APPLES FROM THE DESERT REVISED

APPLES FROM THE DESERT REVISED - Middle East Literature...

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Middle East Literature 10/29/2010 APPLES FROM THE DESERT “May the next one be a boy”, and having said that, the man without a trace of guilt immersed the baby into a tub of milk. The poor, quiet and defenseless soul left the microcosm. As I watched the New Year’s Eve Ball slowly descend, I couldn’t remove the disturbing image which I had been witness to, in a life I have now left 8000 miles behind. Yes, I grew up in a society where the birth of a female is a curse. The story of ‘Apples from the desert’ borders along similar lines. The themes of orthodoxy, women, male domination and abandonment are closely knitted to tell the story of Rivka. Set in the conservative nest of Jerusalem, for Victoria Abravanel ‘freedom’ was an idea, a concept that existed only in the abstract world. If anything, owing to her being a woman, it was a vice. On the positive side, she didn’t have to experience the dilemma that one faces while making choices. In her world, choices did not exist. It was as though she was a slave minus leather straps. She married the man her father wanted as son-in-law. She married a scholar, but never had a husband. She was in a relationship with a man, a relationship void of love. But none of these things mattered. What truly mattered was that she had been obedient all her life, played the games by the established motto and worshipped conformity. So, when she had a daughter, Rivka, she hoped for a similar fate for her too. Partly because she didn’t know any better. As a child, Rivka sported long hair, wore a skirt and stockings. Never mind the fact that she looked like a boy who had adopted the practice of cross-dressing. Excuse the absence of the sparkle in the eyes, which children are supposed to have. No, these did not matter. Like a good girl, Rivka
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said prayers before going to bed. Eventually, when Rivka eloped to ‘Neve Midbar’ with a military officer, she shed her burden of practice and left it behind in Jerusalem. Naturally,
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