Broken Wings by Khalil Gibran

Love. Some hearts feel empowered with love and some hearts experience death with loss of love. Reading Broken Wings has introduced me to the latter. But this book is not only about love, but also about the strength and fragility of human heart. Although the narrative is from writer’s perspective, readers can still feel a direct connect with the female protagonist, Selma Karamy.

I want to delve more into the character of Selma. I want to compare her stand with the modern day woman. The book was published in Arabic language in the year 1912. The story is set up in the city of Beirut.

In the story Selma marries a man against her choice. She accepts her fate. She loves the narrator, the lead man of the story. But she had to marry a man who belonged to the rich influential class of the society. She didn’t argue with anyone, not with her father for allowing this marriage or with the society for arranging the marriage. She silently allowed all of them to mould her youth, with fire, which in the end melted away.

21st century women would find all of this annoying.

21st century women are educated and financially independent. But does that mean we have earned everything? Well that’s another topic for a detailed discussion. This story was set in the 20th century. But Selma was educated and well mannered. She complied to all the conventional rules and didn’t let her conscience rule her actions.

Now the part that intrigues me is does this difference in the centuries matter? When I look around myself I do see educated women, but I see that their education is valued, partially. It is valued when the woman earns for her family but I’m afraid that her liberalised thoughts are valued.

So how different is the 21st century woman from Selma? We are powerful but partially. Because many of our sisters are still following the fate of Selma.

In the story ahead, Selma does become pregnant with the child of her husband. What entails in the story further, you must read it directly from the book.

I want to bring your attention towards the least discussed topic, our right to have a child or not have a child. Selma hoped for a better life if she had a child of her own. Nowadays women think it’s better to not have a child for a better life ahead. Times have changed. This by no way means to demoralise women who wish to have a child.

Selma Karamy had the strength to accept all the sharp arrows of life.

Whereas the 21st century woman has the strength to defend herself with the shield of her education and confidence.

Best wishes

Akshaya!

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