The level of efficiency of a literary work does not depend solely on the story, but also on the context of that specific stories. Some stories are only powerful when they are set in a specific context, otherwise they would reach the effect that was wanted. This is exactly the case with Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Sadaawi, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
The Crucible is set in a historical time different then that of the author and the reader. In the 17th century people thought in different manners, and believed in different things, in this case witchcraft. If the work wasn’t set in this context it could not have been so effective since because witch trials are no longer present, and the whole story would be meaningless.
Culturally it is important what people think, what and who people believe in. In the culture of Salem all the citizens were highly religious, and questioned everything not related to religion and beliefs. This is why they believed the girls when they were saying that the good spirits in their souls can detect the evil ones in other people, and never thought, even for a second, to question them.
In a social sense this society was ideal, and perfect for the story. Their beliefs and their actions helped the development of the witch trials. In a smaller society the news of witch hunt would not have had been so important for other larger cities, then it was in the case of Salem.
Albeit Woman at Point Zero is set in the same time period as the reader is, historically it recalls earlier version of European society, when women were ruled by men, as it is in the Arabian society in the present. This means that although it is hard to understand for someone living in a European society, if it was set in this society and the reappearance of an old historical period.
The Egyptian culture is different then almost every outside of the Arab area, but it is necessary to make this work meaningful and powerful. It is clearly started from the beginning of the text that the men are always in charge, and never let the women make their own decisions. This only makes sense in a culture where it is the norm. In other areas it would be meaningless, which is why culture is extremely important.
In conclusion it can be seen that story is not the only thing that make a work enjoyable and understandable, but also it’s context. Without them the whole book would become meaningless and no one would be able to make sense of it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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