Explore how women are presented in Veronica and King Schahriar and his brother Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Veronica and King Schahriar and his brother are short stories which focus on two very different female characters. In King Schahriar and his brother, the strikingly beautiful and intelligent Scheherazade is a powerful, courageous woman who devises an ingenious scheme to help the girls of her kingdom escape the brutal grasp of the Sultan. Veronicaon the other hand, focuses on a more vulnerable, unambitious female character living in a poverty and war stricken village in Africa, isolated from the outside world.

Scheherazade in King Schahriar and his brother is portayed as being the perfect female figure. She is described as being beautiful beyond measure: her beauty excelled that of any girl in the kingdom of Persia. This impressive statement makes her seem exotic and creates a sense of wonder in the reader as the story is set in a mythical setting where one would imagine many enchanting women and yet she is seen as the most exquisite of all.

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The reader is told that she has the best masters in philosophy, medicine, history and the fine arts. Not only is she gorgeous but she is also very well educated! The use of superlatives such as having the best masters and being clever in the highest degree portray the high extent to which she has been educated and show what a powerful, dedicated and talented woman she is.

Scheherazade lives what may seem a very envious lifestyle. Being the daughter of the Grand-Vizier she has high status amongst her people and lives a rich life of luxury. She is also very much loved by her family: his eldest daughter, who was his delight and pride. Her father adores her and makes sure she has the best things in life, granting her the highest education and he values her greatly.

Unlike Scheherazade, Veronica is depicted by Okeke (her friend and narrator of the story) as being no great beauty. She is not very attractive compared to Scheherazade: she wears shabby clothes showing that she is poor and this makes her seem inferior to Scheherazade. We are aware of just how poor she is as she lives in a simple hut and later on in the story, Okeke says how bad the living conditions are-that the people in her village live in acute poverty and the place is crawling with disease. This personification of the village crawling with disease indicates just how helpless the villagers are against this silent, deadly killer and expresses the extreme poverty in which they live in. The reader may feel very sympathetic towards Veronica and view her as very unfortunate to live in such difficult and harsh conditions.

In contrast to Scheherazade being loved and cared for by her family, Veronica has been mistreated during her life. Okeke tells us that: her father was a brute, her mother was weak and she was the eldest child meaning that she was mostly responsible for bringing up her younger siblings from a very young age and consequently would not have had the time, money or chance to continue her education after standard 5. Okeke describes how he would lie awake listening to her screams. This emotive language creates sympathy in the reader towards Veronicas plight as an abused child.

Due to Veronicas lack of education and heavy responsibilities towards her family, she feels that she can never leave her village. She continually refuses Okekes offers to leave the village and complete her education as she is concerned about leaving her family behind and also does not see it as an option. She remains loyal to them even though she is beaten by her father and left to fend for herslelf most of the time, as well as for her mother and siblings. Her care and loyalty towards them is shown in her dialogue: I cant just leave my family. The reader might feel a sense of admiration towards Veronica here as we realise she is giving up her life in order to care for her family.

Even later on in the story when her parents and siblings are gone, and she now cares for husband and child, she still refuses to accept Okekes suggestion that she would be better off in the city . She has faced such hardship in the village and yet she doesnt complain or express any discomfort. She says to Okeke: Dont be sorry for me. We are managing, and God has blessed us with a son. Is that not enough?. In this dialogue Veronica indicates how the only thing she is focused on in life is her family and she believes that her only purpose in life is to care for them. As long as she is with her family, she is fullfilled-nothing else matters to her and she is admired by the reader for her dedication towards her family.

Scheherazade on the other hand is a confident and optimistic person. Unlike Veronica, she is very ambitious and wants to promote womens rights in her patriarchal country. Like Veronica is loyal to her family, Scheherazade is loyal and caring towards her people. She has high morals and knows of the Sultans barbaric actions, of marrying a new bride in the evening and killing her in the morning. Scheherazades loyalty is shown when she explains her plans to her father of offering to sacrifice herself to the Sultan. She tells him: If I fail, my death will be a glorious one, and if I succeed I shall have done a great service to my country. Her speech shows her great pride and patriotism. This dialogue further conveys her as being perfect and makes her seem a heroine as she is willing to risk her life for the good of the women in her kingdom.

Scheherazades stubborness is shown when she refuses to listen to her fathers protests and insists on her marrying the Sultan. The repetition of my father and will you grant me illustrates her strong will to pursue her plan and her determination to get what she wants. Veronica is also stubborn-she expresses this when she rejects Okekes offers to move into the city but she insists on staying in the village with her family.

Another similarity between Scheherazade and Veronica is that they are both very brave characters. Veronica is brave in the sense that she does not fear pain or death. After the war broke out in her village and her child and husband had passed away she had nothing worth living for and wanted to die too. Once again she refuses Okekes offer to help her and tells him to leave her in peace: I dont want to live you hear? Now that I have seen you I am happy. Go, and leave me in peace. This emotional dialogue once again creates sympathy towards Veronica and shows her vulnerability. A sense of awe is felt towards her willingless to die and the reader may almost feel relieved at her passing, as she is finally escaping her tortured life.

Scheherazade is also fearless of death. She has confidence in her plans to overthrow the Sultan, but she realises that she is taking risks and her failure may lead to her death. She is not afraid of the consequences however and is honoured to carry out her plan: I implore you, by all the affection you bear me, to allow the honour to fall upon me. Speaking in this elevated, polite tone to her father, the reader may admire her confidence and determination to be granted the permission from her father to sacrifice herself. The fact that she is honoured to do this for her country again makes her seem like a true heroine.

In conclusion Veronica and Scheherazade are more different than alike, but they are both two women to be admired. They both have high morals and are very loyal and caring towards their families and the people around them. The woman who I admire the most however is Veronica because of her devotion towards her family. She accepts her fate and does not consider herself unlucky to be living in such poverty-she only values the fact that she has family to care for and truly gives herself up for them.

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