Essay - Dreams of Trespass Effects of Physical and Psychological Boundaries in...

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Dreams of Trespass

***** of Physical and Psychological Boundaries in Fatima Mernissi's Dreams of Trespass

***** her memoir Dreams ***** Trespass (1994) Fatima Mernissi recalls her cloistered childhood within the walls of a modern-day harem in Fez, Morocco. In read*****g this *****, several key questions come to mind, having to do especially with issues ***** boundaries, physical and psychological within ***** harem like the one of ***** *****. These are (1) how did living ***** ***** ***** of a *****, impact Fatima *****'s psychological development as an autonomous human being (*****, by *****sociation, that of ot***** h*****m children); (2) does a female ***** within the boundaries of a ***** h*****rem seek to rebel more actively against harem rules, and authority in general, than would a ***** not raised ***** such boundaries; (3) ***** ***** harem life inflect one's perception(s) and underst*****ing ***** the world outside; and (4) why do harems survive, and in some instances thrive, in some parts of the world, while in other parts of the world, ********** are rare, if not extinct? Within this essay, I will explicate several chapters of the text, and then try to answer these questions, based on my reading of Mernissi's Dreams of Trespass.

***** Chapters 1 through ***** of ***** of *****, ***** Mernissi speaks often of the boundaries of life inside a h*****rem in Fez, Morocco, where she was born ***** 1940, and spent her formative years. As Mernissi states at the beginning of Chapter 1, for example:

When Allah created the earth, said fa*****r, he separated men from wo*****, and put a sea between Muslims and Christians for a re*****son. Harmony exists when each group respects the prescribed limits ***** the other; trespassing leads only to sorrow and unhappiness. But women dreamed of trespassing all the time. The world beyond the gate was their obsession. They [emphasis fantasized ***** day long about parading in unfamiliar streets... [***** added] (pp. *****-2).

Moreover, as Mernissi recalls, childhood "***** happy because the frontiers were crystal clear" (p. 3).

However, beyond *****, harem ***** seem to yearn for knowledge and understanding of ***** world *****. That which remains mysterious, in fact, particularly ***** ***** on 'trespassing" beyond the ***** are strictly proscribed, grows more compelling to the imagination ***** more it is forbidden or off-lim*****s. Mernissi's mother, for *****, yearns to walk the streets of Fez, alone, in ***** early morning hours, just to know what this is like. Clearly, harem life for women, presents a dilemma between the safety and security and the freedom of the world outside.

Mernissi begins Chapter ***** ***** stating that "Our house gate was a definite hudud, or frontier, because you needed permission to step in or out" (p. 21).

***** of that boundary, safety inside was assured. Still, ***** allure of the un*****n world beckons. And not all women, even close family members, are as constrained. Grand***** Yasmina, for example, ***** author's maternal grandmother, "lived on a beautiful farm with cows and *****ep ***** endless fields


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