Monday, August 6, 2012

A Review of Fountain- A story in Echoes from the Other Land

Fountain - Echoes From the Other Land

The Following is an essay that is based on the story 'Fountain' by Ava Homa.

By:Demet G.

There are many people that do not know how to read or write in this century. However, the important aspect of our lives is to be aware of what is going around the world that we live in and understand the different circumstances that people are faced with. We do not understand the fact that not every individual has the same opportunities as each other. We judge people according to appearance and skills but do not bother to get to know them to understand the underlying stories behind their actions. When we see a woman who does not know how to read or write we come across with the thought of “Is it still possible that people do not know how to read or write?”- the answer is yes. Unfortunately, it is still possible for women to have a lack of education due to cultural beliefs. In this instance, women are the ones who want to get educated but they cannot due to religious groups that they may belong to. Fountain by Ava Homa is a story based on a girl –Anis- who moved to Tehran to get educated leaving her fiancé behind who was arranged by her father. This story emphasizes what women have to face and experience obstacles because of being a women and striving for their own rights. The regime of men who have the power is an obstacle for Middle Eastern women who lack their own rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to dress according to their likes/dislikes and also freedom of the right to be educated. Thus, Anis is being oppressed by her husband Ali because of her higher education where she is treated like a property not a human being.

The story takes place in Tehran where everything is restricted for women where they cannot show their hair, they have dressing rules, hygiene restrictions such as make up and especially the fact that they cannot oppose the opinions and/or decisions that are made by men. In the story Fountain, Ali who is one of the main characters shows his power through controlling Anis in many ways. He uses his powers to deny the higher education that Anis is going to have. Anis who is a Middle Eastern woman is restricted in different ways regarding her abilities and success. Even though she left her fiancé and came to Tehran to study, she found herself to be a property of another man in Tehran. This includes the denial of her education and her ability to work and earn money. As mentioned above, this shows the idea of treating women as a property not as a wife and/or a human being.

The dialogues between Anis and Ali are a major indicator of oppression. For example, when Ali told Anis to find the bank passbook, it was written in a way that he was not asking for a favor but instead he was ordering her to ‘find it’. Another example would be how Ali complained about dishes being everywhere and how Anis supposed to be the one who is responsible for knowing where what is and to keep the house clean. This dialogue indicates that there are specific gender roles that need to be followed by Anis within this oppressive society. Thus, with all this controlling behaviour and not being able to express their own thoughts is a major factor for women being affected by living in an oppressive society. As a result of this oppression, it leaves a mark within a woman where it prevents them from creating their own dreams and reaching for them. However, in this case Anis is different in a way that she has dreams even though she has an oppressive husband. Also being controlled at all times causes women to have one restricted view and that is the fact that men have the power. When women see only one perspective and they approve what the men say at all times and from these experiences whatever happens is not forgotten by women because they are the ones who suffer through the regime of men having the power. Again, Anis sees differently and thus she is able to stand up for her rights and overcome the obstacles to achieve her dreams.

Since the oppressive society leaves women with unforgettable experiences it is all about how this affects their health psychologically, emotionally, mentally and physically. In Fountain, the symbol of pink pill is an indicator of a health issue that Anis has because of being oppressed by her husband. This leads readers to find out that she has been getting headaches where she ties her headscarf tightly whenever her head ached. The idea of her having frequent headaches provides readers with the understanding of how she has been tired of being oppressed with everything that she has or wants. Again, this is tied to education where Ali did not want her to upgrade her knowledge and skills by thinking of preventing her from going and submitting her program at first. Many women in Middle Eastern countries are not able to read or write but Anis is capable of striving for her PhD. The headscarf that she ties on her head is another symbol of how Anis is restricted on how she dresses and also puts on makeup. The headscarf is used by Anis to prevent men other than her husband seeing her hair and this is how Ali makes sure that no one beside him sees his wife’s hair. Another example, in the book when Ali and Esi were talking they saw a woman with pink headscarf with pink lipstick and they were talking about how she will get arrested because of dressing inappropriately according to the Islamic dress code. Thus, this is another way of women being oppressed by having a dress code where they have to follow or else they will be arrested and will be tortured for not obeying the rules.

When Ali tried to prevent Anis from submitting her program, he realized his love and let Anis go. The moment she left home to submit her program, the falcon and the flower pot dropped from the balcony. In this case in my opinion, falcon represents the future and the freedom that Anis will get from leaving Ali. Falcon is a bird that most animals are afraid of, thus this represents the power that Anis will be provided by upgrading her education. His unemployment status and education allowed him to be unsure about his position as a man and this is represented where he started talking to his friend Esi about how he does not use her money and he uses his own money. As a result, since Ali is unsure of his position he starts to fear more about losing the power that he has over Anis.

The mood of the story is depressing in a way that the readers come across with different ways of promoting women to be a property of men and not as a human being. It also shows what Middle Eastern women have to go through daily to survive within an oppressive society. However, understanding the story requires critical thinking and questioning what happened and the underlying causes that affected their certain behaviours. Such as having an ending that requires readers to think and use imagination to continue the story in their minds. This is an effective way of writing in a way that allows individuals to keep on thinking of the story and analyzing it to come up with their own ending to the story. Also, the mood of the story affects the continuation of the story in the readers mind. Even though, the ending of this story requires readers to continue to think about the story, the mood has an affect on their mind and how they shape the continuation of the story. In my opinion, the ending of this story is not an end; instead it is a new beginning for Anis by upgrading her education will be able to escape this oppressive society.

In conclusion, this story is an example of the obstacles and circumstances that Middle Eastern women face every single day of their lives. Also, it is a good example of women such as Anis, who strive for their own rights. We can conclude that every aspect of ones’ life affects their future and their ability to strive for their own rights. Anis was able to strive for her education thus, the falcon – Anis – has the power that Ali is afraid of.

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