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By Nawal El Saadawi

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This is the 1st quantity of the autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, giving an emotionally shattering, yet splendidly lyrical, portrait of her formative years in a distant Egyptian village -- the adolescence that produced the liberty fighter. She describes vividly the tradition of where and time into which she used to be born and likewise her intuitive -- and encouraging -- wish to go beyond the constraints compelled upon her as a result of her gender. From the very commence, escaping the clutch of attainable marriage on the age of ten, we see how she moulded her personal inventive energy right into a weapon and the way using phrases turned an act of uprising opposed to injustice, top first to her occupation as a doctor and eventually to her iconic prestige as a novelist and political activist.

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Additional resources for A Daughter of Isis: The Early Life of Nawal El Saadawi: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi

Sample text

Since her wedding night, she had hated all men, or since even before that, four years prior to her wedding night, when she was still a child only six years old and the daya Um Mahmoud came to their home. The image of Sittil Hajja fades from my mind but her voice continues to reach my ears, as though rising from the depth of the earth: I had just started to walk, go to the fields, and play with the children when that unnameable woman Um Mahmoud, that daya, that brazen daughter of a whore, came to the house, got hold of me and tied me up like a chicken with the help of four other women.

But after that one and only shriek rising from the innermost depths of the mother lying on the bed, the dark obstinate head  A term of respect for older people, although strictly applying only to those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. 22 A Daughter of Isis thrust out slowly, gently, then stopped again, held back at the neck, undecided whether to continue on its way out, or go back. But the muscles of the vagina contracted tightly round the neck, threatening to throttle out its life. There was no way for this being to save itself except to go out into the world as quickly as it could.

38 A Daughter of Isis The voice of Sittil Hajja echoes in my ears despite the passing of the years. I see her tall figure, her head upright as she walks through the village, treading firmly on the ground with her feet clad in balghas, watch her knock with the flat of her sunburnt hand on the door of the Omda’s house and shout, ‘Come out, Omda, and speak to me. ’  Pointed leather slippers open at the back, which it was the custom for villagers, especially men, to wear at the time.  The village headman was very powerful at one time.

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