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Women at Point Zero and Doll's House

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Disguises and masks can not only change or alter the way one looks, but can also hide one's true personality. Even though Woman at Point Zero and A Doll's House are two different genres and in different cultural settings, one can find repeated references to the role of disguises in both texts. Both Nawal El Saadawi and Henrik Ibsen initially cover their main characters, Firdaus and Nora under physical and emotional disguises. The role of physical disguises highlights how both women have to mould themselves in order to fit into stereotypes created by society. Furthermore, emotional disguises emphasize the desperate measures taken by the both the protagonists to maintain their lifestyle. In addition, the climaxes of both works are based on the removal and disposal of disguises. Both authors write these books to relay their thoughts about women empowerment and the issue of the removal of disguises plays a big part in portraying the freedom they obtain after being suppressed. Firdaus mentions that "the skillful lines penciled around [her] eyes [hints] at just the right combination of attraction and rejection" (12). ...read more.


Firdaus in Woman at Point Zero slips on an emotional disguise in order to fulfill her materialistic aims. She declares that "as a prostitute [she] [is] not [herself], [her] feelings did not rise from within [her]" (85). She "[makes] no effort, [expends] no energy, [gives] no affection and [provides] no thought" (86) when she sleeps with men. The parallelism displays the stealth and disgust Firdaus feels when she is making love with them. This reminds the reader that she shared no intimacy with the men, and she only sleeps with them in order to earn her daily bread. The diction shows that her life is void of feelings and emotions; she appears to be robotic. In contrast, Nora in A Doll's House hides her true feelings and pretends to be desperately in need for help because she wants to stop her husband from reading the letter that could damage their relationship. She needs to act like a docile wife who "[couldn't] get anywhere without [his] help (85). she knows that "he's so proud of being a man" (36). ...read more.


and had never had any personal opinions. She realizes that "[she] must educate [herself]" (99) and "try to find out [her] own answers" (100). Throughout the play Nora uses exclamatory and childish language. The use of direct language in her dialogues in the climax of the play shows the emergence of a strong and independent woman. Throughout her life she had avoided to face the hardship and realities of life by putting on a disguise but she now realizes that she has been living a lie. She casts aside her fa´┐Żade and becomes a changed person. Both Firdaus and Nora execute controversial acts in order acquire freedom. While Firdaus does the unthinkable when she murders a pimp, Nora also breaks the image of the typecast nineteenth century European wife when she leaves her family in order to discover truths about herself and live life on her own terms. Firdaus realized from the beginning that she was "a blind creature that could neither see [herself] nor anyone else" (41), nevertheless she didn't break free till the end. On the other hand, Nora realization is an on-going process throughout the play. The letter just acts as a catalyst to instigate her to make the divisive decision in the end. ...read more.

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