Monday, March 24, 2014

A Thousand Splendid Peculiarities

Pembroke College, Cambridge University. Photo cred MEEE.
So as I was doing my research in the library today, I realized how heavily I focus on the author of the book I chose.  Khaled Hosseini.  I wondered if I could possibly bring in more of his works to support my thesis:Male authors are the most powerful in the feminist literary movement, as it is male authors that people take the most seriously; in Victorian England, Lewis Carroll wrote about a young girl that broke all social norms; in A Thousand Splendid Suns, it was Khaled Hosseini, a male author in a Middle Eastern culture, that wrote about the oppression of women.  Ironically enough, this shows why feminism is necessary: until women can write about their own problems and be taken seriously, the women of the world will almost always certainly have to rely on men to be the journalists and authors of their inequality.

I decided to revisit The Kite Runner, the first book that Khaled Hosseini had published. It was also the first of his that I had read, back in senior year of high school. While skimming it, I found a passage that I had found peculiar at the time. "Poison tongues would flap.  And she would bear the brunt of that poison, not me—I was fully aware of the Afghan double standard that favored my gender.  Not Did you see him chatting with her? but Woooooy! Did you see how she wouldn’t let him go?  What a lochak!” (Hosseini, 146).  In this passage, a young man is talking to a young women, asking for the whereabouts of her father.  Then he asks what book she is reading, and suddenly, all eyes in the marketplace turn to the two of them because they were "chatting."  I thought that this was an interesting interjection, but now I see the reason for it.  Hosseini was already aware of where he wanted to bring his writing next: to feminist Islamic issues.  And so, I wanted to gain a better understanding of Islamic feminism and its history.

Barlow, Rebecca, and Shahram Akbarzadeh. "Women's Rights In The Muslim World: Reform Or Reconstruction?." Third World Quarterly 27.8 (2006): 1481-1494. World History Collection. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

I’m going to use this source to get a brief introduction to feminist issues in the Middle East.

Hall, Donald E. Fixing Patriarchy: Feminism and Mid-Victorian Male Novelists. New York: New York UP, 1996. Print.

THIS IS PERFECT AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!! This published book explores feminism and the threat that Victorian male novelists feel about feminism.  Even though my paper will be about male authors writing about feminism, I definitely feel that this source will contribute to my understanding about feminism in Carroll’s day.

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003.

While at the Library today, I went ahead and checked out Hosseini’s first published book, The Kite Runner.  Even though it is not exactly research, I thought that it might be useful for its very brief paragraph about male authority in Middle Eastern culture.  I had read it in high school, and I remember there was one passage that really stuck out; the story itself is about a man and his son, but I remember reading one passage and at the time it had seemed like an accusation against Middle Eastern patriarchal society.  Now, after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I can definitely say that Hosseini had this on his mind.  I hope I can bring this into my essay.

As for what's next, I am hoping to have a better grasp of what direction I will be writing in--as of right now, I have so many ideas!  I could go with the use of pseudonyms by female authors to get published, I could continue with the idea of Khaled Hosseini's personal mission to bring feminism into play in his writing (along with this goes Lewis Carroll's creation of Alice in Wonderland) and HOLY MOTHER OF THOR I just got an idea about the Queen of Hearts as I'm writing this.  Is the Queen of Hearts a feminist character?  Or is she anti-feminist--I mean, she controls and rules over Wonderland, so that would make her appear to be a feminist character, but at the same time, she isn't exactly logical (which is how Victorian society viewed women--to be too emotional, and not logical enough), so that would be an anti-feminist character.  Anyways, as you can see, I have a lot more to sort out!  


  1. Krista! I must say you have done a lot of good research!

    I found an article that might be helpful for you called, "Feminism and feminist movements in the middle east, a preliminary exploration: Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen". It is essentially a article about feminism in the middle east, and while people may say it "doesn't exist", this article explores they ways that it does. You could use it to help support the idea that women are still oppressed even with authorship. Interestingly, this article is written by a female from the middle east. I don't know if this will help you, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    Here is the link to the full text:

    Also, there is a more general book source that is called, "Feminism: the essential historical writings." This text more generally discusses the kinds of written works that have been written by women either in oppression or texts that have previously been obscure.

    Here is a link to the book on the library website:

    1. I don't know why it spaced things like that in the comment, sorry! If you have any questions let me know. Yay for feminism in our papers! ;)

    2. Thank you so much Tori! This is awesome. and I completely agree--yay for feminist papers!