"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bildungsromane and Women Writers

Thomas Mann describes the conduct of the Bildungsroman with these words: "The inwardness, the culture ('Bildung') of a German implies introspection; an individualistic cultural conscience; consideration for the careful tending, the shaping, deepening and perfection of one's own personality or, in religious terms, for the salvation and justification of one's own life."

Well, there is a correlation between the Bildungsromane  of the 18th century German writers and the African woman Bindungsromane in which the heroine try to free herself from a restrictive patriarchal society which does not take into consideration the personal desires, ambitions and the individual freedom of women. 

While the European version of the Bildungsromane does not deal ethnic problem, the African and Middle East Bildungromane deal with ethnic problem, power, gender, and patriarchy. 

Emecheta's Second Class Citizen, and In The Ditch, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, and Beyala's Le Petit Prince de Belleville and Maman a un amant "recount the storie of women who, to varying degrees and by different means, find qualified escape and expand toward individuation." The three African women writers the limited place that women have in our patriarchal society.

Middle East and Arab women writers have described in their literature the wish to escape the bonds of the enclosed home and the wish to enter the public sphere. Women's associations started in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, North Africa, Sudan, and Arabian Peninsula. Arab women novelists write about war, frustration, the erosion of all preconceptions, exile and marginalization. 

 Birds of September offers the first example of Arab female Bildungsroman. Emily Abi Rashed NasrallahBirds of September is set in a small Lebanese village in which the privates lives of a number of male and female characters are influenced by "fossilized social traditions and deeply entrenched patriarchal conventions and religious differences." The young women cannot find refuge in migration abroad so they are obliged to live the limited intellectual and social life of the village. Muna is the central female character and she is ambitious, enthusiastic, and a great positive spirit. Muna is sensitive to the sufferings of other female characters caused mainly by partriarchy and traditional social customs. Birds of September (Touyour Ayloul)  is the Bildungsroman of Muna, whose sustained and powerful passion for self-realization and exercising individual freedom runs through the novel. The village people witness their loved ones (sons and husbands) depart from their lands, just as the birds in the month of September, but Muna stays in the village and she is more articulate in voicing her rejection of oppressive conventions of a patriarchal society

Nasrallah writes about oppressive experiences that a number of female fictional characters experience in a restrictive patriarchal society. A men's society where women are denied personal freedom and in which they cannot exercise their individual freedom. 

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