In Woman at Point Zero, why do you think Firdaus no longer knows her mother?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down.  I would suggest that Firdaus no longer recognizes her mother as a result of the witnessing the abuse her mother endures at the hands of her father.  For Firdaus, the retelling of her mother's abuse helps to bring out not only a negation of feminine identity, but also the logical contradiction that exists in being a woman in Egyptian society.  For Firdaus, she makes a special note that her father can be a devout follower of Islam on one hand and then on the other hand become a violent abuser of his wife. In looking at her mother, Firdaus cannot receive an answer as to why this predicament exists, why it is tolerated, and why this condition of negation in being a woman is something that is so embedded in a society that Firdaus herself will enter.  It is this particular condition in which Firdaus is unable to recognize her mother.  It's almost as if Firdaus, as a child, sees her mother as the first of a long and mournful procession of women throughout the narrative whose voice will be negated, whose metaphorical throats will be slit at the hands of men and a patriarchal society.  It is in this where Firdaus does not recognize her mother as anything more than part of a sad sequence of which Firdaus herself does not wish to be a part.

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