Early life[ edit ] The second-eldest of nine children, Saadawi was born in in the small village of Kafr Tahla. He was relatively progressive and taught his daughter self-respect and to speak her mind. He also encouraged her to study the Arabic language. Both her parents died at a young age,  leaving Saadawi with the sole burden of providing for a large family. That year, she married Ahmed Helmi, whom she met as a fellow student in medical school.
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This story is a commentary on female oppression in patriarchal Islamic societies. While there may still be some places where there is still work to do, American women are provided with the same rights to vote, express opinions, and participate in a fair justice system as their male counterparts. Story Summary and Analysis The story is told in a third person stream of consciousness narration style. When the justices move to a closed session, the narrator records their dialogue. The setting is not specific, but rather is an unspecified Middle Eastern country.
As the trial begins, Leila hardly recognizes her own name and seems unaware of what is fully happening in court after having spent 4 months in a cell where she was treated like an animal, forced to sleep in a standing position, and gang-raped by 10 men while awaiting her day in court. Instead, she focuses on how good it feels to be in a sitting position and the intense pelvic pain from the rapes.
Further, she imagines how she has disappointed her parents, even though the crowd cheers her comment about the leader. From birth, Leila was made to feel as if she was a disappointment because she was not born male or pretty.
In the end, Leila was returned to her cage as the entire spectacle was never intended to be a fair hearing. The judges go into closed chamber and the focus turns on the justice who repeated what Leila said, thereby giving public credence to what everyone already says about him behind closed doors.
Up until that time, Egypt was under British rule. The laws were based on western philosophies. After England withdrew, with the support of the United States as their major ally, Egypt became an independent nation ruled by an authoritarian government that does not recognize the basic human rights of all people. Leila becomes acutely aware at a young age that her gender will always create barriers for her. She remembers when she was very young that an aunt was forced to return to the husband who beat her because she refused to strip in the court room so a judge could examine her body.
First of all, she doubts that she may not have even been arrested if she were a man who made an off-handed comment about a government leader. Girls of your age think only about marriage.
Being a woman who states her opinion brings both shame to Leila and to her family.
Nawal El Saadawi
El Saadawi's In Camera: Analysis & Interpretation