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Sample Essay - Response Paper - Alifa Rifaat, Distant View of a Minaret

Book Response Paper Sample

Book Response Essay Sample

Task: Choose one of these and write about it :

1) Alifa Rifaat, Distant View of a Minaret
2) Hanan al-Shaykh, The Story of Zahra

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Alifa Rifaat “Distant View of a Minaret”

The “Distant View of a Minaret” is Alifa Rifaat`s collection of 15 short stories that portray the life of women who are doomed to suffer from gender inequality, so intensively justified by Muslim society in Egypt. Although the stories were not interconnected, they still vividly described the world that the author lived in. “Distant View of Minaret” is one of the short stories that accentuate man`s egoism towards woman. The story begins with the description of sexual relationships between a woman and her husband. The author emphasizes that woman experiences difficulties with sexual fulfillment as her man ignores his wife`s wishes and interests. When the call for afternoon prayer rings out, she is dressing up to wash herself after having sex as it is required by Islamic traditions whereas her husband is having nap. After daily prayer, she looks out of the window of their apartment. She dreams of living in the house, but her husband`s work requires them to stay in the city.  Having prepared afternoon coffee for her husband, she enters the bedroom and finds him dead. The wife says her son to call a doctor, then she calmly pours out the coffee. Her composure amazes her, but she cannot help staying tranquil – “She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was” (Rifaat). 

The author`s framework is observed in each segment of the story. First, when the wife does not have sexual fulfillment, it accentuates how egoistic the nature of Muslim man is. The woman in the Islamic world is known to carry out a function of the tool to satisfy, please and support without receiving any feedback from her husband. However, Rifaat`s vision is twisted to a certain degree as she does not blame the religion that has created these restrictions for women. On the contrary, she accuses men of not properly performing in family life. Second, a woman has to wash herself after having sex in order to wipe out the sin whereas her man is napping peacefully afterward, and, therefore, is sinless. 

Third, the woman is the shadow of his man that is not allowed to follow her dreams. She has always dreamt of living in the house; nonetheless, it is a sort of appear elusive for any woman of Islamic world. She is attached to her husband to obediently follow him. Fourth, the woman prepares coffee for his husband to satisfy him. All these inequalities reflect the author`s personal experience. Rifaat was dreaming of getting higher education; nevertheless, she was forced to get married. Her husband died early and she had to raise her children alone. However, since Rifaat spoke Arabic only and had no opportunity to gain profound knowledge from outside sources, her art was not impacted by feminist movement. That is to say, she had twisted perception of reality and, instead of questioning the justness of women`s position in the Islamic world, she blamed men for not carrying out their functions in regard to Islam. In accordance with Rigaat`s standpoint, partners in marriage had to round each other out; otherwise, love could not occur. In reality, Islam advocated for absolute patriarchal order in which women`s demeanor was strictly limited. 

In conclusion, it is pivotally important to mention that Rigaat`s lack of comprehension and background knowledge significantly influenced her works. Her focus of interest was shifted from severity of Islamic traditions to the problem of men`s ineptitude to discharge the duties of family life, therefore, deluding the reader as for veritable causes of gender inequality.