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Another Evening at the Club

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Lavine Ann Rose G. Castillo

20150359

December 21 2018

Another Evening at the Club

Alifa Rifaat’s short story “Another Evening at the Club” is a reflection of an Egyptian woman’s point of view on life and marriage in a patriarchal society. It gives rise to the protagonist Samia and her journey in realizing her true meaning of her place and authority in her marriage. The story enforces themes of gender roles through female oppression and materialism.

It is made clear early in the story that in their society men have the right to choose a wife in an arranged marriage. Through this, Rifaat is able to portray female oppression through gender roles. Samia referred to her future husband, Abboud Bey, as “the man who might choose her as his wife” which implies that in her life, women have no say in relationships and are inclined to impress the suitors. In the story, Samia had to put on a show just to make her more attractive in order to sell herself.  After being decided as his new wife, Samia was to stop attending school and to prepare herself as a housewife in order to please him as she does everything around the household. Her inability to choose her own career in life demonstrates the oppression women are subjected to. Additionally, the women are treated as tools whereas the men are responsible in making decisions. For example, Samia stated that the role of women “was to be beautiful, happy, and carefree” whereas the men were the “ones who carried the responsibilities and made the decisions”. The pressures and influence of Samia’s patriarchal society is what may have caused her to accept her fate as inferior to that of men. When Samia believed that the young helper had stolen her ring, she waited for her husband to return before addressing the helper as she felt inadequate and required her husband to make the decisions. Instead, Samia “took herself to the corner of the room” avoiding any responsibility. Rifaat’s contrasts women inferiority greatly with male authority. For example, Bey’s physical gestures impacted the way Samia saw herself in the marriage; the simple gesture of “gently patting her checks in a fatherly reassuring gesture” initially made Samia feel safe. However in the end of the story, Samia realised that Bey’s physical actions, such as slapping the maid or patting her cheeks were a display of authority and power over them. She had a sudden cruel realization that ruined her idea of the marriage, “the gesture came like a slap in the face” which left “her whole body seized with an uncontrollable trembling” as she finally understood Bey’s authority over her. At the end, Samia surrendered to the power, comfort and status, even though she knew she wanted an out, by offering a smile. She smiled as she understood her secondary position she held with the riches as her form of payment, she made peace with her reality.

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