Different Portrayals of Women

After completing this second section, the portrayal of women in She seems to have changed from our first reading. Initially I was under the impression that the Amahagger had great respect for women, since they described them as being on an equal level with men in the first section: “…women among the Amahagger are not only upon terms of perfect equality with the men, but are not held to them by any binding ties” (79). I agree with Laura, who explains how she was also impressed with the respect given to women in the first part, but is now left questioning the future of She‘s leadership.

Also, the women are the ones that choose who they can be married to which appears especially unusual to Holly and Job. In the first section we read, the narrator Holly views women in a lower way than the Amahagger men and is almost afraid of their effect on Leo and has anxiety about losing him to women.

The second section we read starts off with a description of women so different from the first section, that I was left confused as to how the Amahagger people placed women in society. Firstly, the woman who was in charge of caressing Mohammad before the tribe killed him is seen as devilish and savage, yet still with a position of power in the tribe (since she was the one who planned the murder). The next reference to women in the tribe in this section is Billali muttering under his breath when he thinks Holly is asleep, saying “ ‘Mistrust all men and slay him whom thou mistrustest overmuch; and for women, flee from them, for they are evil, and in the end will destroy thee.’ It is a good proverb, especially the last part of it…”(103). This shows another reference to women being in power over men and similarly to their great ruler She, elicits fear in them.  Finally, Billali explains how the men worship women until they become “unbearable” at which point they “kill the old ones as an example to the young ones, and to show them that we are the strongest” (107). It seems like the Amahagger men are so threatened by women and the power that they hold over the other sex, that they find any way to assert their power without upsetting She.  I initially thought Haggard was portraying the Amahagger people as more advanced on one level than those living in the British Empire for placing women on an equal level as men, however after this section of reading I’m unsure of where they really stand in society.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *