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"Reflecting on what Amal tells us, discuss the ways in which Map of Love comments on the following common assumptions about gender relations"
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Some things have not changed, and this is evident in the gender roles that are discussed in the context of both British and Egyptian society.
The Map of Love is a story of love written by a woman, as only a woman could tell it. Never lacking in emotion or intrigue, the book shows that history can repeat itself in strange ways. It is the story of two tales of love, about a century apart. Going back to 1901, we see that Anna Winterbourne has been recently widowed and is strangely attracted to an Egyptian nationalist by the name of Sharif Pasha Al-Barudi. At the time the Middle East was under British control. The ever dutiful Anna had been relegated to a life at home while her husband was stationed in Sudan. When he develops a sickness and cannot be nursed back to health, she becomes despondent and melancholy. Despite her best efforts, she finds a chasm between them which she cannot reduce, and ends up blaming herself…” if she had loved him better, perhaps he would have not needed to go to the Sudan. If she had understood him better, perhaps she could have nursed him back to health” (Souief, 2000, 41). The Victorian rules and attitude show that the woman’s place in the British household of 1900 was not far from that of a rudimentary society such as Egypt. No wonder she decides to travel to a new and distant country in search of adventure, and in the process is attracted to the young and robust nationalist. It is an escape from a life of emptiness and drudgery. This Victorian despondency is also seen in Charlotte Parker Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Kate Chopin’s ‘The Story of an Hour’- but each chooses to deal with it in an entirely different way.
Moving forward to the present, we see that Isabel too has fallen in love with Amal’s brother Omar but he is not reciprocating his thoughts or feelings. Aware of his Arabic traditions, he prefers to send Isabel to his sister Amal rather than help
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