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(Cover Sheet) English Higher Level A1 -World Literature Name: Candidate number: Centre: Teacher: Pon Chin Ching

10242 003257 Island School Mr. Langford-Smith/ Ms. Sommerville

Essay Titles: 2a. In what ways do the actions of Meursault and Firdaus demonstrate their resistance against the oppression of social hegemony in “The Outsider” by Albert Camus and “Women at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi? 2c. A commentary on Antigone by Sophocles

World Literature 1 In what ways do the actions of Meursault and Firdaus demonstrate their resistance against the oppression of social hegemony in “The Outsider” by Albert Camus and “Women at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi? World Literature 1 Jensen Pon 27th June. 2010 Word Count: 1499 .

the protagonists liberate themselves from these varied oppressions. Nawāl. A second act of resistance is her willingness to pursue a career of prostitution for economic selfsufficiency. the methods each protagonist employs to liberate themselves from these oppressive forces vary according to the social context each must confront. Realizing she is imprisoned by the patriarchal institution of marriage and intimidation. This action is motivated by her realization to the plight women in Egyptian society where the source of her physical oppression comes from men’s’ lust of her physical body. “At night…legs and arms around me. This patriarchal oppression provides a strong rationale to justify Firdaus’ escape. Woman at Point Zero Pg 94 Saʻdāwī..starving. Nawāl. “…marriage was the system built on the most cruel suffering for women.. which she responds with prostitution.”2. Firdaus’ first act of resistance is her abandonment of an arranged marriage with a man who she lacks affection towards and physically abuses her.”3 Therefore. Firdaus also emphasizes how women are economically dependent on men by describing her mealtimes. murder.. Woman at Point Zero Pg 45 Saʻdāwī. Mersault is confronted with a code of social behavior completely at odds with his own beliefs about life.. Woman at Point Zero Pg 45 .World Literature 1 “Women at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi and “Outsider” by Albert Camus both present protagonists forced to confront oppressive demands of their societies.. the cost of resistance for both protagonists was death. Firdaus’ realization to these circumstances is seen in her own forced marriage and the oppression of marriage in general. Firdaus had been aware her marriage was based on the assumption by her uncle 1 2 3 Saʻdāwī. While Firdaus is confronted with patriarchal intimidation. through these descriptions we can see how the system of marriage had only made it easy for men to exploit women. “…looking at my plate while I ate…told me off for my wastefulness. However. Nawāl. and eventual self-sacrifice to the penal system.”1.. Here Firdaus describes how Egyptian wives are seen as mere possessions to satisfy men’s lust as seen in.Yet I was not given to wasting anything. her decision to escape from the man’s house becomes her first act of resistance against the patriarchal system. In both novels. which he responds by refusing to deny his principles to his oppressors. However.

4 Saʻdāwī. Nawāl. “. given she becomes his wife. Nawāl. This act of violence is not only an act of resistance but also an act of psychological liberation in which she finally overcomes her fear of men. it is apparent at this point of the story Firdaus has liberated herself economically..”6 Therefore.. Woman at Point Zero Pg 107 Saʻdāwī. rather than an enslaved wife.”5.”8. her prostitution becomes a means of liberation from the institution of marriage where she is previously financially dependent on her husband who demands obligatory sex. She further prove this by threatening the Arab prince as seen in. Nawāl. As a result my price kept going up.. physically and psychologically from the patriarchal oppressions of her society. to provide for her.. as seen in. She uses the economic advantage of prostitution to a great extent..”9 Her new-found hostility towards men suggest by murdering her pimp. ” 4 The inherent advantage prostitutes have over wives is economic independence. Woman at Point Zero Pg 104 Saʻdāwī. Woman at Point Zero Pg 109 5 6 7 8 9 . where “the lowest paid body is of the wife. This is seen in. “I realized I had been afraid..” 7 She also suggests the nature of men’s control over women is tenuous and women are equally as violent as a man can be. Despite her liberation from the institution of marriage. “. Nawāl. Nawāl. However. this discreetly implied obligatory sex in exchange for his material support. Nawāl. Disillusioned with this marriage. Firdaus killed her pimp. A third act of resistance is her use of counter violence against the abusive pimp. Therefore. Firdaus sees prostitution as liberating herself. “I preferred to be a free prostitute. “I was astonished…how easily…I thrust the knife into his flesh…almost without effort.World Literature 1 and his wife Firdaus was incapable of supporting herself financially and therefore needed her uncle’s wife’s relative -Sheikh Mahmoud..from time to time I said no. Woman at Point Zero Pg 99 Saʻdāwī. Firdaus still remained victim to physical violence men impose on women in order to maintain control.until the fleeting moment I read fear in his eyes.. she has effectively become immune to intimidation from men as she is equally capable of violence. Woman at Point Zero Pg 99 Saʻdāwī. Woman at Point Zero Pg 97 Saʻdāwī. juxtaposing with her economic circumstances as a wife.my hand…landed…violently on his face. In response.

