A Look at Women in Ali Eteraz’s Children of Dust: Part II

Part I of this review ran last week. You can read it here.

Why do Muslim women merely serve a sexual purpose and a way to “feel power over another human being” in Eteraz’s relationships in Children of Dust?  The answer to this question ultimately lies within the convoluted cultural-religious matrix Eteraz finds himself in as he attempts to form relationships with women.  At a young age, he learns a cultural understanding of relationships with women when his mother admonishes him for “playing” with Sina: “Good boys don’t play games with girls” (19). The lesson is that he is not to engage with girls or women on any sort of level that may result in an eventual emotional attachment or healthy relationship.

Amongst his numerous relationships with women in the book, Eteraz’s relationship with his mother is the longest (and thus most well-developed).  While a child in Pakistan, he describes her as an “inveterate storyteller,” (37) whose influence seems to have affected his own decision to write his story.  As he grows older, his relationship with her transforms—he rebels against his mother’s “mantras that impressed on me the immorality of interacting with females” (130).  But this relationship is not something I found most intriguing–I am instead interesting in further examining the “girls he met along” his journey.

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