Power over “The Other” : Racial Exploitation and Injustice
“I already know a thing or two. I know it’s not clothes that make women beautiful or otherwise, nor beauty care, nor expensive creams, nor the distinction or costliness of their finery. I know the problem lies elsewhere. I don’t know where. I only know it isn’t where women think…. You didn’t have to attract desire. Either it was in the women who aroused it or it didn’t exist. Either it was there at first glance or else it had never been. It was instant knowledge of sexual relationship or it was nothing. That too I knew before I experienced it” (Duras, 19-20).
Marguerite Duras gives the reader this prophecy on attraction in her novel, The Lover, words which she, as we soon find, uses to explain her involvement with a man twelve years her senior. She, at the tender age of fifteen, claims to know more about beauty and attraction than women twice her age. She is aware of her body, on the brink of maturity, and what it does to men. She, short of many of the resources listed above, has learned to become creative and uses her body as her only tool for attraction and lust. She, at fifteen, is more sexually aware than most people her age. Her body means power. She is power. It is her power she will use to survive, even if it means what we would call using her body and the man she sleeps with.
Marguerite’s lover is nameless. He is identified only by the color of his skin and his country. She knows his name, but she chooses to keep it from us so that we see what she sees, color, the body, the emotion. No name, no other relationship to him than the relationship she has. She is leaving his name out to distance herself so that we are distanced. We see his money, his limousine, the meals, the clothing. We do not know him. We only see what he’s good for. “The elegant man has got out of the limousine and is smoking an English cigarette. He looks at the girl in the man’s fedora and the gold shoes. He slowly comes to her. He’s obviously nervous…. His hand is trembling. There’s a difference of race, he’s not white, he has to get the better of it, that’s why he’s trembling” (Duras, 32). The image is of a young girl dressed in a man’s hat. The Chinese man trembles when he approaches her. He is always trembling when he interacts with her. He is aware of his skin, she is aware he’s not white, not her. He offers her a cigarette which she refuses to take from him. The figure of the girl dressed as a man and the trembling Chinese lasts all the way through the book. They, from the very beginning, have swapped genders. She, from the very beginning, has the power to refuse him or take from him. And, most importantly, he is defined by what she is not. He is lack. He is not white. He is not painted completely. He is aware of his deficiency. He wears elegant clothing, rides in a fancy car, and smokes European cigarettes; tries to cover his shortcomings with his money and status. She is poor and white, he is rich and not. She is not even in her own country, but she has established a dominance he cannot take from her: “The image starts long before he’s come up to the white child by the rails, it starts when he got out of the black car, when he began to approach her, and when she knew, knew he was afraid. From the first moment, she knows more or less, knows he’s at her mercy” (35).
Along with racial power, before long, Marguerite attains sexual power over the Chinese. She tells him to use her for what he wants. She puts herself in a risky position, sacrificing her body, one of her main sources of power, and could lose everything. But this way he is not taking it from her, she is willingly giving it away, and she still has the control because she is the coordinator. The Chinese quickly becomes too involved and dependent upon her because of his desire, love, and her accessibility. “He says he’s lonely, horribly lonely because of this love he feels for her. She says she’s lonely too. She doesn’t say why. He says, You’ve come here with me as you might have gone anywhere with anyone…. She tells his she doesn’t want him to talk, what she wants is for him to do as he usually does with the women he brings into his flat. She begs him to do that” (Duras, 37-38). Duras begs for sex the way a man would. The Chinese’s body becomes the object, not hers, even though he sees it in that light. The Chinese always gives her the sex she wants. She has the power to say no and she has the power take it from him when she wants. On her command, she lets him have his way with her, turning their relationship into an unattached carnal lust, at least on her end. But he is carried away by his emotions and his mercy. “The body. The body is thin, lacking in strength, in muscle, he may have been ill, may be convalescent, he’s hairless, nothing masculine about him but his sex, he’s weak, probably a helpless prey to insult, vulnerable. She doesn’t look him in the face. Doesn’t look at him at all. She touches him…. He moans, weeps. In dreadful love” (38). His body lacks strength and a physical power over her. He is thin, hairless, like a prepubescent boy or child. He is weak, vulnerable to her like prey. She avoids eye contact and focuses on his body, touching him, making him weep, emoting the way a girl would. She: stoic, emotionless, distant.
