A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
> give insight to the outrage that is forced upon Saudi Arabian women
> document the vile experiences of Princess Sultana and other Saudi Arabian women
> help invoke a change of the treatment of women in the Middle East
> shows the way women are treated in the Middle East even when embellished with wealth and royalty
Aspects of Culture
Women in Saudi Arabia do not have equal rights with men.
>Saudi Arabia was ranked 129th out of 134 countries for gender equality.
>Saudi law states that every adult woman must have a male relative as her “guardian”.
>In court, one man’s testimony is equal to two women’s.
>Men are allowed up to four wives, while women are only allowed one husband.
> Women are required to wear an abbaya and niqab in public.
> The Koran is the holy book of Islam. There are 114 Suras, or chapters, that all set forth acceptable conduct for people of the Muslim faith.
>There is no separation of religion in the Muslim world of Saudi Arabia, Islamic religion is the absolute law.
Effect of the Structure
> takes place during childhood and early adulthood (shows cruel upbringing)
>provides basic information of Saudi Arabia in the beginning (factual)
>many letters from Sasson and the Princess in the beginning and end of novel (realistic)
>helps connect the reader to Sultana's childhood and invoke sympathy within them
>displays a horrific effect on the reader as they learn of the Princess' life (directly)
"...drawn and anguished howl of someone I had known, a woman who had embodied the life and hope of our land, a woman now living in utter blackness, without sight or sound to sustain her life" (194-195).
"The long hallways were dark and forbidding. Rooms of various shapes and sizes branched off, concealing the secrets of our lives...Dark red velvet curtains closed out the sunlight. A smell of Turkish tobacco and whiskey embraced the heavy atmosphere...Mother had the room painted a bright yellow; as a result, it had the glow of life that was so glaringly absent in the rest of the villa" (12).
>paints a picture of Sultana's wealth
>invokes sympathy in the reader by giving a horrifying picture of the punishment women are subject to
>the metaphors trigger emotions in the reader and draws attention to the specific details used
“I would be the beneficiary of great love and dark hate. I was a force of good and evil. I was an enigma to all who loved me” (109).
Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud's Current Status
She says that things have gotten better for Saudi women recently, but many things are still the same and she hopes to make a difference.
Bedouin: original Arabs, nomadic desert people
Ghutra: Arabic cloth headdress worn by men
Haj: the pilgrimage of journey to Makkah
Hudud: crimes of serious nature
Ibn: “son of”
Koran: the Holy Book of Islamic faith
Mutawa: the morals police of Islam
Qisas: a crime committed against a person
Riyal: currency for Saudi Arabia
Sharia: the law of God
Sunna: traditions of islamic faithSuras: chapters of the Koran
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