Sultana's Dream

Literary Assertions on Women’s Rights in the Middle East College

Literary Assertions on Women’s Rights in the Middle East

Women’s issues have permeated societies throughout the world for decades, and many authors have attempted to deal with issues such as women’s rights through their own literary works. In Egypt, one such author is Alifa Rifaat, who addresses women’s rights in general, but also more specifically challenges conventional ideas regarding a woman’s right to sexual gratification in the short story “My World of the Unknown.” Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain is another international writer whose work reflects feminist issues of India in her short story “Sultana’s Dream.” Although the two stories deal with the common issue of women’s rights, they differ greatly in their content and their style because, although both countries’ attitudes towards women are antiquated, the specific circumstances of each country and each particular concern is different, and therefore the issues must be dealt with accordingly.

Rafaat’s most obvious statement in “My World of the Unknown” is a call for the sexual empowerment of women. At this time, Egyptian women are not expected, or even allowed, to enjoy sexual encounters. Sex is a practice to bring pleasure to a woman’s husband but not to herself. Rafaat’s story...

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