Marguerite would have nothing to do with the Chinese if it weren’t for money. That fact that he is not white is a compromise she is willing to make. He is compromising his body and his money for his love for the white girl. To her, it’s an even trade, although her family is a little harder to convince. They have no problem using him as a meal ticket, however. They gorge themselves on food and do not look at him. They let him pay. “My brothers will never say a word to him, it’s as if he were invisible to them, as if for them he weren’t solid enough to be perceived, seen or heard. This is because he adores me, but it’s taken for granted I don’t love him, that I’m with him for the money, that I can’t love him, it’s impossible, that he could take any sort of treatment from me and still go on loving me. This is because he’s a Chinese, because he’s not a white man…. We all treat my love as he [her elder brother] does. I myself never speak to him in their presence. When my family is there I’m never supposed to address a single word to him” (Duras, 51). Marguerite is aware her family’s exploitation of the Chinese mirrors her own, that’s not her focus. Her focus in this passage is her awareness that the Chinese man will do anything to win her family’s affection, trying to buy their approval. And it doesn’t work. And it will never work because of his race. But he will put up with their rudeness because he is dependent upon Marguerite and will bear any treatment of him because he has no other option. He is trapped into taking her family out to dinner. Paying for everyone. He is trapped into enduring their uncultured, ravenous behavior and lack of appreciation. He is willingly submissive, and understandably sensitive about this treatment. He realizes he will never win them over. But he still goes through with it because his love for Marguerite forces him to do so. “In my elder brother’s presence he ceases to be my lover…. he’s no longer anything to me. He becomes a burned-out shell…. an unmentionable outrage, a cause of shame who ought to be kept out of sight…. [I am] exasperated at having to put up with this indignity just for the sake of eating well, in an expensive restaurant, which ought to be something quite normal” (52-53). Marguerite feels guilty for taking advantage of the Chinese’s generosity. She is angry her family ignores him. Mostly, she is angry with her brother. Her power is handed over to him. When they are all together, he calls all the shots. He knows just as well he can use the Chinese man for his own needs. Her mother compromises her daughter for the sake of money as well. She lets her run around dressed like a prostitute and more or less acquiesces to her affair because she knows why her daughter is sleeping with him. It’s the same reason why she lets her go. He is of use to them. He will try to please them. He will submit to them. He can give them what they don’t have and they will still turn out looking better in the end.
The Lover isn’t the only text that addresses power over “the other.” Like The Lover, Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest,” has a pronounced motif of use and exploitation of “the other” with a backdrop of dominance over the natives in a foreign land. Nearly every scene in the play portrays a relationship between a figure that possesses power and a figure that is subject to that power. The most significant master-servant relationship is between Prospero and Ariel, and Prospero and Caliban. Exiled on a desert island, Prospero uses Caliban, the island’s only native, like his slave. Although Caliban inhabited the island long before Prospero came, he is at Prospero’s mercy because he is aware of Prospero’s magical powers and his superior intelligence. Prospero, of course, is also aware of his dominance over Caliban, and exploits him for his own convenience and gain. “This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother,/Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st first/Thou strok’st me and made much of me; wouldst give me/Water with berries in’t; and teach me how/To name the bigger light, and how the less,/That burn by day and night. And then I loved thee/…and here you sty me/In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me/The rest o’ th’ island” (1.2.331-344). Caliban feels repossessed or cast out from his only home, and with good reason. He didn’t invite Prospero to live there, Prospero invaded his space and seized it from him, betrayed and enslaved Caliban, and expects him to be grateful and subservient. “Thou most lying slave, Whom stripes may move, not kindness. I have used thee/(Filth as thou art) with humane care, and lodged thee/In mine own cell…” (1.2.345-348). Prospero always tells a story with an emphasis on his good deeds and everyone else’s bad deeds, especially when speaking of his brother, Ariel and Caliban. Prospero’s control over Caliban rests on his ability to master him through words. There is no say as to whether Caliban is another race, but his mother was a witch and his father the Devil, his identity, therefore, is dark and uncertain. Either way, Caliban assumes the role of “the other.” Prospero is not threatened by him because when they met Caliban could not even speak, and he feels Caliban is forever indebted to him for teaching him language.
