The Responsibility of Being a Woman

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The common characteristic about fairy tales is that, they begin with "once upon a time" and end with "happily ever after." In Distant view of a Minaret Alifa Rifaat relates the life of a Muslim woman. The woman lives in a conservative Muslim society in Egypt during the end of the twentieth century. Rifaat describes how the behavior of the woman is shaped by her society, making her able to endure her restrictions, to overcome her impediments and to give meaning to her life. Some components of Rifaat’s essay are found in Patricia Brieschke’s essay Cracking Open. In her essay, Brieschke writes about her personal experience during the 1960s in America. She expresses her thoughts and troubles during the time she gave birth to her first son. As a young girl she strived to overcome her challenges as a woman and turned her life around to find happiness. Although Brieschke and Rifaat discuss different societal issues with different circumstances, the two essays convey similar messages about women in society. Brieschke relates her life changing transformation from being a young and rebellious girl to being a woman and a dedicated mother. While Rifaat describes the life of a Muslim woman who succeed in finding happiness through her religion in a patriarchal society. Rifaat depicts a scene with a woman having a sexual intercourse with her husband where the woman notices a web in the ceiling and plans to get rid of it later. The scene characterizes the relationship between the woman and her husband. She took no pleasure in the act and considered it as one of her daily chores. The woman believed that her role as a wife was to fulfill her husband’s needs and to ignore hers. She relied on her religion to find comfort and escape from her dissatisfied life. Thus, she committed herself to her daily prayers. As Rifaat writes, “Her five daily prayers were like punctuation marks that divided up and gave meaning to her life” (Rifaat). Ironically, the woman felt that her religion gave a...
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