and Beatification.Atef Khairy in his article “84% of rape victims are less than eighteen years old.” Declares that this community never tolerates in this matter and deal with rape cases with Cruelty directed towards the female victim. Girls are often stigmatized as the cause of the rape as a result of her disrespect behavior. Egyptian men do not tolerate his wife or his wife to be if they were exposed to this before or after marriage. It is difficult to them to marry females had been raped or had lost their virginity before marriage .This happens without consideration to the legitimate justifications. Most cases of rape pledged or has not been reported, the victim often ends by the rapist marrying his female victim in order to prevent her scandal, it’s even a part of the law and although it may solve the problem of the scandal apparently, but girl in this position couldn’t live with a husband she once hated for what he had done to her.. She would feel humiliated, frustration and injustice. This weak part of the Egyptian law that gives an offender the right to marry the victim is used by some men to force young girls to marry them without their desire or their parents’ desire.

Therefore, we see how the heroine in Mahfouz’s story had refused to marry her rapist despite the fact that this marriage may be considered the only solution to get out of her critical position she was facing (Mahfouz 26).By doing so, she has challenged the men-dominated society and risked to be ostracized by her community, when truth is discovered. She sacrificed the natural desire of any woman in love, marriage and motherhood because of her inability to marry another man for the community’s rejection of raped women .She refused to marry a criminal and said no to him, and no to a society that give men like him the right to the superiority by the order of law and another big NO for the future, love and marriage.

In The time of “Eveline” was written, Irish women were repressed by their men. As O’Brien declared:

Eveline’s struggles for a mature sense of Self come to nothing because she finds herself at the bottom of this pile [the writer means the society]. Marriage would be a significant step-up for her – but that would entail a relationship with a man who had something of reciprocity or symmetry about it. However, Frank (her `fellow’ or marriage-prospect, whom, unexpectedly, she has begun to like) swims into her ken and out again only as a distant star: the emotional life of her family has been too ground down by her tyrannical father, for her to have any experience of what it might be like to connect with a man as with an equal. So Eveline has to remain regressed-by-default in the only `meaningful relationship’ of her life, that with her mother : for her, there can never come about that psychological progression away from the imaginary experience of infantile all-satisfying maternal love, and towards an adult love received from some real Other.

As we can see, Eveline marriage was a brave step one with her life and position couldn’t ever do. She on the contrary to Mahfouz’s heroine, refused marriage because of her weakness.

2. Conclusion

Despite that the decisions of both our female heroines are against the sense of social customs as in Mahfouz’s story and against logic and self-esteem as in Joyce’s, but those decision was well-founded if we consider the psychological point of view for both women and the situation they were both in. The decision of not marrying the men in the stories was the only thing to do if we were them.









Works Cited

Atef, Khairy. “84% of rape victims are less than eighteen years old.” Akhbar Alhawadeth: Accidents News 11 Aug. 2005 [Cairo, Egypt].

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Vol. 1. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University, 2005.

Mahfouz, Naguib. In The Time and the Place and Other Stories. Vol. 1. Trans. Denys Johnson-Davis. 2nd ed. Cairo, Egypt: AUC Press, 1991.

O’Brien, Eugene. “‘because she was a girl’ Gender identity and the Postcolonial in James Joyce’s ‘Eveline’.” The Jesuits in Ireland. 2005. 9 May 2007 <>.









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