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1 Doris Osiimwe-Johnson Prof. Laughlin English Composition II: An Intro. to Literature

Victimized Against Her Will in Naguib Mahfouz’s “The Answer is No” by Doris Osiimwe-Johnson Naguib Mahfouz’s “The Answer is No”, plots around a beautiful and rich young Egyptian teacher who was raped at a young age of fourteen by Badrani Badawi, a man she had respected as her second father. To this day she suffers the repercussions of the tragic event, partly because the moral standards in the Egyptian culture dictate that a woman be pure to be given into marriage. An article in The International Herald Tribune reported that “In Egypt, and across the Arab world, respectable sex requires marriage, particularly for a woman and especially for the first time” (MacFarquhar). Naguib’s unnamed protagonist is raped, victimized, against her will and not a virgin any more; therefore a social misfit. She has been pushed against a wall into the corner of loneliness and solitude, “day by day she becomes older. She avoids love, fears it” (Mahfouz 635). Ultimately her position as a woman is compromised by the nature of her culture and she is “struggling helplessly in a well sprung trap” (Mahfouz 635). According to the grapevine, “Rape is a crime of sexual violence that causes long term emotional devastation to its victims” (Repp 16). Nevertheless, she is a strong and independent woman who will not lie down in self-pity; she will not reminisce about her misfortune, but rather walk elegantly and stand by her principles. This woman’s options are minimized and her choices are limited because of the effect of rape. The act of rape is a strategic weapon of psycho-socialspiritual destruction designed to undermine the well-being of a woman. Theoretically, “Young women suffer a great long time distress after an act of rape and experience the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, fear, excessive vigilance, shame and often encounter difficulties with intimate relationships” (Burby 96). Society...

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