• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Male Dominance

Extracts from this document...


The Male Dominance of Women in Madame Bovary and Midaq Alley In the twentieth century, the world was beginning to change. New ideas were being expressed, new opportunities were being presented, and the balance of power between males and females was starting to evolve. The role of women began its path of change in the early 1900's, gaining momentum as the century unfolded. Early on, it was a slow process, and men still held most of the power in society. In the novels Madame Bovary, written by Gustave Flaubert, and Midaq Alley, written by Naguib Mahfouz, a common theme is expressed through Emma and Hamida. Both women undergo the stresses of marriage, feel the pressures their societies place on women, and fall prey to the confusing difference between love and l**t. In both of these novels, neither of the characters is able to truly escape from her internal struggles because of society's acceptance of men's power over women. In the novel Madame Bovary, marriage plays a very significant role. Emma grew up on a farm and at the age of thirteen, boarded at a convent. There she was exposed to many books and novels that sparked her passion for romantic ideals. ...read more.


The relationship that she thought would end well actually ended terribly wrong. Ibrahim Faraj brought her despair and sadness and Abbas, whom she loved, died trying to protect her. From both novels, the reader can see the affects male dominance can have in a relationship. When the male has more power, the woman's sense of freedom diminishes, making the relationship stressful and demeaning. When Emma is pregnant, she wishes for a boy: He would be strong and dark... this idea of having a male child was like a promise of compensation for all her past frustrations. A man is free, at least - free to range the passions and the world, to surmount obstacles, to taste the rarest pleasures. Whereas a woman is continually thwarted. Inert, complaint, she has to struggle against her physical weakness and legal subjection. (Flaubert 101) What Emma says here sums up exactly how she feels: men are free and women are not. She wishes only to have a boy so as to not subject a girl to the same struggles she experiences - that of feeling "continually thwarted." The irony of this situation is that she does give birth to a girl who eventually loses all of her freedoms. ...read more.


From this quote, the reader can conclude that love was no longer the pervasive feeling here. Describing Emma as a possession makes her seem more like an object than a person capable of expressing and receiving feelings. The same happens in Midaq Alley with Ibrahim and Hamida: [Ibrahim] himself had never known love... whenever a new girl fell into his net, he played the part of the ardent lover-until she succumbed; after that he continued to court her for a short time. From then on he had made sure of his influence by making her dependent upon him emotionally and financially...when his mission was accomplished he dropped his role of lover for that of the flesh merchant. (Flaubert 256). As depicted in this quote, the reader is shown that men of this time period often confused l**t for love. Women in the 20th century went through difficult times trying to evolve the roles they had been given. Both Emma and Hamida experienced many difficulties. From both books, the reader can see evidence to support the stresses marriage entails, the hardships of the woman's role, and the twisted minds of some men when it comes to love vs. l**t. Neither Emma nor Hamida was able to physically escape from these torments, but their resolve to change their circumstances sowed the seeds of change for a new way to a life in the future. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Comparison of emma and charls in madame bovary

    4 star(s)

    reason why Emma feels embarrassed of Charles and decides to not be near him inventing excuses in order to go and dance with the wealthy people, which seemed to her a dream come true. " 'let me alone!' she said 'you'll rumple me.'(pg.63)"

  2. A theme omnipresent in Merc Rodoredas The Time of the Doves and Naguib Mahfouzs ...

    Let go of my hand" (Mahfouz 193). She has no guidance in her anachronistic alley where Ibrahim appears to be a foreign element, and therefore, her trepidation can be sympathized with. After a few meetings, however, Natalia begins pursuing a relationship with Quimet and ends her engagement with Pere.

  1. Free essay

    Sheikh Darwish's Role as the Prophet of Change in Mahfouz's Midaq Alley

    The residents view Sheikh as a "holy man of God" (14) and upon his arrival to the alley he was "loved and honored" (14). His presence was often viewed as a "good sign" (14). Once again, Mohammed was a holy man and, save the prophet of doom, prophets tend to serve as a good omen from God.

  2. Theme of Food and Magical Realism in Like Water for Chocolate

    However, when Tita cooks she is sure and precise, she never stumbles, her dishes always turn out well and she knows this is something she can claim recognition for. This displays a side of Tita that was not previously well known to the reader in that she was also a

  1. How does Madame Bovary use the motif of food as a class signifier?

    Colour and artistic effect govern the presentation of the food, indicating that the creative hand of an artist has moulded it. Flaubert personifies the fruits as if they?re worth more than the people from the province, ?quail lay in plumage?.

  2. A Pastiche of The Thief And The Dogs Author: Naguib Mahfouz

    person of a lower rank beside you so that you can stand out proudly in front of your friends and? and that wretched b***h, Nabawiyya. I remember the day you brought her home and ignored me for many years onwards as you worked together to gather your fortune, living in that grand palace and dining on luxurious feasts.

  1. In what ways do the theme of Illusion and reality affect the life of ...

    The reason that she lives under this illusion because she had read ?Paul and Virginia? who gave her high hope about life whereas in reality she was living with an average husband who was unsuccessful and incompetent doctor a society in which women are not free to fulfill their dreams and was not so rich.

  2. Madame Bovary Notes

    --> very similar to Charles but also to Eugene Delamare. * Charles' father, manages money poorly and is unfaithful, has lost his wife's respect, and she now lets out all her affection on Charles, she spoils him. * Charles is unremarkable, unimaginative, and lazy, but good-natured.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work