nor do I any longer fear to die.. Nawāl. “Mother died today.He left. Although her death does not liberate her physically.”12 While Firdaus faced oppression from a patriarchal society. life. her execution vindicates her philosophy and serves as a rationale to justify her actions in life.. Nawāl. his refusal to provide a satisfying rationale or show remorse for his murder further highlights his nihilistic and defiant attitude to the social norms of as seen in. ”15 10 11 12 13 14 Saʻdāwī..I said it was by chance.. The Outsider Pg 9 Albert Camus. Woman at Point Zero Pg 111 Albert Camus.the prosecutor remarked in a malicious tone ‘ will be all for the present’.. “…he asked me if he can say I controlled my natural feelings…I said ‘No.. Woman at Point Zero Pg 112 Saʻdāwī. looking angry. I don’t know. or nakedness. Nawāl.” 10 She is aware her refusal to renounce her knowledge of the “truth” will be punished with death... because it’s not true.I have triumphed over both life and death because I no longer desire to live. Mersault confronts a more philosophical oppression. Woman at Point Zero Pg 110 Saʻdāwī. “I prefer to die for a crime I have committed rather than to die for one of the crimes which you have committed. as seen in. Or maybe yesterday. Her defiance to conform to patriarchal expectations ultimately leads to her execution.’. “.. “. she can “protect” herself and stop “fearing death. expressing her desire to die than live.. ”14 Furthermore. The Outsider Pg 85 . The Outsider Pg 65 15 Albert Camus. or destruction”11. or hunger.”13 His unwillingness to sacrifice his principal to his lawyer indicates his indifference to the social norms of his society. However. She reinforces her execution will vindicate her philosophy by stating. Mersault’s first act of resistance is his refusal to lie about his feeling towards his mother and the murder of the Arab. by possessing the “truth”.World Literature 1 Firdaus’s ultimate form of resistance against the social hegemony is self-sacrifice. His society cannot tolerate his disinterest to their moral conventions. Meursault’s initial thoughts establish his lack of concern with behaving accordingly to the social norms of his society. Firdaus was given a chance to be released but talked back to the authorities.

another thing had surprised him.something exploded inside me.. it would be treason to this world and imply his existence as a lie. Meursault stated “. The Outsider Pg 114 Albert Camus. The Outsider Pg 99 ..... The Outsider Pg 86 Albert Camus. The Outsider Pg 115 Albert Camus.”21Although Meursault was aware of his 16 17 18 19 20 21 Albert Camus.. making a mockery of their “justice”.I didn’t know how old mother was. Although society see him as a man lacking strong emotions. “Nothing. I started shouting…I insulted him…told him not to pray for me.I didn’t have much time left. the truth it is exactly the opposite as in reality he is a man so devoted to his principals of life his strong emotions are accentuated through his stubbornness to comply with oppressive demands as seen in. nothing mattered and I knew very well why.. As seen in “The Outsider” where the prosecutor “asked for” Meursault’s “head” with “an easy mind” and is “enlightened by a sense of urgent and sacred duty..”17 Finally. The Outsider Pg 99 Albert Camus. He too knew why. Some people laughed..I said quickly it was because of the sun. The social hegemony proved itself to be incapable of understanding Meursault’s motives and their decision to execute him only reinforces their ignorance. Outrage by the priest who insisted he “turn over to god”. demonstrating his philosophy as the most rational one.World Literature 1 Meursault’s second act of resistance is his refusal to sacrifice his principals to the priest who insisted he accepted the existence of a second world. ”19 “.” 20 As a response to their self-deliverance from oppression.. This is seen in “. “...His eyes were full of tears. by giving in to the demands of the oppression it would negated the meaning and purpose of their existence.. he convinces the priest.. ”18 Like Firdaus. Had he the priest’s demand. Meursault’s final act of resistance was sacrificing himself to the penal system. The Outsider Pg 115 Albert Camus. I didn't want to waste it on God”16.a paroxysm of joy and anger. the hegemony was keen to use the law as a rationale to abolish whatever traces of freedom each they had experienced.

