The Power of Marginalized Egyptian and Latina Women: Disappointments and Aspirations

Abd Al-Halim, Amani Wagih
November 2012
International Journal of the Humanities;2012, Vol. 9 Issue 10, p251
Academic Journal
In her article entitled 'Writing Arab Woman's Lives' Jean Makdisi stated that studying the lives of ordinary women foreshadows their social life and the culture they live in. As a result, they are regarded as "creators of culture", and therefore as "major participants in history", so "instead of perceiving them as mute, deaf, blind-in other words as an absence-we learn to look at women, especially the ordinary woman,... as active people with a voice of their own" (Makdisi 2005). Salwa Bakr in Such a Beautiful Voice that Comes out from Within Her (1980) and Sandra Cisneros in The House on Mango Street (1984) highlight the issue of the marginalized ordinary woman through the exposure of various social relationships. Sayeda and Esperanza are two socially oppressed female protagonists brought forth by Bakr and Cisneros to depict their dreams, which clash with the cultures of their respective Egyptian and Latino societies. Therefore, this paper will use textual analysis to explore the disappointments and aspirations of both protagonists within their respective social and cultural contexts, which in turn result in a lack of communication between them and their societies. The paper will draw parallels between the two works with particular focus on the attempts of Sayeda and Esperanza to attain self-identity, which inevitably leads to either the failure or success of the two female protagonists respectively.


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