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A Comparison of The Women's Swimming Pool by Hanan Al-Shaykh and The Perforated Sheet by Salman Rushdie

In western culture, it is taboo to be covered head to toe, excluding the face, in the middle of the summer heat, but this is a reality that Muslim ladies are very familiar with in their everyday lives. The Muslim religion is really strict and governed by the Quran. Several view it as oppressive but these who practice it see it as a religion that frees them from the temptations of the world. The modest dress is to safeguard the Islamic individuals who practice it faithfully from adultery and other forms of illegal sexual relations that lead to the breakup of households and corruption of society. “The Perforated Sheet”, written by Salman Rushdie, humorously addresses this really concept of wearing a Hijab in Islamic culture told from a male’s viewpoint, whilst “The Women’s Swimming Pool”, written by Hanan Al-Shaykh, brings about a significant point of view on the remedy and practice of veiling females, from the perspective of a Muslim Indian lady.
“The Perforated Sheet” is a quick story told from a male’s point of view. The story of the sheet starts when Aadam Aziz, a medical doctor, breaks his nose praying to Allah. Allah is the name of God in the religion of Islam and needs Muslims to pray five instances a day. Also, when Islamic folks pray, they sit on their knees on a mat and bow to kiss the ground. While Dr. Aziz is praying, he leans down and hits his abnormally large nose, as a result breaking it. Soon after undertaking this he has “resolved in no way again to kiss earth for any god or man” in a rage of anger and renounces his religion (Rushdie 1712). This absence of religion creates a lasting “hole” that leaves the great doctor vulnerable and provides him an intense need to fill it. The story continues, and Dr. Aziz begins to treat a young lady named Naseem Ghani. The downside, nonetheless, is that he is only permitted to treat her by means of a sheet, and “in the very cente of the sheet, a hole had been cut, a crude circle about seven inches in diameter” (Rushdie 1721). This sheet was demanded by Naseem’s father Ghani to maintain her covered and modest. This sheet symbolizes the Hijab, considering that this it hides the complete body except for the face, which is roughly seven inches in diameter in girls. Naseem honors her father, household, and God by keeping her physique covered and following her father’s wishes so that she could marry off to a doctor. Even though this seems like a good point, this analogy pokes fun at the idea of wearing a Hijab, seeing that it would be silly for a doctor to treat his or her patient via a little hole. The irony of the situation is the truth that Naseem is quite religious and is regarded as by her father as a “good” and “decent” girl while Dr. Aziz is much more than likely an atheist (Rushdie 1721). This is a plausible notion since Salam Rushdie is an atheist who was a Muslim and a student of Islam.
This sheet is really symbolic in another way. It is stained with blood which represents the line in the Quran, “Recite, in the name of the Lord thy Creator, who designed Man from clots of blood” (Rushdie 1712). Rushdie humiliates Muslims by continuing to poke enjoyable at the Hijab by creating it a comedic relief for Rushdie’s audience, as shown when Dr. Aziz comes into Naseem’s area and the sheet is held up by 3 “lady wrestlers [who]…tightened their musculatures, just in case he intended to attempt anything fancy” which was confusing to Dr. Aziz and made him frantic about how he was going to do his job, but he was reassured by Ghani that this way would maintain her “modest”. Over the course of 3 years, Dr. Aziz treats Naseem by way of the sheet and “[falls] in love”, yet not with her thoughts, morals, or values but he cared her for in a different way. He longs for her in components of the body he has noticed and components he wishes to see. He is enthralled with the mystery that the sheet offers, as several individuals do with religion. Numerous people adhere to a religion simply because of the mystery it gives. It provides a attainable explanation to what takes place when we die and give us guidelines and guidelines on how we ought to conduct our each day lives. Dr. Aziz is held captive to the thought of what lies behind the sheet and what could be his personal variety of heaven. Aadam Aziz journeyed several instances to the Ghani’s home to see Naseem and he would cautiously and completely examine her body in seven-inch sections, working his way from the bottom to the leading of her physique, excluding a handful of sensitive places. Aziz began “to feel of the perforated sheet as something sacred and magical” satiating his thirsty desire to fill in the hole he inflicted on himself by the abandonment of religion (Rushdie 1723). This shows an objectification to Naseem by Dr. Aadam Aziz, because he has fallen in love with her in how she smells and with the softness and beauty of her skin, not for her intelligence or thoughts-which is what tends to make us human. It was a really like for parts of a body and mystery but not to a entire person and not to how Naseem Ghani thinks or acts. This all leads to Rushdie’s last stab at the Hijab which was the exclamation, “what a nose!”, produced by Naseem Ghani when she finally is in a position to see the doctor who has treated her all these years (Rushdie 1723). The physician was a really ugly man and was not comparable in appears, thoughts, or power to Naseem considering that she was a extremely lovely, young, and sweet girl.
