Since the dawn of time, the notion of preserving and prolonging the lives of Earth’s most dominant race has been widely studied. In simpler days, countless medicine men experimented to see which plants could not only stop the pain of the injured, but save lives of the dying. When successful, these practices found themselves integrated into the culture of a particular society, often inspiring a sense of astonishment from those able to witness their remarkable results. The significance of such natural remedies is ever present in Masha Hamilton’s Staircase of a Thousand Steps, where Faridah adopts this concept in a way that considerably goes beyond mere healing. In the novel, herbal medicine represents Faridah’s struggle to fully heal many wounds that have been inflicted through personal tragedy and mistreatment, as well as Ein Fadr’s destructive unwillingness to conform to modern day customs and advancements.
In many cultures, herbal medicine is seen not just as a tool of healing, but also something of spiritual significance. It is no coincidence that Hamilton pairs the concept of healing herbs with Faridah, a woman wounded from the harshness of life and someone who has minimal faith in a…show more content… Ein Fadr is isolated from much of the evolving world and is therefore rarely exposed to many of mankind’s advancements, such as the ones in medicine. When a place has maintained its core conservative principles for so long, it is indubitably difficult to change them. Faridah is forced to make due with what raw materials Mother Nature has bestowed upon her and must exert stupendous effort into using them. The midwife connects the idea of healing herself to the healing of others, and instead of taking Baraka to a city with better health facilities, she places an emphatic amount of hope in her traditional medicinal herbs, to the point of near