Woman at Point Zero: Post-colonialist Novel?

To what extent can Woman at Point Zero be considered a post-colonial novel?

In Nawal El Saadawi’s creative non-fiction novel Woman at Point Zero, readers follow a retelling of the life story of Firdaus, a female inmate on her last days on death row, as she develops into a young woman under an oppressive patriarchal society. Despite having the entire novel take place within a Middle-Eastern region, this novel should not be considered as post-colonial due to the background of the author herself, as well as sentence and story structure.

Although Nawal El Saadawi has experienced sexism and other countless injustices against her own gender within her childhood and career in Egypt, it’s her refuge in Western countries that influenced her perspectives and thus prevents Woman at Point Zero to be a true post-colonial novel. As El Saadawi’s social views in terms of feminism parallels that of Western ideals, it can be said that she tends to apply Western bias towards Middle-Eastern actions. An example of this would be “He was already over sixty, whereas I had not yet turned nineteen” (46). In western culture, this massive age difference may seem very weird, unusual, as well as predatory; however, Woman at Point Zero fails to argue the perspective of the Islamic culture, and how it’s quite common and accepted within society.

Regarding sentence and story structure, we can see that the range of sentences, as well as pacing, allows for western readers to be more comfortable with their reading. This would fall under the Adapt stage of Post-colonial literature, where El Saadawi takes traditional western literature form and adapts it to fit the story of Firdaus in an Islamic Egyptian society. This connects back with the first point as readers are then left with half of the story: is this a problem within Islamic culture, or is it a humanitarian crisis?

Despite these points, some may view Woman at Point Zero to be post-colonial in the sense that it does indeed point towards cultural differences between the West and the Middle-East. Looking in pages 20-21, we can see that “…they invoked Allah’s name and called upon His blessings…,” as well as “they cut off a piece of flesh from between my thighs,” which are prevalent within Islamic culture. Thus, Western readers are introduced to foreign cultural practices (Islamic prayer, female genital mutilation). However, this different perspective fails to consider the message of the novel, which details about the oppression of the patriarchy within Middle-Eastern culture. This critical perspective thus urges the reader to judge actions taking place in the Middle-East with Western ideals. This creates an unbalanced view, as mentioned earlier, that does not properly portray the cultural differences (from the Middle Eastern perspective).

As powerful as it is, Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero should not be considered as post-colonialist as it fails to balance the perspective of Middle-Eastern culture, but rather subjects it to Western ideals and critique through author bias and tailored story structure, no longer “comparing” cultural differences.

An Illustrated Guide to Not Dying During the Alien Apocalypse

In this post, I will be analyzing how the protagonists of the book, The Swarm by Orson Scott Card, solve the conflict. Like any other book, The Swarm has many conflicts, but I decided to choose a larger one: The Formics are coming back for another war, but where are they? And when are they coming? Over the course of the book, Mazer, Bingwen, and Vico’s crew are able to solve all these answers, but can they solve them in time? Below are some quotes detailing their pursues to solve the life-or-death questions, accompanied with cute visuals!

 

 

“Edimar had detected the approaching Formic fleet and alerted the world of the coming second war.” (Card 74)
After the supposed victory of the First Formic War in China, the whole world was in celebration. But Edimar, the same girl who first detected the Formic fleet before the war, saw that a larger “mother-ship” was heading towards Earth. War was inevitable. As soon as the Hegemon heard about this, the whole world was sent into a frenzy: economically and apocalyptically.

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Meme 2.0

For this post, I decided to create a summary of MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza up until the climax using memes. By mixing classic, Twitter, and recent trending memes, here’s the gist of what happens in the exposition and rising action of the former physical therapist’s book.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD

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From Thin Air

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The non-fiction book that I’m reading is The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky by Ken Dornstein. The plot of the book is protagonist Ken Dornstein unearthing his brother’s past. Ken’s brother, David, died in the crash of Pan Am Flight 103, right in the small town in Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. The cause? A terrorist bombing that was planned about 10 years before. That day, 270 innocent people died, and some of them weren’t even on the plane. Fortunately, people were held responsible and were judged in court on May 2000. Ken Dornstein wrote this book to commemorate his brother and reflect on his life before and after the life-changing incident.

I created a little poster-art to show the central idea of the book. Using 4 quotes, I supported the idea as well as providing explanations for the quotes. (See image attached above)

Clipper Maid of the Seas photo: “Pan Am Flight 103.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

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Exposing Expósito and Extras

29961919166_d0709a36cb_bIn the book Lost Luggage by Jordi Punti, protagonist (or maybe even antagonist?), Gabriel Delacruz Expósito, a seemingly average man, was born on a dim October morning in the Spanish cod market of 1941. However, he isn’t so average if you take a closer look into his life throughout events and flashbacks in the book.