Ariel creates an immediate and powerful contrast between Prospero’s two servants. Where Caliban is uncultured, bitter and brutish, described as a “[h]ag-seed” (1.2.368), a “poisonous” (1.2.322) and “most lying slave (1.2.347) and as “earth” (1.2.317), Ariel is delicate, refined and gracious. He is characterized as a spirit of air, while Caliban is a creature of earth. Though the two are both Prospero’s servants, Ariel serves Prospero somewhat willingly, in return for freeing him from the tree, while Caliban resists serving him at all costs. Even though when Prospero arrived upon the island, he freed Ariel and enslaved Caliban, it was probably because he knew Ariel could be of more use to him because of his powers. Given that Prospero is a European, his exploitive treatment of Ariel, and especially of Caliban, could represent the disruptive effect of European colonization on native societies. Prospero’s colonization has left Caliban, the original ruler of the island, subject to enslavement and hatred on account of his dark and–in the eyes of Prospero–rough appearance because he is not European. Not even mannerly, obedient servants like Ariel can avoid Prospero’s imprisonment–at least until Ariel is of no further use. Like The Lover, the foreigner who ends up in foreign land turns the tables on the native, making them the outcast, “The Other,” unacceptable, savage, deficient.
In Jean Rhys’ novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette and her mother are strangers in a strange land. They are often the subjects of violence and animosity because they are Creoles living in a predominantly black society. Antoinette’s mother, Annette, falls victim to stares and whispers, and has no confidants. “Standing by the bamboos she had a clear view to the sea, but anyone passing could stare at her. They stared, sometimes they laughed…. A frown came between her black eyebrows, deep…. I hated this frown and once I touched her forehead trying to smooth it. But she pushed me away…as if she had decided once and for all that I was useless to her” (Rhys, 11). It is this isolation and feelings of inadequacy that turn Annette into a distant, brooding person. Although they are living on what seems to be enemy territory, Antoinette and her mother stay, despite threats upon their lives and the murder of their son and brother. Very soon, however, Annette’s treatment gets the better of her. Whether or not she has actually gone mad is up for debate. She is closely connected to the wild, exotic garden next to their house. The smell and view are both intoxicating and sickening to Antoinette when she is younger, and she never wants to go near it. This image of the wild garden and Annette’s depressed, lobotomized state do suggest a sort of underlying madness or fever. Either she was too much to handle or the country was too much for her to handle. Whatever way, Annette was quickly eliminated, brought on by early harsh treatments and social outcast for being too different. This, however, is only the beginning of the power struggle over “the other.” When the unnamed man, like The Lover’s unnamed “other,” narrates the second part of the novel, he and Antoinette are already married. He is from England, a second son and therefore not eligible for inheritance, and so is married off like a daughter to Antoinette, a heiress, to ensure a secure financial future. Also a stranger in a strange land, the man is dependent upon Antoinette because their way of living is so abnormal to him. Even Antoinette is abnormal to him. She has that sort of exotic, maddening disposition to him that he learns her mother shared as well. “I watched her critically. She wore a tricorne hat which became her. At least it shadowed her eyes which are too large and can be disconcerting. She never blinks at all it seems to me. Long, sad, dark alien eyes. Creole of pure English decent she may be, but they are not English or European either” (Rhys, 39). Antoinette is strange to him, and she almost scares him in a way. Her mannerisms are foreign, and she has a mystical energy he cannot place because it is unlike anything he’s ever known.
The environment itself also has the same effect on him that she has. Used to England, where foliage is only found in the countryside, and it is overcast, raining, or cold ninety percent of the time, her land is much too alive and wild for him to handle. “Everything is too much…. Too much blue, too much purple, too much green. The flowers too red, the mountains too high, the hills too near. And the woman is a stranger. Her pleading expression annoys me. I have not bought her, she has bought me, or so she thinks…. The girl is thought to be beautiful, she is beautiful. And yet… (Rhys, 41). Immediately after arriving, Antoinette’s husband is in bed with fever for two weeks, falling victim to this environment right away. Where he is powerless against his family, his wife, and where he lives. “I was tried of these people. I disliked their laughter and their tears, their flattery and envy, conceit and deceit. And I hated the place. I hated the mountains and the hills, the river and the rain. I hated the sunsets of whatever colour, I hated its beauty and its magic and the secret I would never know. I hated its indifference and the cruelty which was part of its loveliness. Above all I hated her. For she belonged to the magic and the loveliness. She had left me thirsty and all my life would be thirst and longing for what I had lost before I found it” (103). He hates the country, the people living in it, and his wife might as well be from another planet she is so alien to him. He feels like the butt of every joke. He feels cheated by his family. He feels like Antoinette is in the way of what he wants.
