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

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Dreams of Trespass

Effects ***** 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 the harem like the one of ***** childhood. These are (1) how did living within ***** boundaries of a h*****m, impact Fatima *****'s psychological development as an autonomous human being (and, by *****sociation, that of other harem children); (2) does a female ***** within the boundaries of a modern-d*****y harem seek to rebel more actively against ***** rules, and authority in general, than would a female not raised within such *****; (3) ***** does 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 world, while in ***** parts ***** the world, they 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 ***** Trespass, Fatima Mernissi speaks often of the boundaries of ***** inside a harem 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 women, and put a sea between Muslims and Christians for a reason. Harmony exists w*****n each group respects the prescribed limits of ***** other; 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. 1-2).

*****, as Mernissi recalls, childhood "was ha*****y because the frontiers were crystal clear" (p. 3).

However, beyond childhood, harem women seem to yearn for knowledge and understanding ***** the ***** *****. That which remains mysterious, in fact, particularly when limits on 'trespassing" bey*****d the harem are strictly proscribed, grows more compelling to the imagination the more it is forbidden or off-lim*****s. Mernissi's mo*****r, for *****, yearns to walk the streets of Fez, alone, in ***** 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 ***** 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 unkno***** world beckons. And not all women, even close family members, are as constrained. Grandmother Yasmina, for example, the author's maternal grandmother, "lived on a beautiful farm with cows and *****ep and endless fields


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