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Another Evening at the Club - Alifa Rifaat - Analysis

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Name : Nabiha Zaman

Course : ENG 106

Professor : Stanley Hoffman

Date : 04/20/2016

Topic : Essay #1

        Out of all the stories we were assigned to read till now in this course, I have chosen "Another Evening at the Club" written by author Alifa Rifaat, for this paper. There are numerous reasons for choosing this particular short story out of the wide selection that was provided to us. Among the ones that I read, I felt like I really connected with this story (both mentally and emotionally) and also became highly fond of the author's style of writing once I had finished reading and rereading it. The way she described the surroundings, the settings and the scenarios taking place, it gave me the feeling that I was watching everything happen right before my eyes through a projector, similar to how I feel when watching a film at the theatre.

        I consider myself a feminist and hence emotionally connected to this piece of writing in ways that while reading it I expressed emotions of anger, amusement, pity and sympathy towards the lead characters. The themes of oppression, submission, gender roles in society, emotional conflict are strongly present throughout the story. No deaths, accidents, natural disasters or severe actions took place during the ending but somehow it left me feeling sad at the sense of entrapment the protagonist, Samia felt.

        One of the major themes present is how us humans put so much emphasis over society and people's opinions. How sometimes we care about these matters so much that it would stop us from doing what is right only if that would stop society from giving us a bad reputation. The author clearly displays how the protagonist's husband, Abboud Bey, throughout the story, is always worried about his reputation in society, and how people would judge or react to actions and decisions that he makes in his personal life. First, he ordered his wife to lie about her family background when asked by his peers. Secondly, how he handled the situation upon finding out that no theft had taken place but that his wife had only misplaced the emerald ring. Abboud Bey did not want people to know how due to a tiny mistake of his slightly drunk wife (alcohol consumption by women was frowned upon back then, especially in a Muslim country) he had wrongly accused their maid of stealing. Not to mention the fact that he physically abused their maid by hitting her when she denied to his accusation of her stealing the ring . He would rather have not updated the police (to whose custody he reported their maid for questioning) as he believed doing so would portray him as a fool in society and also lead to his peers frowning at him.

        Coming from a similar background, (I am originally  from Bangladesh, a Muslim country in the third world) I could relate to several actions that occured throughout the story. How woman are treated as objects and how their prices are set through dowries in arranged marriages. I myself come from an educated and open minded family but such issues are still prominent in Bangladesh's society, even in today's modern age. Pointing out similarities between the story and the situation in my home country, how teenage girls of school going age are getting married off to older men just because their families are financially struggling and how their families regard education as not a mandatory option for female children.

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