What are the important quotes in Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley that represent feminism ?

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In his novel Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz depicts a world in women are objectified by the male gaze. The beautiful character Hamida is represented as being a magnet for male attention: “Hamida set out, wrapping her cloak around her and listening to the clack of her shoes on the...

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In his novel Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz depicts a world in women are objectified by the male gaze. The beautiful character Hamida is represented as being a magnet for male attention: “Hamida set out, wrapping her cloak around her and listening to the clack of her shoes on the stairs as she made her way to the street. She walked slowly conscious of both her gait and her appearance, for she was aware that four eyes we're examining her closely." Notably, Hamida is acutely conscious of her own body even before she goes out on the street. But once she is out on the street, she is conscious not only of her own body but of how her body is appearing to the two men who are watching her. Mahfouz objectifies the male gaze by reducing the men who are watching Hamida to "four eyes," which may be read as an implicitly feminist critique of objectification.

When the character Hussain finds out about Hamida's encounters with men, he demands that Abbas murder Hamida, asking, “Why didn’t you murder her? If I were in your position, I wouldn’t have hesitated a minute." The causal nature of this conversation echoes the idea of honor killings, and the cheapening of women's lives relative to the demands of male honor. Ultimately, Mahfouz makes his points about women's lives subtly rather than didactically.

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In creating a strong female protagonist in the character of Hamida, Nahguib Mahfouz apparently supports a feminist perspective on Egyptian society. Some critics have contended that he endorses traditional patriarchal values and portrays women’s efforts to overcome them primarily by showing them as over-sexualized and the objects of male desire. Hamida expresses her rejection of traditional values in several ways. When she reaches the age of 20, her adoptive mother encourages her to think about her future marital prospects. Hamida declares her intention to resist the traditional path.

The girl cast her [mother] a furious look and said sharply, “I’m not running after marriage. It’s running after me, and I’m going to turn down lots.”

Other female characters as well are shown as earning their own living, sometimes as widows and sometimes through rejecting marriage. Hamida’s family’s landlady is an example of the former, who comes to prefer widowhood.

In her youth, Mistress Saniya Afifi had been married to owner of a perfume shop but the marriage had not been destined to succeed. The man had treated her badly, made her life hell, stolen her money, and then ten years ago, left her a widow, and so she had remained through all the intervening years because she hated, as she said, married life….

She had …been delighted to regain her freedom and security, and she had for many years shied away from marriage and enjoyed her freedom.

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Chapter two of Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley contains many quotes which illustrate feminism (the support of women's rights based upon political, social, and economic equality to men). 

Perhaps the most commonly said thing about her [Hamida] was that she hated children and that this unnatural trait made her wild and totally lacking in the virtues of femininity.

This quote illustrates the idea that Hamida does not depict the typical female. She is characterized as one who desires power, influence, and money.  

The luxurious clothes stirred in her greedy and ambitious mind bewitching dreams of power and influence. Anyone could have told her that her yearning for power centered on her love for money.

Hamida is characterized as a woman who wishes for power and money, not to be tied down by "suckling children." In all ways, Hamida contrasts the typical idea of what an Egyptian woman should act and be like. 

The quotes above illustrate that Hamida does not wish for the typical life of an Egyptian woman. She does not wish to live under the control of a "tyrannical husband." She desires more in life than taking care of children and possessing the "virtues of femininity." 

Hamida's death in the end, at the hands of the soldiers, proves illustrative of what may happen to woman who try to go against what society defines as expected of women. 

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