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Women at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi and Outsider by Albert Camus both present protagonists who refuse to conform to societys expectations.

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Introduction

Hi Jensen You use the wrong word, confirm, rather than conform, which is what I think you mean. Please fix. Some other confusing points are made - in what ways is Mersault's liberation ironic? Your explanation does not answer this. I think that your point that overcoming his fear is the main point is incorrect. I think he is just now convinced that his way of seeing the world is right and that the others have got it wrong. His execution vindicates his philosophy. I am also not sure what you mean by Firdaus's mental freedom - better to say that she overcomes her fear of men. Also why do you talk about hegemonies (plural) in Egyptian society? What groups of people are you referring to? However, the biggest problem with your opening paragraph is that you have not answered the question "To what extent...". I have no clear sense of a line of argument here. Para 2 - Rethink your statements that Mersault advocates existentialism and FIrdaus advocates femininsm. These statements are too broad and not entirely true. Both come to a realisation about life and I think it is more important to outline what these realisations are, than to talk about advocacy. ...read more.

Middle

At first, the plight of both protagonists are not yet in conflict with the human conventions of the respective societies. Meursault's first words establish his lack of concern with social conventions: "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know." Meursault is in complete control of his own life, compelled by simple bodily pleasures: the warm sea, the colour of the sky, his girlfriends body "The water was warm and rippled with long, lazy waves."(p.37), "The sky was green and I felt happy."(p.30), "You could see the shape of her firm breasts..." (p.37) Meanwhile, Firdaus's childhood life was one of sexual harassment by her uncle and rejection by her parents. At this point, the protagonists are coming from two very different circumstances: Meursault is free, while Firdaus is trapped. Later on, both protagonist make life changing decisions that are completely the opposite from what they were in the beginning. Meursault kills an Arab and loses his physical freedom through incarceration. The freedom Mersault esteems above all else has been taken from him, thus he is unable to carry out his principals of life. Firdaus becomes a prostitute and frees herself from her physical identity. She takes possession of the body that had been the source of torment, and turns it into a source of profit. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "Women at Point Zero", Firdaus finishes her story with "I spit with ease on their lying faces and words, on their lying newspaper" and shows her execution was a result of her negative reaction, which had not been expected by the male authorities, when she was given a chance to be released. Both protagonists believed that choosing their own death was the ultimate weapon against the corrupt social hegemony; Just as Firdaus chose to use her body to make money, instead of having it imposed on her by sinister creeps, she also chose her own death, rather than a life dictated by hegemonic powers. Meursault maintained his philosophy of freedom to the very end, freely choosing death, instead of a life amongst people with tyrannical demands. By denying an appeal they have liberated themselves a life that never promised free will. To conclude, we can see that both protagonists have successfully overcome the corruption of social hegemonies, however it is apparent in the two novels that the path to their liberation was completely different and that the motivating principles behind their actions were very different. Yet, despite these fundamental differences, everyone can agreed that their refusal to betray their own integrity had ultimately cost them their lives. To what extent do the actions of Meursault and Firdaus liberate them from the corruption of social hegemonies in "The Outsider" by Albert Camus and "Women at Point Zero" by Nawal El Saadawi? ...read more.

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