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Title: Speaking and Silence as Means of Resistance in Alifa Rifaat's Distant View of a Minaret and Bahiyya's Eyes
Keywords: Rifʻat, Alīfah - Criticism and interpretation;Feminism;Discourse;Rifʻat, Alīfah. Distant View of a Minaret;Rifʻat, Alīfah. Bahiyya’s Eyes;Fiction - Egypt
Issue Date: Aug-2018
Publisher: Journal of International Women's Studies
Abstract: This study aims at investigating the dilemma of creating a counter discourse that speaks against the dominant androcentric one in Alifa Rifaat’s fiction. The study explores the characterization of the protagonists of two short stories: “Distant View of a Minaret” and “Bahiyya’s Eyes,” culled from Rifaat’s collection Distant View of a Minaret and Other Short Stories (1983). These stories present two different paradigms of resistance that the female protagonists use, which are speaking and silence. The study argues that both speaking and silence are attempts to heal women’s cyclic trauma, as they are means of representing women’s experience and oppression over time. The protagonists’ response to the hegemonic discourse in the two stories is carnivalesque because the use of language (or its absence) aims at deconstructing the phallogocentric discourse and establishing a new one. Accordingly, Rifaat uses two narrative points of view in each story to express the protagonists’ new discourses. Speaking and silence, thus, are not to be judged according to the symbolic discourse of men; instead they are placed in the purview of the Discourse of the Hysteric, which is regarded as an arena of resistance for women
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