Princess Sultana

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Sirisha Nandini Jala
English 193 T/R 3:15-5:20 p.m.
January 22, 2007
Essay #1
Princess Sultana of the Al Sa’ud family: A Champion for Women’s Rights In Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, the biography by Jean P. Sasson; Princess Sultana reacts to years of gender discrimination by working for feminism. The setting of the story is the city of Riyadh during the 1950s-1990s. This is an authentic story of a lady born to astonishing wealth, who had the audacity to defy the customs and sacred laws that make the existence of women in Saudi Arabia a desolate wasteland. During my junior year of high school, my friend Frankie Pisano recommended this biography to me. Wearing veils, practicing arranged marriages, and having the lowest place in society characterize the lives of typical Saudi Arabian women. As a result of the tyrannical parenting of her father, Sultana was a defiant child. “Sultana took her brother’s Playboy magazine/porn to the mosque and left it where the religious police would find it so that Ali would get in trouble” (63-65). Sultana finally wins the affection of her father, but it had been for all the wrong reasons. The narrator of the story sets the mood for the reader by saying “The chronicle of our women is masked behind the black veil of mystery because neither our origin nor our demise are made legitimate in any unrestricted documentation. Although births of males are acknowledged in lineage and clannish records, none are kept anywhere for females” (23). However, Princess Sultana always remained hopeful that someday women would have equality. Sultana’s sister Sara was weeping in their mother’s arms because she was to be the third spouse of an elderly man. Sultana secreted herself in a closet when she was told to leave the room, and heard Sara curse their culture: “Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered are unhappy” (45). Sultana and her mother went to the hospital because Sara attempted...
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