The Extent of Patriarchalism in the Societies of
Woman at Point Zero and Blood Wedding and its Impacts on the Lives of the Female Protagonists
Dağsu Yağmur Demir
Candidate Number: 000511-007
Word Count: 1498
THE EXTENT OF PATRIARCHALISM IN THE SOCIETIES OF WOMAN AT POINT ZERO AND BLOOD WEDDING AND ITS IMPACTS ON THE LIVES OF THE FEMALE PROTAGONISTS
Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi and Blood Wedding by Federico García Lorca are works which take place in patriarchal societies where men and women have fixed gender roles. In this essay I will be comparing the extent of patriarchalism and its effects on the lives of the female protagonists in these two texts. Set in rural Spain during the early 1900s, it is not very surprising that there was a clear need for men in many different aspects of life, such as physical labour and protection, in the play Blood Wedding. In peasant communities, fields and crops such as wheat are very important, and it can be seen in the quote “…your grandfather left a son in every corner. That’s how it should be – wheat, wheat and men, men,” that wheat and men are associated essentials. They are the mainstays of their families and the ones who will inherit from their fathers. In this patriarchal society men have more freedom than women, who become isolated from the rest of their society by “a wall two feet thick” after marriage, devoting themselves to their husbands and children. Although differences are present, Woman at Point Zero takes place in a similarly patriarchal society. In the novel, Nawal El Saadawi shows that women are intimidated by men, their feelings and ideas suppressed. In both societies in which the narratives are set, men make the main choices. In Blood Wedding it is the groom who decides on the date of the wedding. In Woman at Point Zero it is the husband who decides on what the rest of the family will eat (or whether they actually will eat anything). Evidently, the issues where the men take the initiative are dissimilar. For example in Blood Wedding the father of the bride does not intend to force his daughter to marry a man she does not want; women have more power to follow their emotions compared with the Egyptian society portrayed by El Saadawi where an older male relative can take the initiative to force a younger female relative into getting married. However it is still evident that in both texts it is more accepted for the men to have the power in a situation of disagreement. I think that the mother’s lines in Blood Wedding make this clear: “-frighten her just a little… It will teach her that you are the man, the boss, the one who gives the commands. I learned that from your father…” As one can see, the fact that the situations where women may make decisions are different causes the parameters of freedom to be different in the two texts. Clearly, in Blood Wedding, women have more emotional freedom which also brings greater control over themselves in physical aspects as well. The fixed gender roles in the patriarchal societies bring certain duties and responsibilities, and the strictness of these gender roles result in different expectations from the characters. In Blood Wedding, for example, a girl is expected to be able to do all kinds of embroidery and bake, whereas a man is expected to work hard and protect his family. In Woman at Point Zero a woman’s duty is to serve men whereas a man’s duty is to be a hard working patriarch, keeping everything under control both in the private and public sphere, “…men were in control of both our worlds…” Even though the duties of the genders may seem alike in the texts written by El Saadawi and Lorca, dissimilarities in aspects such as freedom, loyalty, respect, and care result in important differences in the lives of the female characters. The tendency to overlook the importance of females and objectify them is not present in...