Asian literature

There are times in life when one feels as if there is no way out of a situation.  They feel helpless, and have lost hope in their life entirely.  Situations like these are what lead to suicide as a way of escape from their problems.  In Afghanistan women are very oppressed and treated in a very cruel way by their government and their family. In order to escape this oppression the women set themselves on fire using lighter fluid and a match.  For women in Afghanistan they have no release from their family.  They cannot runaway in order to escape the cruelty so they must endure this hardship.  The NY Times article states, “Returned runaways are often shot or stabbed in honor killings because the families fear they have spent time unchaperoned with a man.”

The situation is similar the environment during the time of The Pillowbook written by Sei Shonagon.  During this time women were not given the freedom to express themselves and were oppressed just as present day Afghanistan.  By writing The Pillowbook, Shonagon found her outlet to express herself in a oppressive society.  Although less harmful than burning yourself, society still condemned the act which is why her diary was not meant to be public nor did she wish for it to be. She says, “when I have a good deal of time to myself and thought no one would notice what I was doing.” (p 258)

Women during both of these times are oppressed and restricted from expression.  However, it is impossible to keep feeling bottled up inside forever and so when the feelings must come out, they can either be done in a very harmful way such as suicide or in a constructive way such as writing a diary.

Fiery way out

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30 Responses to Asian literature

  1. Esther Allen says:

    A very nice and perceptive conclusion. Sei Shonagon is also of a different class than the women described in the article; she writes when she has time to herself, while the Afghan women clearly never have any time to themselves.

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