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Damascene Shahrazād: The Images of Women in Zakariyyā Tāmir's Short Stories

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Tāmir describes the other/the woman as a realistic character who reflects the maladies of Arab society, and as an ideal image that fulfills his vision of an egalitarian and liberal society. In both instances, he emerges as an author who is highly critical of the status of women and attitudes toward them in traditional and conservative Arab society. In his early collections, the author's descriptions of the submissive and obedient woman, who suffers the violence and tyranny of men in a patriarchal society, are grotesque and ironic. To escape this harsh reality, he feels the need for fantasies, the center of which is the mythical woman who at times appears as part of nature, bestowing tranquility on man at times of crisis, and at others resembles Shahrazād, equal to man and his partner. In his later collections, women are no longer passive and dependent on men; they are independent, have initiative and are liberated from all the traditional norms and taboos, particularly sexual ones.


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