open to the benign indifference of …I was still happy…my last wish…greet me with cries of hatred. Both characters revealed through various acts of resistance they could not be controlled or manipulated by the oppressive forces of society.. he refused. Camus. It has been illustrated Firdaus’s resistance is against a patriarchal society and it has been shown through her.. Print. he was glad to die for his cause as seen in “. Print. and Sharīf Ḥatātah. Nawāl. Woman at Point Zero. 22 Albert Camus. 2007. and Joseph Laredo. The Outsider. [London]: Penguin. The Outsider Pg 117 . 2000. London: Zed. Bibliography Saʻdāwī. both novels can be read as sustained acts of resistance against social hegemonies. Meursault’s act of resistance was directed against an oppressive social code based on Christian morality Meursault could not believe in.World Literature 1 philosophy was seen as an existential threat. It could be argued therefore the very existence of Firduas and Meursault was an act of resistance. Despite the benefits he would have gained for even lying about this feeling.”22 In conclusion. Albert. as they both present an “outsider” who challenges the hegemony of oppressive regimes.

is how you ought to feel… ” and ends “…worshipping the dead is wasted labor. 1335 This commentary is based on a passage from the play (Antigone) by (Sophocles) (translated by David Franklin and John Harrison) The passage begins “That.” .Jensen Pon World Literature 2 10242 A commentary on Antigone by Sophocles World Literature Assignment: 2c(commentary) Name: Candidate number: Centre: Teacher: Pages: Publication details: Word count: Pon Chin Ching 10242 003257 Island School Mr.3-4. Langford-Smith (49 to 57) (604-728) P. my son.

is how you ought to feel in your heart…” By using the word “ought”. for a woman… (633) and never be worsted by a woman” He also refers to Antigone as “an evil woman”. implying Creon’s unsuitability to rule.Jensen Pon World Literature 2 10242 I have chosen this extract of “Antigone” because the tyranny of Creon is exposed through the verbal conflict he engages with his son Haemon. in an act of self-defense he says his father is (706) “talking nonsense. free of prejudice when making decision. At the start Creon begins patronizes Haemon by referring to him as “my son”. On the other hand. therefore the change of Haemon’s attitude toward his father changes from respect to disgust. then as the passage progresses he resorts to insults by calling him (688)“worthless boy”. where exchanges between characters are limited to one or two lines (also known as stichomythia). he begins his very first sentence in a patronizing attitude towards Haemon. (604) “That.choice of diction and words. Haemon begins in a humble and respectful attitude when he attempts to give Creon advice by subtly implying he agrees with Creon’s urge on following good sense. Not only does he warn Haemon to (611) “…never abandon your good sense of pleasure. the conversation begins in long and extended speeches and progress into short and direct phrases. (607) “do harm to their father’s enemies…” Next. Being the father of Haemon. The choice of diction and tone also shifts. as the passage progresses Haemon realizes Creon is unwilling to take his advice and even insults him. In terms passage’s structure. structure of dialogue and tone.” The deterioration the father and son relationship is effectively illustrated through the prominent shifts in language. In addition. . However. he is implying Haemon’s duty and moral obligation to listen to his father. my son. He refers to Haemon as “my son” and puts paternal expectation on Haemon to adopt his view as seen in.attitude. (618) “I will kill her” reinforces Creon’s deep-seated misogyny to women in general. The cold and direct phrase in which he says. The significance of this passage is it question whether Creon is entitled to the throne through the verbal conflict with his son. He puts further expectations on Haemon by expecting him to adopt his loyalties. Creon speaks of Antigone with a misogynistic attitude. The message conveyed here is Creon’s inability to remain impartial. The passage opens with a speech by Creon.