In contrast to the prior male view on a Hijab, the short story written and told from a female viewpoint, “The Women’s Swimming Pool” shows the struggles that numerous Indian Muslim women face. The story starts out becoming told by a narrator, of age to perform in tobacco fields, who is “exasperated” and had to “wear [a] dress with long sleeves, [and a] head covering” in the intense summer heat of Lebanon (Shaykh 1728-30). Her grandmother is her guardian and is very devoted to Islam, but she is against the trip to the all women’s swimming pool by the sea but goes anyways to preserve an eye on her granddaughter. The narrator wants to go so poor and it intensifies as she recites in her head “I can not wait, I shan’t consume, I shan’t drink, I want to go now, now”(Shaykh 1732). Then the narrator rushes her grandmother to leave so they can go to the lady only pool, situated in the city of Zeytouna. This concept of an all-female pool is a culture shock to the grandmother. She views swimming in public with the likelihood of being observed it also large of risk to take. When being held to Muslim women standards that they are to be covered such that only her face, hands, and feet are revealed, and the clothes must be loose adequate so that the shape of her physique is not evident, which is not feasible to be compliant with if a lady wishes to go swimming. The grandmother insisted she go with the narrator to the all women’s swimming pool alternatively of her friend Sumayya. Sumayya was the 1 who told the narrator about this pool and got it in her head that she needed to go pay a visit to it by expressing how remarkable it was. The grandmother in this circumstance stands for the strict Muslim guidelines in this story and does not want to see the narrator go down the wrong path. She wants the narrator to keep faithful to Islam and not alter her future path.
As soon as they arrive at Zeytouna by a cab driver, the narrator goes on a hunt to discover her lengthy-lost swimming pool by walking about the city inquiring about the about its place. Throughout their adventure, the narrator’s grandmother tries to keep up along the way, but ends up tiring herself out. The narrator ultimately comes across the pool by the sea and confirms that is just for women. The women outside the pool, taking in the one particular lira it expense to enter, looked at the narrator with “contempt” and she believed it could have been from her accent and in the way she dressed. Either way, she felt a judgment against her and showed the distinction in cultures. As the narrator walked back to her grandmother, excited to have located the pool, she came across her kneeling on the pavement in prayer to Allah in the middle of the busy street. This is when the narrator makes a large self-discovery about herself. She notices how the globe has grown and how you can have the best of both worlds by being individualistic, keeping her faith in Islam, and nevertheless be able to expertise life. She sees this in the behavior and reactions people have to the grandmother. She unglorifies her grandmother when she says she “felt sorry for her [and] for the very first time her black dress looked shabby to [her]” due to the fact she will by no means recognize that it is ok to go outdoors your comfort zone and nonetheless becoming faithful. The narrator now knows that it is ok to be Muslim and do what you are comfy with, in this new progressive globe. Though the Islamic religion is very demanding with the guidelines regarding behavior, ideals, dress, and conduct of its men and women, women who stick to this religion really feel that the veiling of their body brings honor to their God by maintaining his rules and is empowering to them by displaying individuality. This is exactly what the narrator learns from the trip to the all women’s swimming pool.
To some individuals, a Hijab is one thing to be created entertaining of or to consider of as silly. To other people, it is a sign of prevailing faith in the Qur’an and shows power in individuality. From the male point of view as told in “The Perforated Sheet”, covering females appears silly and degrades the values of girls by breaking them down into parts and not for the value of the whole lady. Dr. Aziz falls for a younger, gorgeous, powerless woman he has only seen in parts. He also falls in enjoy with the mystery and not with Naseem herself. This shows a man’s fetish and need for a mystery larger than himself. When compared to the female perspective of wearing a complete physique covering like in “The Women’s Swimming Pool”, which showed that wearing a Hijab is a sign of a strong Islamic faith and powerful individuality, you can see how vastly various viewpoints on veiling girls are in the eyes of distinct sexes. In this brief story, the lady Indian Muslim narrator goes on a journey to discover that becoming Muslim and possessing a robust faith does not have to get in the way of enjoying life. The two stories are comparable in elements such as each have females becoming veiled and each have the discovery of one thing massive in the end, but there are important variations amongst the two. In “The Perforated Sheet”, Rushdie tends to make a clear analogy throughout the story that a Hijab is practically nothing much more than a sheet with a hole in it and tells the story from the male’s point of view. Compared to “The Women’s Swimming Pool”, which was told from a female point of view, this short story tells a journey of self-discovery and individualism in being a robust Muslim lady and embracing your differences.

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