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Abstract

Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, an Arab feminist, playwright, novelist, and thinker, has been one of the most controversial literary figures in Arab contemporary literature. In this paper, I examine El Saadawi’s 1984 play Twelve Women in A Cell in light of the ongoing political dissidence that gave birth to the recent Arab Spring and its intricate relation to feminist dissidence. The play published twenty-eight years ago, deals with a bizarre situation that surprisingly and sadly, is still relevant to women’s struggle within Arab-Islamic hegemony. The cell that hosts twelve Egyptian women, in El Saadawi’s play, becomes the Arabic Islamic patriarchal world, within which these women struggle as their ultimate goal becomes survival. The cell hosts many types of women like a university professor, a prostitute, an atheist, and a fundamentalist Muslim, who only have their femaleness as the common ground on which they can salvage existence and their salvation.

Note on the Author

Ebtehal Al-Khateeb, Kuwait University, College of Art, Keifan, Kuwait

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