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 of Trespass (1994) Fatima Mernissi recalls her cloistered childhood with***** 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 ***** boundaries, physical and psychological within the harem like the one of *****'s *****. These are (1) how did living within ***** ***** ***** a *****, impact Fatima Mernissi's psychological development as an au*****nomous human being (and, by *****sociation, that of ot***** h*****m children); (2) does a female ***** within the boundaries of a ***** harem seek to rebel more actively against ***** rules, and authority in general, than would a ***** not raised ***** such boundaries; (3) how ***** harem life inflect one's perception(s) and understanding to the world outside; and (4) why do harems survive, and in some instances thrive, in some parts of the *****, while in other parts ***** the world, ********** are rare, if not extinct? 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, Fatima Mernissi speaks often of the boundaries of life inside a h*****rem in Fez, Morocco, 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 women, and put a sea between Muslims and Christians for a re*****son. Harmony exists w*****n each group respects the prescribed limits of ***** other; trespassing leads only to sorrow and unhappiness. But ***** dreamed of trespassing all the time. The world beyond the gate was their obsession. They [emphasis fantasized all day long about parading in unfamiliar streets... [emphasis added] (pp. *****-2).

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

However, beyond childhood, harem women seem to yearn for knowledge and understanding of the world *****. That which remains **********, in fact, particularly when ***** on 'trespassing" bey*****d the harem are strictly proscribed, grows ***** compelling to the imagination ***** more it is forbidden or off-lim*****s. *****'s mother, for example, *****s 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 ***** safety and security and the freedom of the world outside.

Mernissi begins Chapter ***** by stating ***** "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 unkno***** w*****ld beckons. And ***** all women, even close family members, are as constrained. Gr********** Yasmina, ***** example, ***** author's maternal grandmother, "lived on a beautiful farm with cows and sheep and endless fields

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