Amina's Love In 'A Mahfouz'

Submitted By 14tr
Words: 960
Pages: 4

Amina’s devotion in Mahfouz’s story takes on mythical proportions. She not only waits up every night for her husband to return from his drinking excesses, but is up ever morning to make sure breakfast is served firstly for her husband, and then for her children. Amina interrupts her sleep so that she can be awake to undress, bathe and care for her authoritarian husband. The devotion seems even more dedicated when we learn that Ahmed rarely has a good word to say to her, or any of his children. In many ways, Ahmed’s personality is split between the strict patriarchal figure he displays at home, and the joyful, witty and sociable side he displays with his friends. Ahmad’s tyranny at home gives a mixed response of awe and fear from his wife and family. Yet Amina remains devoted, in spite of the knowledge that she is only second best in her husband’s life. Mahfouz makes it clear that the sense of duty stems not only from Amina’s love, but also from her deep routed faith. She has never known better, and cannot permit herself to follow the frivolous and secular ways of her husband. This was an Egypt where traditional values are being weakened by foreign occupation. Yet, figures like Amina and Sheikh Mutawalli (the wise and faithful man that visits Ahmad in his shop) represent a strong cultural and religious presence. Perhaps the most unjust thing that can happen to Amina is to be banished from her home after disobeying her husband’s orders to leave the house. At her mother’s, she can no longer look after her husband’s household and the welfare of her children, which is many ways are her only reasons to live. Khaled Husseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns also reveals a very devoted being in the figure of Mariam. Mariam’s dedication is displayed very early on in her care for her mother. Nana is a single mother, with Mariam as an illegitimate child. In her early life as she puts up with Nana’s feelings of deep injustice and abandonment at the hands of men, especially Jalil, who fathered and then betrayed her only child. Yet, like every child, Mariam longs for a carefree existence, an existence that she immediately links with her father and his household. It is as a result of Mariam neglecting her duties to her mother, and leaving her home that Nana takes her own life, leasing a lasting impression of guilt in her child. Even though Mariam is inconsolable and has lost her mother, her father plans to marry her off to a friend of his names Rasheed, a shoemaker 600 miles away in Kabul. Again, Amina displays great levels of devotion and dedication, even though she finds her husband physically repulsive. The match is also not helped by the immense difference in age. She dutifully cleans the house and prepares the evening meals even though Rasheed, understandably upset by Mariam’s frequent miscarriages soon finds fault with everything she does. It is as his dutiful wife that Mariam eventually bears the insult of Rasheed, taking a second wife in the person of Laila. Mariam’s duty and devotion is reflected in the care she takes over nursing Laila back to health. This is a result of Rasheed’s violence and anger that the two women build an unforgettable friendship bound by devotion, love and sacrifice. It is almost as an act of devotion to Laila and her children’s future happiness that pushes Mariam to commit the faithful act of killing Rasheed with a shovel. Mariam is devoted