When the Old Woman Speaks in Soueif’s “Her Man” and “The Wedding of Zeina” and Rifaat’s “Bahiyya’s Eyes”

Amal Adnan Al-Khayyat


This paper compares between the voices of three old women characters in three short stories by two Arab women writers. The stories are Ahdaf Soueif’s “Her Man” and “The Wedding of Zeina” (from the same story collection Aisha) and Alifa Rifaat’s “Bahiyya’s Eyes” from her story collection Distant View of a Minaret. The paper reveals, from a feminist perspective, how the women characters are positively or negatively influenced by the way patriarchy perceives them and relates this perception to Jacque Lacan’s theory of the gaze. It also shows how each one of the old women characters seeks to pass her understanding to the upcoming generation and demonstrates how her voice turns out to be either one of patriarchy or resistance. The paper finds that although the voices of the three old women in the three short stories differ in their representation, they can be placed in the same boat as the female character who listens to the old woman’s voice does not act passively in any of them.


Gaze, Generation, Patriarchy, Perception, Representation, Voice, Women

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.11n.1p.65


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