Alifa Raat’s “Another Evening by the Club,” tells the story of a couple, Samia and Bey. Samia was born into a low-income family, but her father was able to find her a rich husband to marry because of her appearance. “As of today, she’ll be living at home in preparation for your happier life together, Allah willing.” (A total of 256). She is, though, a naive woman who just does what she is told. Her thinking is limited, and her visibility is inadequate. The plot starts as Samia misplaces a ring given to her by her ex-boyfriend. On that day, they went to drink, came back, and she removed all the jewelry out of her body. After she is lost, the house cleaner has to take responsibility because of suspicion. A day later, she finds the ring, convinces the husband to bring back the house cleaner, but he refuses. Samia’s thoughts change at that time, as she notices the little respect she has for her husband. These events role out as it becomes apparent how little a woman is of value to the family. It is this realization by Samia that this paper focuses on. This essay explores the different behavior Samia develops: realizing her role in the family, trying to defend herself from societal dictatorship, and connects to the different concepts of her situation.
Samia becomes sensible about the condition of her life as the story ends. She realizes that the husband lacks understanding of what she says. In one instance, she cannot hold her stand and keep to her decisions. “…he would carry the responsibilities, made the decisions…” (261). She refuses to drink alcohol during their day out but Bey forces her to take a few sips, without acknowledging her unfamiliarity with alcohol (Rifaat, 258). After drinking, she gets tipsy and loses reasoning. Her ring is lost and she suspects her house cleaner. Her husband cannot understand why she lost the ring, chases the house help, and fails to bring her back when the ring is found (Rifaat, 260). Within her, Samia feels “a slap to the face” (Bruner, 1994, p. 57). From the little influence she has, it is clear how the wife (Samia) had no powers to convince her husband. It is not that she lacked the reasoning, but the society subjects her into the life that has no respect for women. From the realization of the value of life, Samia is likely to change her life and oppose the king of relationship she has with the husband and the society. The change may be the beginning of a different life for her.
Throughout her life, Samia has little choices to make. From the beginning of the story, she cannot choose even her husband. Her father does that for her. In that situation, it becomes difficult for her to run any important activity to run the family. In turn, she has no freedom of choice. Her husband also forces her to lie about their family background as a source of prestige to other people. She has to say at the club that she is “a wealthy woman from a Baraket family” (Bruner, 1994, p. 55). These instances shows the little freedom a woman has in a society, which cannot allow her choose a husband and must tell a lie about her situation and life. If all women in her society went through this, then their situations are desperate and should change. From the changes she realizes, it is apparent why she demands for some equality and freedom in her life that the society and the husband is trying to limit
The different realizations of Samia in her life make it easy to change for the future. She can recognize her roles and other duties she can and should perform as a woman. In addition, her freedom becomes paramount, not only as a woman, but as an adult. It is disappointing to notice the low value she has to the society, with the husband dictating all she has to do and the society redefining all her steps. Typically, individuals tend to change when they realize their values in life and reasons to be independent of external forces in societies. When people change, their lives become different as they begin doing things according to their thoughts. That is the same case as Samia. It becomes difficult to change the societal norms, like the oppression of women, alone. Humiliation and discrimination crop in. Samia’s life with the husband is likely to be rough when she demands some acknowledgment and roles as a wife. She needs to be an equal partner and not a subject to some unscrupulous rule. From the little freedom and desire for self-space in the society, Samia wants to change and have an easy time running her life in the society.
Women in most societies are in similar situations like Samia: to be influences by their husband and societies’ rules. When they have no roles in families nor can convince their husbands who claim to love them, a good number end up being vulnerable to totalitarianism. There are ways in which women face tyranny. Some are forced to be procreators only and cannot participate in doing anything better in the family. Some cannot have the chance to get an education and have active careers. In some societies, even political positions are not for women. These stressful situations are the same ones in Samia’s case. She said, “The gesture came like a slap in the face” (261). The world needs to recognize the roles of women as equals to men. It is difficult to change mindsets if it has been in practice for long. Communities may need to work extra hard to alter the roles of women and realize their importance in society.
In conclusion, Samia faces harsh rules in the story, changes after she realizes her value in life and tries to avoid the dictatorship in society. She cannot make any proper decisions, like her roles in a family and the man to marry. More events unroll when she loses her marriage ring, and she cannot bring her help cleaner back after the ring is found. Prior to this, she had no authority to refuse taking alcohol. Upon realizing her roles as a wife, she tries to change by demanding participation and freedom from the totalitarian society. From these events, Samia’s situation portrays women as subjects to unfavorable rules in the society. Changing this type of negative view about women requires time and hard work in the society.
Bruner, C. H. (1994). Unwinding threads: Writing by women in Africa. Oxford, United Kingdom. Heinemann.
Rifaat, Alifa. “Another Evening At the Club” in Inside Stories II. Ed. Glen Kirkland and Richard Davies. Toronto: Harcourt Canada. 1999. 255-261