2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Portrayals of Women in Egypt from 1917-1919 in Mahfouz's Palace Walk
Kristy L. Warmbold
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Naguib Mahfouz's novel, Palace Walk (1956), delves into the life of a middleclass Muslim family in Cairo, Egypt, between 1917 and 1919 while Egypt was struggling for independence from Britain. The novel demonstrates the silent struggle of Egyptian women for independence against an oppressive patriarchal society. The novel gives historically accurate insight into what life would have been like for various types of women as times and their roles were changing. Some characters in the novel take a progressive stance and encourage women to increase their rights while others, such as al-Sayyid Ahmad, the domineering patriarch of the family, encourage the oppressive system. Ahmad's behavior and views oppress almost of the female characters in his life, such as his wife Amina, daughter Khadija, and his former mistress Jalilia. Although these women have many differences, they are all held back by Ahmad in one way or another. This paper will demonstrate how Palace Walk through these three portrayals of women critiques the oppressive society towards women.

Keywords: Egypt, gender, struggle, Islam, oppressive


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 59-3
Location: VH 1428
Time: 3:15 pm

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