The common characteristic about fairy tales is that, they begin with “once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after. ” In Distant view of a Minaret Alfa Arafat relates the life of a Muslim woman. The woman lives In a conservative Muslim society in Egypt during the end of the twentieth century. Arafat describes how the behavior of the woman is shaped by her society, making her able to endure her restrictions, to overcome her impediments and to give meaning to her life. Some components of Arafat’s essay are found in Patricia Briefcase’s essay Cracking Open.
In her essay, Brioches writes about her personal experience during the sass in America. She expresses her thoughts and troubles during the time she gave birth to her first son. As a young girl she strives to overcome her challenges as a woman and turned her life around to find happiness. Although Brioches and Arafat discuss different societal issues with different circumstances, the two essays convey similar messages about women in society. Brioches relates her life changing transformation from being a young and rebellious girl to being a woman and a dedicated mother.
While Arafat describes the life of a Muslim woman who succeed In folding happiness through her religion In a patriarchal society. Aerial depicts a scene with a woman having a sexual intercourse with her husband where the woman notices a web in the ceiling and plans to get rid of it later. The scene characterizes the relationship between the woman and her husband. She took no pleasure in the act and considered it as one of her daily chores. The woman believed that her role as a wife was to fulfill her husband’s needs and to ignore hers.
She relied on her religion to find comfort and escape from her dissatisfied life. Thus, she committed herself to her dally prayers. As Arafat writes. “Her five dally prayers were like punctuation marks that divided up and gave meaning to her life” (Arafat). Ironically, the woman felt that her religion gave a sense to her life and made her happy, even though she was constrained in her rights. But she found her happiness and peace of mind through her worships which shaped her to become complacent with her situation.
She found a way to both commit to her faith and satisfy some of her physical needs by using masturbation, even though that was condemned by her religion. As In most fairy ales the essay Illustrates a happy ending for the woman who loses her husband, who was the only person that dampened her happiness. The discrepancy between this woman’s experience and Briefcase’s is characterized by the societies they lived in. Brioches was in the US, during a period of liberalizing of women. She was young and naive, like most women at the time, she was trying to express her feminism.
She moved In with her then boyfriend and then got married outside the church defying her catholic faith. She lived Irresponsibly with her husband, to the point that they could not even pay their rent on time. And she was going to college to be able to get a professional career to not be like her mother. However, giving birth to her first child was a turning point for her, she started feeling a sense of responsibility toward the infant. As Brioches relates, “It was now my life’s work to protect, honor, and celebrate this delicate creature. Snail without a shell.
After two weeks, I was In love. We were a team: I gave him life, he gave me breasts” (Breeches 3). Although she responsible for the well-being of her newborn, even so when she learned that he was born with some malformations. Her experience with her son’s hospital stays and seeing him suffer made her make the choice of becoming a dedicated mother. She transitioned from being a young and irresponsible girl to being a dedicated mother. Brioches found herself in a period of Feminism and Social Change, where she had the opportunity to pursue her dreams, but she chose to restrain herself.
This is the essential difference between Brioches and the woman in Arafat story is that, the former made a choice to assume her responsibility as a woman and mother while the latter complied with the restriction her society imposed on her even though she berated them. Brioches had more liberty to express her feminism and that is what she did until she became a mother. At that moment, she felt the responsibility of taking care of her child and be a devout mother, but doing so meant sacrificing some of her aspirations as a woman.
However, she found her happiness in being a mother, as she mentions “l had completed my bachelor’s degree, squeezing in courses piecemeal between Olio’s hospital stays; I wasn’t even sure what my degree was in” (Brioches 14). Brioches had decided to consecrate her life to nurturing her child. She did graduated from college but alleged in text that she was not even sure what she had graduated in, since her priority had become her role of mother. Her choice had also some positive impacts on her household, because her husband too made some changes in his life.
As she mentions “Everything seemed right with the world. Matthew had a Job working in a preschool, and the rent was paid” (Brioches 14). From being an alcoholic and irresponsible husband, Briefcase’s husband, Matthew, had found a real Job and was able to take care of his family. This allowed both of them to play their respective roles in the household. Even though Brioches had been opposed to the traditional structure the family earlier in her life, she came back to those values to find her peace of mind and become finally happy.
In both essays, the authors illustrate a happy ending like in most fairy tales, but they also challenge the traditional fairy tales. In most fairytale, women are shown as weak characters, who constantly submitted to other’s wishes and did well at the end. But, Brioches and Arafat depict strong women, who strive to be happy by making sacrifices. Moreover man are presented as weak in both texts. In Briefcase’s case, her Cubans is depicted as an irresponsible man who tried to escape reality by constantly drinking alcohol.
But it appears in the text that Briefcase’s decision of becoming a devout mother had prompted him in some ways to becoming a responsible husband. And that allowed them to have a stable and happy family. Likewise, Arafat describes the husband as a man who cares only for his own sexual fulfillment and gives no consideration to his wife’s desires and flippantly referred to relationships had with other women. But the woman endured without even complaining. Just after having sex with her husband, the woman got up and took a hewer to do her payer and then made coffee for her husband while the latter was still in bed.
Moreover, contrarily to most women’s reaction, when she found out her husband’s she kept her composure, as referred to by Arafat, “She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was” (Arafat). Even though one could argue that it was normal because she shared no to discover her husband’s death and stay unaffected. But for her this was a liberation, which is illustrated by her pouring the coffee she had prepared for her husband to herself. If in many fairy tales the woman is saved by her prince who makes her happy.
In these two essays, the women are the ones who strive for their happiness. Today, women have gained legal rights throughout the world. The women’s rights movement changed society into what we know today. The flip side of this reality is the changing of the society’s structure, the traditional values that used to be considered normal are now obsolete. This is evident in all walks of life but more recently is apparent right in our very homes. As illustrated in Brioches essay, for a family to be successful both parent should assume their inherent responsibility.