Woman at Point Zero Summary

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  • Topic: Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Pan-Arabism
  • Pages : 17 (5801 words )
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  • Published : October 20, 2012
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Woman at Point Zero Summary

Table of Contents
BookRags Encyclopedia Entry....................................................................................1 Woman at Point Zero............................................................................................1 Copyright Information..........................................................................................1 Woman at Point Zero Summary ..................................................................................2 Woman at Point Zero............................................................................................2 by Nawal El Saadawi ......................................................................................2 . Events in History at the Time the Novel Takes Place.....................................2 The Novel in Focus ........................................................................................10 Events in History at the Time the Novel Was Written..................................16

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BookRags Encyclopedia Entry
Woman at Point Zero
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Copyright Information
World Literature and Its Times. ©2008 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved. (c)2000−2007 BookRags, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

BookRags Encyclopedia Entry

1

Woman at Point Zero Summary
Woman at Point Zero
by Nawal El Saadawi
Nawal El Saadawi (also spelled Nawal Sa’− dawi) was born in the Egyptian village of Kafr Tahla in the Nile Delta province of Qalubiyya in 1931. Her high scores on national examinations permitted her to enter the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University during a time when the student population was still heavily male. She practiced both general medicine and psychiatry, became Director of Health Education for Egypt, edited the popular magazine Health, and, having written short stories as a university student, continued to produce fiction. In the 1970s El Saadawi’s writing shifted entirely to gender issues. She became known as Egypt’s most outspoken critic of the oppression of women and the first to write openly about such aspects of female sexuality as clitoridectomy, incest, and prostitution. Her career shifted from state−funded medical work into full−time research, writing, and activism, when, in reaction to her book Women and Sex (1972), she was fired as Director of Health Education and editor of Health. Her subsequent research on female neuroses led her to the women’s prison in Qanatir, where in 1973 she conducted an interview with the inmate on whom Woman at Point Zero is based.

Events in History at the Time the Novel Takes Place
Twentieth−century Egypt—stability and change. During El Saadawi’s early life, Egyptians were protesting the colonial presence in Egypt of the British, who would finally be forced out by a revolutionary government in 1952. Egypt had achieved a formal but nominal independence in 1922, under which King Fu’ad I and his son King Faruq ruled with a cabinet and parliament. Britain, however, retained enough influence to oppose cabinets or key politicians and thus dampen the growth of Woman at Point Zero Summary 2

Woman at Point Zero Summary

pluralism or effective democracy. The British had occupied Egypt since 1882, ruling it as if it were a colony, though officially it was not. They maintained a military presence there too, to protect their interest in cheap cotton and in revenues from the Suez Canal. Genuine independence and the total withdrawal of foreign forces was a continuous issue in Egypt until the rather surprising 1952 military coup by a group of young army officers, including Gamal Abdul Nasser (also spelled Jamal ‘Abd al−Nasir).

The revolution ignited by these officers changed the power structure of Egypt, displacing wealthy property owners as the nation’s most...
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