Dr. Maria Jerinic
21 June 2014
Driving into Nourjahad Feminization allows members of the dominant culture to separate themselves from the other. The argument that takes president when analyzing a form of literature is the notion that conventions of traditional literature allow only a certain type of female character to be portrayed. Women, as well as men are conditioned to respond in certain ways to the characters, focusing on the theory that there is a male supremacy to oppress women. France Sheridan is a woman, therefore the tale, “The History of Nourjahad,” takes on a particularly feminine perspective that allows for the audience to romanticize the plot. Amplifying her feminine perspective, Margaret Anne Doody testifies that the text should be read as a romantic piece in her essay, “Frances Sheridan: Morality and Annihilated Time.” Feminism has gained immense popularity throughout Sheridan’s “The History of Nourjahad,” which supports Doody’s positive argument for feminism displayed in the tale by stressing male dominance over subordinate women, however, one is overtaken by femininity that one fails to embark the bigger, more central theme that Orientalism prevails within the tale.
Margaret Doody’s essay, “Frances Sheridan” Morality and Annihilated Time,” pays special attention to the unique dynamic Sheridan’s tale, “The History of Nourjahad,” presents between the gender of the author and the male perspective she presents. Doody suggests that masculine roles are centered as the main leads, which asserts the bold feminist modes Sheridan takes on from the start without having to drive deep within the text. The feminist critic Sheridan portrays is withered within the formation of her characters by electing dominant male leads with only inferior female roles, which enhances Doody’s position further by demonstrating the dominance that men had over women. The dominance of men is portrayed in Doody’s argument, not only by having precedence of the main characters, but also through power by excessively achieving one’s desire in the end. By stating, “It is noticeable that the excessively indulgent hero of the moral tale wins his true love,” Doody is implying that the male dominance prevails through the stereotype that men always get what they want. The desire of men, whether it is the desire for women or power, constantly shines though in the end as women lay at the will of men. Though Nourjahad has been subject to a sting operation, the theory that the desires of men are preeminent was resembled by Nourjahad’s appeared happiness. The burden of his immortality was alleviated by long periods of sleep and finally removed. Nourjahad would also be enviable by ultimately reuniting with his beloved Mandana, a woman so exquisitely charming that he wholeheartedly gave her the entire possession of his heart, as well as the caught the conscience of the king, becoming the Sultan Schemzeddin’s right-hand man. The happy ending to Nourjahad’s arduous tale only flares Doody’s argument of male supremacy; the happiness of man takes priority.
Nevertheless, Doody’s argument of masculine dominance and feminine subordination can be taken even further by labeling the society as patriarchal or that the world is dominated and ruled by men. The tale, “The History of Nourjahad,” can be read as a critique of patriarchy, as it questions the patriarchal gender image signified by Nourjahad’s male physical superiority, which is pushed to destructive extremes of violence against women. The male superiority is best depicted while Nourjahad, as Sheridan states, “indulge[s] himself with an unbounded freedom in his most voluptuous wishes” (36). He invents a “celestial masquerade,” where is ordered the women of his seraglio to pretend to be the houris, while he embodies Mahomet and Cadiga, his favorite mistress at the time, plays the wife of the great prophet. For this profane idea, Nourjahad falls into a deep sleep for forty years.