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 with***** 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 the harem like the one of ***** *****. These are (1) how did living within the boundaries of a *****, impact Fatima *****'s psychological development as an autonomous human being (*****, by association, that ***** ot***** harem children); (2) does a female ***** within the boundaries of a ***** harem seek to rebel more actively against harem rules, and authority in general, than would a ***** n***** raised ***** such *****; (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 *****, 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 ***** answer these questions, based on my reading ***** Mernissi's Dreams of Trespass.

***** Chapters 1 through ***** of Dreams of Trespass, ***** Mernissi speaks *****ten of the boundaries ***** life inside a harem 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 women, and put a sea between Muslims and Christians for a re*****son. Harmony exists w*****n each group respects the prescribed limits of the o*****r; trespassing leads only to sorrow and unhappiness. But ***** dreamed of ***** all the time. The world beyond the gate was *****ir obsession. They [emphasis fantasized all day long about parading in unfamiliar streets... [emphasis added] (pp. *****-2).

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

However, beyond *****, harem women seem to yearn for knowledge and understanding of the world beyond. That which remains mysterious, in fact, particularly when limits on 'trespassing" ***** ***** harem are strictly proscribed, grows more compelling to the imaginati***** ***** 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, ***** ***** for women, presents a dilemma between the safety and security ***** ***** freedom of the world outside.

Mernissi begins Chapter 3 ***** stating ***** "Our house gate was a definite hudud, or frontier, because you needed permission to step in or out" (p. 21).

Because of that boundary, safety inside was assured. Still, the allure of the unkno***** 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 sheep and endless fields


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