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

By Amani Wagih Abd Al-Halim.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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.

Keywords: Marginalized Ordinary Woman, Egyptian and Latino Societies

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.251-264. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 789.341KB).

Amani Wagih Abd Al-Halim

Assistant Professor, English Department, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt

I received my B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the English Department, Cairo University. I have been an assistant professor since 2007, have participated in four conferences: the Ninth and Tenth International Symposium on Comparative Literature (Cairo November 2008 and December 2010), the Third International Conference CASAR (Beirut January 2010) and the First International Conference on Language, Culture and Literary Studies (Vlore September 2010). I have taught language skills in many places since 1985, have taught courses on Drama, American Literature and Culture in the English Department since 2005. My fields of study, research and interest are: comparative literature, semiotics, dramatic performance, psychology and post-colonial studies.

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