"The Answer is No"
Historical content is not necessary for the reader to understand the short story "the Answer is No" by Naguib Mahfouz. It is possible to understand the theme of the story without knowing the author’s background or the story’s historical context. "The Answer is No" is about a fourteen year old girl who gets sexually assaulted by her new tutor who is of the same age as her father. The tutor tries to convince her to marry him in exchange for her education at a prestigious College of Science. She denies his proposal and "close[s] the door forever" (Mahfouz 12). After that she tries to convince herself that "the outcome is preferable to being married to [him]" (Mahfouz 14). She grows up and must live with her decision forever because she will forever be scarred by the memory and now fears to fall in love. She was given many chances to marry again but instead she couldn't from the emotional distress. No historical context is needed in order to comprehend the story "The Answer is No" because her story is understood without it.
The author purposely didn't include any names to keep the characters faceless and without personality. He addressed all the characters as headmaster, she, and he. By doing so, it allows the reader to produce his or her own interpretation on the characters. The author describes "she" as a "fourteen years of age" which is possibly the only description the reader can depict (Mahfouz 8). A teenage girl no matter the time period is still a teenage girl. By naming the character she, she becomes relatable to anyone no matter the time period. She can be a girl from Egypt or from the United states because her decisions and the choices are no different than the ones similar teenage girls have to make thought the world. "She either had to accept or to close the door forever" is a choice we must all make in our lives (Mahfouz 12). She had to choose between the educations she could have been given and marriage, a choice most women in...
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