Arabian Nights

High School ・English ・MLA ・1 Sources

The assigned section in the book tells mostly about Shahrazad's story involving the man Ghanim and a girl he met interior a chest. As expected in Arabian Nights, explicit sexual scenes were artfully told. While the union of man and girls can be an interesting topic, this paper would delve more on the bounds of feminism and human dignity. Ghanim was a man who had freedom even although he can be considered as lower ranking in contrast to most nobles. On the other hand, the girl he met, Qut al-Qulub, is a concubine that is owned by a master. This suggests gender inequality, which is the expected culture at that time. It can also be noted that themes of slavery can also be discussed since Qut al-Qulub is considered a concubine that should only answer to her sexual master. Through the depiction of the main characters in the story, one could see themes of inequality between the two genders and the disrespect to human dignity due to existing culture at that time.

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Ghanim first met Qut al-Qulub inside a chest. While this is a very dehumanizing scene in the story, it is just the start as more discovery are found later on. Ghanim seem to have fallen in love with the girl. Even though his passion was burning, he treated her with respect and waited for the right time to take her instead of raping her. He later found out that Qut al-Qulub is actually a concubine. When he found out that she belongs to the caliph, he had some doubts. However, this did not stop him from following his heart. In the story, Qut al-Qulub was seen as a woman who needs to be saved. It depicts that she is weak and needs a man to live. The narrative itself presented the inequality between males and females. The men are described as the savior and owners of concubines. On the other hand, the women are depicted as someone who needs to be saved. Worse, the story presents Qut al-Qulub as a concubine who is actually owned by a caliph.

Aside from gender inequality that could be found in the narrative, disrespect to human dignity was also presented. Being a concubine is similar to being a slave, except that they have to answer to their masters sexually. This shows how such human being is treated as a material object. It could be noted that Qut al-Qulub was found inside a chest. This seem to represent her humanity as someone being treated only as a mere object. Such case would actually cause an uproar nowadays. However, it seem to be normal during that time to have concubines that are merely treated as human objects. This is a disgrace to human dignity.

While Ghanim and Qut al-Qulub were happily together in the end, it does not deny the fact that the themes of gender inequality and disrespect to human dignity can be found in the story (Lyons, Lyons, & Irwin 300). While it can be pointed out to the culture at that time, one should take note of such presence in the narrative in order to possibly apply the lessons in real life. The objectification of Qut al-Qulub should not happen to anyone, especially to women nowadays. On the other hand, the image of Ghanim as a savior actually adds to the image of women as weak people who needs saving. This should not be the case either.

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Works Cited

Lyons, M C, U Lyons, and Robert Irwin.The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights. London: Penguin, 2010

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