How is the male domination and female impotence presented in In the Country of Men?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Country of Men by Hisham Matar reveals the dominance of men and the impotence of women through the relations of Suleiman's mother to his father and to him. When the father is present, his mother, Um Suleiman (also Najwa) is very attentive to and helpful toward him but, when he is away on long trips, she indulges in drunken nights as a release from the oppression she feels. Further, during these drunken nights, she tells her son the stories about how her marriage to Faraj Bu Suleiman el-Dewani, her husband and Suleiman's father, was a forced arranged marriage because she was being punished for speaking with a boy in a coffee shop. In addition, when el-Dewani leaves on trips, he puts the other man in the house in charge regardless of the fact that the other man is a nine boy and the son of his mother. These relationships and their details demonstrate that Najwa is impotent to effect any events in her life and that the men are dominant.