— Anuradha Rampersaud
For the final reading response, I chose to write and reflect on The Arabian Nights. The beginning of this story with the two Kings; Shahrayar and Shahzaman. I felt like I connected well with this story because of the turning of events between the Men and the Women, something that has been one of the main focus for me from the inception of this class.
In this story, the passage(s) that connected well with me is when King Shahrayar caught his wife in the arms of the Kitchen Boy, and the way he reacted to all of it when he visited his brother’s palace. I think in the other stories it is being portrayed that the men had to get married to women of status in order to gain fame or to be relevant in a sense. It was almost impossible to marry a commoner if a man wanted to rule the kingdom or become a King. Moreover, I felt like women were being used in a sense to fulfill the requirements of these men so that they can become powerful, and in return they have outside relationships with other women which had to be accepted by their wives, totally unfair. They could not have shown ways of being jealous or unhappy, because then their relationship would be in jeopardy. We read about this in The Tale of Genji.
In this tale, when the roles and actions were reversed, the men, in this case, King Shahrayar was not in acceptance of it. In fact, not only did he killed his wife, but he also killed the kitchen boy whom she was having the affair with. This proves my point which I have been supporting from the inception, the stories that are being written about these Kings and the men being powerful and famous could have only been possible with the help of the women. They are the real heroes. It is clear that men cannot equate to women in certain ways, they can’t be superior, and the couple passages at the beginning of this story supports that theory. What delighted me is that the women chose to be happy in their own ways. Yes, they had external relationships with other men, but that is because women also favor sexual pleasure which in most cases cannot be given by their husbands, since they are always running behind other women to upkeep their status in some ways, and always busy with ruling the Kingdom. I did wanted to know why King Shahzaman did not murder his wife earlier when he caught her in the act, instead he chose to leave his royal state and roam the world whereby he was forced to make love to another women.
This tale does not reflect aspects of my life, instead it does serve as a lens for analyzing the world and how women in general are perceived by Society. It always seems like it is okay for men to use women for their own sexual pleasure or merely just use them for status to earn a good name in the process, but when women decide to have an affair for their own sexual satisfaction, something that is real, that seem to be a grave problem, and they are usually condemned for it. For example, King Shahrayar continued his journey in this story by sleeping with different women every night and killing her the next day. This to me is absurd and brutal!
I do think that this story is a great work. The small stories combined in this tale fits perfectly in a sense, where they have the same structure. It wasn’t difficult to comprehend and portrayed a great sense of understanding. I was hooked to the story after reading the first few lines and I was invested after. This to me is a great work, when the story can capture the reader’s attention, and at the same time make you connect with it.