Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Alifa vs Nawal

Who will the years proof to be more influential in bettering the sorrow state of women in the Egyptian society? Alifa Rifaat or Nawal Saadawi?

These two writers promote revolt against the unjust treatment of girls and women in the Egyptian household and society, yet their styles cannot be more different.

While Alifa, as I explained in the previous post, follows a conservative approach, Nawal seams to prefer a more confrontational and shocking one. Ms. Rifaat, the single mother of three, seams to be applying her motherly experiences and tenderness to treat the society, while Dr. Saadawi, the physician, prefers a high-risk invasive surgical treatment.

Moreover, it is widely agreed that Ms Rifaat's lack of knowledge of any foreign languages eliminates any Western influence in the shaping of her ideas, and removes any possibility of her having the Western reader in mind when tackling the misfortunes of the Egyptian women.

As for Dr. Saadawi, she openly brags about being widely read and more appreciated in the West, which could imply that she does, even unconsciously, have this Western reader in mind when writing her novels or her non-fiction work.

Is one of the two approaches more effective? Is one of the two more proper? Do we need to support one approach and condemn the other, or are they both needed to achieve the change? What do you think?

Here are some related links:


Noran said...

Dear Nahoul,
I think both approaches are necessary. While women, or people in general, who are familiar with the customs of the West may appreciate Saadawi's writings, others who are not will only be able to relate to Rifaat's boo(s). So it's up to critics like you who can do a comparative study and give us a capsule of the outcome.

Noran said...

sorry, that was Rifaat's book(s)

nahoul said...


Thank you so much for your kind words. Coming from an accomplished writer who also happens to be an old and dear friend means a lot to me.