Spinsterization of Women or Spinster Women in the Arab Women’s Literature: An Imposed Reality or a Rejected Choice? Hayfā’ Bayṭār’s Novel, Nisā’ bi Aqfāl/Women in Locks1, as a Sample

Hanan Bishara


In my opinion, the art of the novel is an invented female art. It is a product of the hidden depths and interiors of the woman’s suffering. “Every woman is pregnant of her ‘novel’ as one critic argued and therefore, she does not see it necessary to write it on paper as long as she lives sit. The woman is a creator and an artist in her nature and it is sufficient for us to say the mistress of narrators is a woman called Scheherazade, who is the mistress of the tales the Arab nights, namely, Alf Laila wa Laila. What proves my view strongly is the historical error that literary historians and critics committed when they argued that the author of Alf Laila wa Laila is an ‘anonymous author’ instead of analyzing it stylistically in order to understand that its author is an ‘anonymous woman’ who could not put her name on the tales under a religious oppressive culture that is full of taboos. In my opinion, Hayfā’ Bayṭār is the mistress of female narration in her search of ‘lost freedom’. Nothing was left for the woman through which she could achieve her existence except talking and writing, after she had been raped physically and spiritually. In my opinion, the novel of this study, Nisā’ bi Aqfāl/Women in Locks is a novel of yearning for freedom for the women who live under norms and traditions that escalate with the escalation of extremism and fanatism, and suppression of the prohibited trilogy of religion, sex and politics. The man managed to imprison the woman and captivate her with his taboos behind invisible bars that made her live in an exile, and alienation within her homeland. Like Scheherazade, she can either talk or die, and ‘death’ here is in a memory that rapes one’s soul as the body is raped. By the written ‘word’, she exposes ‘rape’ and protests against injustice, and by self-revelation, the woman’s presence overcomes her absence. Writing is a medical instrumentality that grants the woman liberation, emancipation, and purification with which, she reveals the psychological accumulations and piled bitter memories, and denude a reality which resembles a play that is repeated on the ears of history and its thresholds.


Spinsterhood, Taboos, The Penis-man, Unconsciousness and Insensitivity, Sado-Masochism, Hellish Circle, Projectional Raping Manoeuvere

Full Text:



Abdalla, ʿAbd al-Munʿem ʿUthman (2005). Al-ʿUnusa: Asbabuha wa Atharuha wa ʿIlajuha. 1st ed. Cairo: Dar al-Afaq al- ʿArabiya. P. 34.

Ādel, Fawzi (1989-1990). Formation in du Lien Conjugal et Modeles Familiaux. Universite de Paris. P. 2.

Adler, Alfred (2005). Al- Ṭabiʿah al-Bashariya. Tr. by Bushra Najib. 1st ed. Cairo: al-Majlis al- ʿAla li al-Thaqafa. P. 80-83.

Āgbāl, Ḥuriya (2007). "Waqiʿ al-ʿUnusa fi al-Mujtamaʿ al-Jazaʾeri", An M.A. Thesis. The Faculty of Humanities. Algeria. P. 68

Al-ʿIraqi, Buthayna (2008). Al-ʿUnusa Makhater wa Asrar. Amman: Dar Alfa li al-Nashr wa al-Tawziʿ. P. 119-120.

Al-Thaʿālibi, ʿAbd al-Mālik Abu Mansour (2000). Fiqh al-Lugha wa Asrar al-ʿArabiya. 2nd ed. Beirut: al-Maktaba al-ʿAssriya. P. 111.

Al-Zayūd, Majed (2006). Al-Shabab wa al-Qiyam fi Ālam Mutaghayer. 1st ed. Amman: Dar al-Shuruq li al-Nashr wa al-Tawziʿ. P. 120.

Bin ʿIssa, Amāl (2008). Ḍaherat al-ʿUnusa fi al-Jazaʾer. Algeria: al-Belaida University. P. 7.

Bayṭār', Hayfā’ (2008). Nisā’ bi Aqfāl. Algeria: al-Dar al-ʿArabiya li al-ʿUlūm. Manshurat al-Ikhtilaf. P. 57.

Borobi, Shams Al-Din (1998). Tanis al-ʿAwanis, Dalaʾil al-Khayrat li al-Sawtiya wa al-Marʾiyat. 1st ed. Algeria. P. 154.

Fawzi, ʿAdel (19980-1990). Formation in du Lien Conjugal et Modeles Familiaux. Universite de Paris.

Frehat, Mariam Jaber (1995). Shakhṣiyat al-Marʾah fi al-Qiṣa al-Qaṣira fi al-ʾUrdon. Irbid: Dar al-Kindi. P.47.

Freud, Sigmund (2006). ʿIlm al-Nafs al-Jamāhīri wa Tahlīl al-ʾAna. 1st ed. Tr. George Tarabishi. Beirut: Dar al-Taliʿa li al-Tibʿa wa al-Nashr. P. 99.

Ibn Manzur, Mohammad (1955-1956). Lisan al-ʿArab. Vol. 12. Part 6. Beirut: Dar Sader. P. 149.

Jaballa, Yamina & al-Hashimi, Lukya (2007). "Maʿna al-Haya wa ʿAlaqatuha bi al-Ihtiraq al-Nafsi lada al-Marʾa al-Amila al-ʿĀnis. An M.A. Thesis. University of Baskara. Algeria. P. 45.

Jaber, Samia (1990). Al-Fikr al-Ijtimaʿi. Alexandria: Dar al-Maʿrefa al Jamiʿiya. P. 187.

Maʿtuq, Frederick (1993). Muʿjam al-ʿUlum al-Ijtimaʿiya. Beirut: Academia. P. 59.

Maʿtuq, Jamal (2020). Madkhal Sociologia al-ʿUnf wa al-'Ilm al-Jina'i. 1st ed. Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al- Ḥadith. P. 316.

Mitchel, Yankin (1986). Muʿjam ʿIlm al-Ijtimaʿ. Tr. by Ihsan Mohammad al-Ḥasan. Beirut: Dar al-Taliʿa. p. 73.

Roland Doron, Bareau Francoise (1996). Mawsuʿat ʿlm al-Nafs. Vol.1, Beirut: Manshurat ʿUweidat.

Saʿdo, Ḥuriya (2011), "Waqiʿ al-ʿUzuba al-Nasawiya in Algeria". A thesis submitted as partial fulfillment for her Ph.D. degree in Family Social Sciences P. 39.

Sontag, Susan (1966). Against Interpretation. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. http://nadyelfikr.net

Sulaymani, ʿAlāʾ (1997). "ʿAlamat al-Waṣm wa Nataʾijuhu fi Mintaqat Makka al-Mukarramah". An M.A. Thesis. Al-Zaqaziq University. Cairo: p. 38-41.

ʾUbeid, Mansur al-Rifaʾi (2000). Al-ʾUnusa Ruʾya Ijtimaʾiya li Hall Mushkilat al-Fatah al-ʾĀnis. 1st ed. Cairo: Dar Fikr ʾArabi. P. 7.http://nadyelfikr.net .

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.10n.4p.61


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.