A Contested Space

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Douglas, Chas
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2019-04-25
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A Contested Space
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This paper attempts to define the Arabic term harem, using representations from Ahdaf Soueif’s novel The Map of Love and Fatima Mernissi’s memoir Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, plus visual renditions by John Frederick Lewis. While presenting the harem as positive space, both The Map of Love and Lewis’s paintings conclude that the harem is place of peace, tranquility, and content. Yet, Dreams of Trespass offers more than one representation that conflicts with The Map of Love and Lewis’s paintings: A representation of a negative nature and the other, of a neutral nature. Through the exploration of multiple representations of the harem, this research paper concludes that the harem is a contested space.
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