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

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

***** Chapters 1 through ***** of ***** of Trespass, ***** Mernissi speaks often of the boundaries ***** life inside a h*****rem in Fez, *****, where she was born ***** 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 ***** ***** other; trespassing leads only to sorrow and unhappiness. But women 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).

*****, as Mernissi rec*****s, ***** "***** ha*****y because the frontiers were crystal clear" (p. 3).

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

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

Because 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 *****, the author's maternal grandmother, "lived on a beautiful farm with cows and *****ep ***** endless fields


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