Analysis Of Behind The Beautiful Forevers

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Historically, most cultures have considered women to be inferior to men. Much has been done recently to change this, yet many women still face oppression, especially in developing societies. Thus, this freedom is usually associated with affluence. However, in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo includes assertive diction and contrast to suggest poverty can actually increase the independence of women.
By portraying the women living in the slum with words that highlight their confidence, the author indicates that their surroundings afford them more freedom than would be culturally accepted. Boo mentions Zehrunisa’s habit of “raining vibrant abuse” while haggling (Boo 15) to demonstrate that she has the authority stand up to the male scavengers. Instead of being a quiet, secluded, respectful Muslim woman, she feistily utters insults and arguments in public. The only reason that Zehrunisa possesses this opportunity to express her opinions and be a prominent part of the business is because her participation brings in more income to the impoverished family. If they were not in need of money, she would have to fit the more muted expectation of women. Additionally, by including the details of Fatima’s “switchy-hipped” gait and “gold-flecked, unlowering eyes” (Boo 21), the author displays this woman’s bold and assertive actions. Despite her marriage, she can still flaunt beauty and femininity because her husband is too occupied with working to support the struggling family
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