Creon’s speech is followed by Haemon’s rebuttal speech. To stress his point.Jensen Pon World Literature 2 10242 Creon’s manner of speech becomes increasingly offensive and insensitive when referring to personal issue regarding Haemon’s bride and the gods. What greater reward can children have than their father flourishing in glory. (649) “does she not deserve a golden prize of honor?” The significance is his choice of words is shows Haemon genuinely supports Antigone’s cause and may have caused Creon to feel he is speaking in interest of Antigone. “I value your success. In his speech. The significance of Creon’s speech shows he places his ego above what is just and does not think anybody is in a position to challenge his position. (666) “If I may offer an opinion. Haemon tells Creon in an honest and sincere attitude the truth most people do have their sympathies towards Antigone and secretly support her. Therefore. or he from them?” He even points out the limitations of his role as a son and says. young as I am…” and he rationalize it’s his argument is important not who says it. Haemon disproves him by arguing he cares for his father’s welfare saying (651). implying he agrees with Creon on the importance of following good sense. This seen in phrases. This is an important aspect of his speech as Creon’s dictatorial tendencies are glaringly revealed. (727) “…worshipping the god is wasted labor” The lack of respect Creon has towards Antigone and irreverence towards the god makes it difficult for Haemon to agree and accept his advice. (641) “It is not your nature to pay attention…your look frightens…prevents them (people) from saying things you would not like to hear.” Then. what follows is Haemon’s subtle but uncompromising rebuttal speech against Creon’s prejudice and unfair judgments. he uses a rhetorical question. Haemon begins in an extremely agreeable manner by praising good sense. He also displays empathy towards his father’s position. However. (669) “it is good to learn from those whose words are wise” Although Haemon’s words were . (615) “spit her out like an enemy” and (618) “Let her sing hymns to Zeus” and later on.

and arrogance. (673) “So are men of my age to be taught sense by a man of his?” However.” Creon’s tyranny is immediately exposed and what unfolds is a series of insult between Haemon and Creon. Not only does this signal the end of rationalization and reason between the two characters. (705) “you were talking nonsense. and Creon’s increasing resistance towards his son’s views. Creon refuses to give in to his son’s advice and attacks his age as being too young.a technique known as stichomythia. this change in value is exemplified through Haemon’s changing attitude and tone of voice. lower than a woman. As seen in.(693) foul creature. The end of the conversation conveys Creon’s inability to discard his prejudice against roles of lower status . when Haemon reveals even the city is against his rule.. Haemon’s change of attitude is apparent as he criticizes his father for being ignorant as seen in. Creon’s response to Haemon’s reply is extremely negative and prejudiced as he refuses to submit to Haemon’s view. As seen in. (712) “don’t even imagine it…so you can rave on. More importantly. when the long extended speeches shift to exchanges of one and two lines. (679) “The united people of Thebes say not. The change in structure of their dialogue from long and tedious to short and sharp outbursts of insult at one another prominently highlights the theme of conflicting view between son and father. Haemon’s attitude also change.” It can been seen the nature of their interaction in the scene has shifted from positive to negative.” At the same time he no longer addresses his father in a formal or respectful way. but Creon no longer knows how to rebut Haemon’s attack and resorts to mere insults at Haemon. their responses are not long and extended speeches and the conversations have shifted in to exchanges of one and two lines.” This effectively reinforces Creon’s true character as one of self-centeredness. (688) “worthless boy…. prejudice..Jensen Pon World Literature 2 10242 unbiased and open-minded. For the first time in the story. In terms of dialogues. The passage breaks the traditional moral code where sons are expected to show blind submission and obedience towards fathers regardless whether or his judgments are correct or not. stating his young age puts him in no position to argue.

David Franklin. but also whether prejudice against one’s role hinders rational and fair judgment. Haemon’s character undergoes an irreversible change in terms of his attitude towards his father who makes the final decision to punish Antigone.Jensen Pon World Literature 2 10242 where he remains unchanged in his decision and Haemon’s resentment towards his father Thus. Throughout the passage. Demonstrating how the negative influences and culture of the patriarchal society has made it difficult for a man of high status to discard his prejudice against people of lower status and make fair judgments through a veil of impartiality. Haemon’s rebellion against his father is prominent characterization of a person who rejects his society’s imposed values and prefers to make judgment on logical and unprejudiced principals. and John Harrison. Bibliography Sophocles. This realization is crucial part of the passage and explains why Creon is unworthy of the throne. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. In conclusion. This change is comes along with his sudden realization his father does not appeal to reason and is heavily prejudiced against his age and women. Print. Creon’s failure to reconcile his opinions with son shows he is incapable of ruling wisely. At the same time. . 2003. Antigone. I think this passage not only challenges the tradition of a son’s blind devotion towards his father.