Firdaus sheds her last grain of virtue. In doing so, she realizes the truth of her society.
Seeing what a woman is and does in Egypt, her home, she sees the only way out of the situation. Firdaus, through her desire to be become a human being who was not looked upon with discontent; she finds that a successful prostitute was better than a misled saint. Throughout her life, Firdaus had incurred the abuse that her society inflicted on women. Firstly, her father treating her not wrongly, but the way that daughters had always been treated.
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At a young age, Firdaus was forced to accept that her status in society should never surpass or equal a man, and that she was there to help the man live more effectively. The way in which she lost the ability to take pleasure from sexual activity shows her intended purpose. It would have been wrong for her to feel the pleasure she was giving a man. But her uncle allowed her to see otherwise: Firdaus came into possession of an education, and saw the immorality of the ways that women were treated. Her life had taught her that whether in marriage, as a daughter, a girlfriend, or a niece, all women were in a sense prostitutes. Firdaus’s father perceived her as a pimp would, knowing how to exchange her virgin daughter for a dowry when there was still time.
Her uncle had taken her away to give her an education, only to abuse her, not letting her see how he would be shunned in a different society. Gradually, Firdaus' experiences with men became similar. The failed attempts to find love, and feel pleasure merged into a mass of hurt, and feelings of pain for all women subjected to such lifestyles without life. Simply becoming Mahmoud's wife shows us that Firdaus was not granted control of her life, as no women were. He was over sixty, and she was not yet nineteen. The society in which they lived allowed him the right to do what he pleased, the same society forced Firdaus to comply.
Yet Firdaus realized that the society did not have to force most women, it was natural and given that women would obey and please their men. Her later experiences with men, following her beating by her husband, gave her a chance to try to find love. In more than one case, however, what she thought was love were really new ways for men to manipulate and use her. Upon taking the job at the company, Firdaus fought to gain some respect in society. Her education labeled her as “middle class”, which would have stood for something were she not female. She still remained a poor insignificant employee.Her entire life before she killed the pimp was lived through her eyes as a misled saint. She gave everything she had without want or lust.
As soon as she saw that she wanted something back, such as love, she found that the only way to be respected was through prostitution. As a prostitute, Firdaus could command authority over males. She had something they wanted, and were happy to pay for, rather than just taking like every other man had before. But it still did not allow Firdaus the life she wanted.
Through money she could get most things, but she still felt the emptiness open by her mother with a razor blade so many years ago. Before she killed the pimp, for a split second she had the feeling she longed for, the man feared the woman. Firdaus's final truth that all men are criminals is valid in her society, but only by western standards. The importance this statement is very significant. The statement is used to sum up Firdaus' entire life. Every experience with a man has led Firdaus to believe ever stronger that only men can be labeled criminals and that all men are criminals.
It was this.