Nawal El Saadawi: Attaining Catharsis through Trauma Narration in Woman at Point Zero
Nawal El Saadawi is a prolific writer who has received both praise and criticism for her focus on women's victimization and exploitation in patriarchal Muslim cultures. Her works are living testaments to her crusade against repression, inequality, and injustice meted out by the patriarchy. Amidst her efforts to bring about change in the status of women in Egypt she faced a lot of criticism, particularly during Anwar Sadat's rule when she established The Arab Women's Solidarity Association which was later banned in 1991. Feminism is a controversial and challenging subject to address in the Islamic world partly owing to it being a concept of the Western world imposed upon the Middle East and North Africa by imperialism. El Saadawi faced strong backlash from Egyptian society for the publication of her feminist work Women and Sex (1972) due to rising religious fundamentalism within the state.
The paper attempts to study the various efforts for women’s empowerment in Egypt set forth by the Egyptian writer and feminist Nawal El Saadawi through analyzing her work of creative non-fiction Woman at Point Zero (1973) particularly when it comes to trauma narration and scriptotherapy . The protagonist, Firdaus, attains catharsis by reiterating the horrific incidents in her life to Saadawi before walking to the gallows for her execution. This paper argues that writing about Firdaus was a form of scriptotherapy for El Saadawi who fought openly and courageously against patriarchy. I advance the argument that the retelling of the tale of Firdaus offers the possibility of healing both to the author and her audience in the face of patriarchy and the forms of injustices perpetrated by the Egyptian Islamic community. I place special emphasis on scriptotherapy arguing that after the onslaught of criticism El Saadawi received in the aftermath of the publication of Woman at Point Zero she increased her productivity, indicating the importance of writing as a weapon against the injustices meted out to voiceless women and men of Egypt.
Thampy, Chitra Susan
"Nawal El Saadawi: Attaining Catharsis through Trauma Narration in Woman at Point Zero,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 22:
6, Article 5.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss6/5