For 17 years, Gabriel grew and flourished in The House of Charity orphanage; having said that, it is later revealed that he had a secret resentment towards the place. One fateful day, he and his best friend Bundo were called to the office of Sister Elvira, where both boys were told that they must leave the orphanage before the end of the month. “Their faces began to light up but they quickly masked it. So leaving, getting away, getting the h*** away from the home – at last, at last!” (75, 76 Punti). The narrative describes the joy and relief they felt. However, the feeling is elaborated further by including a strong word, h***, which shows the fear or hatred of their home and the desperation to leave. What could’ve possibly led Gabriel to loathe his home? This sudden display of feelings show that Gabriel can hide his feelings quite well. As well as hiding his feelings, Gabriel hides a much bigger part of his life. Like Bundo, Gabriel is a ladies’ man who is always on the move; consequently, this led to him fathering to 4 known sons. This buried truth of Gabriel’s was uncovered when 25 years later, his own son Cristòfol discovered “another folder… [which] held a pile of documents… names, addresses, birth certificates, photos, drawings. It wasn’t long before the other three names appeared… Cristof, Christophe, Christopher” (35, 36). Cristófol, already suspicious of his father, discovered that he has 3 step-brothers. To find out that after your father left, he did the same to 3 other families must be harsh. Gabriel, a simple Spanish driver, lived a quadruple life. But that’s not all… a fifth brother exists! A few weeks into the search for their father, Christof finds another brother named “’Christoffini. He was born in Italy…’” (136). After discovering another step-brother, who knows how many heartbroken children and families Gabriel left? Keeping all of his descendants from knowing each other shows that Gabriel is a crafty man and he cannot be trusted.

To put it very bluntly, I am in no way similar to Gabriel Delacruz. The way he selfishly and cold-heartedly left his families completely contrasts my friendly nature. For instance, ever since I joined my friend group, Grounders Squad, I have never turned my back on them. I’ve gone out of my way to go to concerts, last minute birthdays, and weekend hangouts with the squad at school, and more. Even with all my faults, I consider myself as a WAY better person than Gabriel.

Events and stories unfold one after another. Mysteries are found and solved. All of these things connect and disconnect, constantly shaping the character we know as Gabriel Delacruz Expósito. We might think of him as the cruel antagonist, but people can change… you never know.

Photo credit: simbiosc <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46950055@N02/29961919166″>Thebackpack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Easy Reads: Bean’s Buddy Blowout


I chose to rewrite “Shadow of the Hegemon” by Orson Scott Card as a rhyming 4-7 year-old children’s book. The theme, hold on to the people you love and care, or else you may find it to be too late, was expressed in the book by [spoilers!] the death of Bean’s friends. I tried to keep the main plot, which was Bean in hiding, trying to rescue his friends especially Petra from the clutches of Achilles the antagonist in the adaptation and also tried to make the theme obvious by also stating it in the end, which nicely flows in the children’s version.

 

Slideshow made with: Slidesnack

Being Bean

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Have you ever wondered what a child prodigy would seem like? Yes? No? Well, in the book “Shadow of the Hegemon” by Orson Scott Card, Bean, a child genius, is a very calculated and risk-taking character.

Although Bean may be around 13 years old, he shows a very strong calculating characteristic in his personality. In the exposition, after his family’s house was blown up in attempt to assassinate him, Bean, the protagonist, devises a plan “‘to keep moving. No more than a few week in any one place,’ said Bean. ‘And I have to get on the nets new identities every time we move, so no one can track the pattern’” (Card 61). The text reveals that despite being tracked by antagonist Achilles (pronounced ah-shEELS), who kidnapped most of the Battle School graduates, Bean has created a hiding plan on the spot to ensure the safety of his family and friends. This shows that Bean cares a lot about his family and can think outside the box. To be a child prodigy, you must be clever; however, Bean is also a very risk-taking character. After Bean proposed a mission to save Petra, Peter said, “‘You never know a military mission will succeed. And that’s not what worries me… you’re making the assumption Petra wants to be rescued’” (205). In the text, it is implied that Peter thinks that Bean is a stubborn, daring person as Bean planned an almost-impossible mission without knowing all the details; although, Bean is actually non-verbally expressing that no matter what happens, if Petra does or doesn’t want to be saved, he will bring her back. Now that’s true friendship right there.

Although I can never be as great and influential as Bean, we both share one characteristic, which is being very calculating. Like Bean’s hiding plan, I calculate a lot with my swimming sprint times. Whenever I want to improve on my times during a swim meet, I would split up the distance into intervals. If I need to swim a 200m freestyle under 2:20, I would divide the distance by time, and I would get eight 25m freestyles in 17.5 seconds each, which would then help me pace and reach my goal time.

Throughout the whole plot of the book, Bean is characterized as a calculating and risk-taking character, which helps explain his actions and emphasize many scenes. Despite being fictional, Bean is one of the most clever and considerate characters I know.

 

Picture Credit: Card, Orson Scott. “Ender’s Shadow Quotes.” Quotesgram. Quotesgram, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

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