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

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Dreams of Trespass

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

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

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

When Allah created ***** earth, said father, he separated men from wo*****, and put a sea between Muslims and Christians for a reason. Harmony exists when each group respects the prescribed limits of ***** other; trespassing leads only ***** sorrow and unhappiness. But women dreamed of ***** all the time. The world beyond the gate was their obsession. They [emphasis fantasized ***** day long about parading in unfamiliar streets... [***** added] (pp. 1-2).

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

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

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

***** of that boundary, safety inside was assured. Still, ***** allure of the un*****n w*****ld beckons. And ***** all women, even close family members, are as constrained. Grand***** Yasmina, for example, the author's maternal grandmother, "lived on a beautiful farm with cows and *****ep ***** endless fields


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