Desperate to remedy his feeling like a piece of property, his alienation and inadequacy, he must claim power over Antoinette if he ever wants to feel normal again. “Very soon she’ll join all the others who know the secret and will not tell it. Or cannot…. Yes, they’ve got to be watched…. She’s one of them. I too can wait–for the day when she is only a memory to be avoided, locked away, and like all memories a legend. Or a lie…” (103). Unlike in The Lover and “The Tempest”, the social outcast retaliates against the injustice placed upon him. Unwilling to compromise, Antoinette’s husband gets rid of her all together because she is such a threat to his manhood and his happiness. He leaves no room for a peace treaty because he listens to the rumors that she may be mad and will never change. For him, there is no other option and no other possibility he is willing to take or believe. Bringing her to England will switch their roles completely. He will live in an environment that is familiar to him while she may be too colorful to adapt, forcing her to assume the role of “the other” and bringing the power back to him. The real tragedy in this is Antoinette chooses to follow him and chooses madness. She compromises her happiness because she believes his suffering is greater than what she will endure.
Wide Sargasso Sea depicts the authoritative superior as a victim in the end, and as having no realization of their power until it is pointed out to them, unlike Duras and Prospero, who are aware of the injustice. As far as the geographical context that The Lover and “The Tempest” share, it is also important to note the different direction Wide Sargasso Sea takes. When in Jamaica, Antoinette is no more a native of the land than her husband is, and they each have experienced the uncomfortable situation of being the outcast. Nevertheless, Antoinette, having lived there longer, is visibly more at peace with the place than her husband will ever be, and unlike in the previously examined texts, her husband is not able to turn the tables on her and overpower her. It is on enemy territory–England–when she is able to be manipulated and overpowered.
Despite this, Annette, the Chinese man, Ariel and Caliban all experience interchangeable feelings of alterity because of their race. The Chinese man, Ariel and Caliban are all exploited for their delicate nature—or, in Caliban’s case, substandard intelligence—because of society’s backwards views on inter-racial relationships and their attitude toward unique people on a whole. Annette is ruined because she is abused and threatened, laughed and stared at. Antoinette’s husband is sold like furniture into an alien society he cannot adjust to and is subject to feelings of insufficiency and impotency. And finally, Antoinette maybe pays the highest cost. In England, she cannot survive. It lacks a vitality she thrives on. Her lost state, her husband believes, is a symptom of the madness passed down in her bloodstream, so he locks her away in an attic and pretends she doesn’t exist. So raises the literary figure of the madwoman in the attic. Society’s formidable “other.” She may change gender. She may change skin color. But her bearing is still the same. She represents ignorance, arrogance, and fear. And she will remain in that attic until society makes an effort toward understanding, sympathy, and unity.
Just a Dream
“[She] starts to sort it out, to turn over the day, scraps, feelings, words and laughter, all are like a thin layer of rubbish that [she] gathers up and throws into the basket” (9). In A.B. Yehoshua’s novel The Lover, Asya utilizes dreams to release her inner-tensions. Yehoshua employs Asya’s dreams as symbolic, prophetic mechanisms that parallel the subtle, emotional conflicts within the characters and her self.Once Asya is deprived of her lover, Gabriel, she is consumed by his absence and immediately begins to dream about him. The first of Asya’s dreams described in the novel reflects her unconscious desire to reunite with Gabriel and abandon her family. The dream places Asya within a military encampment as an educator on a fieldtrip, paralleling Gabriel’s own military excursion (14). Like the dreamer, the reader is also unable to make the connection between the dream and Gabriel, because both are uncertain of Gabriel’s military career at the novel’s onset. “The faces of children from Dafi’s class” that Asya encounters are analogous to the “young, boyish faced” men in Gabriel’s platoon (14, 297). While Dafi’s class attends compulsory education, the soldiers have been forced into military service. Dafi’s class also creates a commentary on the Zionist movement. Though the Zionist movement recently catalyzed the creation of an Israeli state, the Israeli’s must now defend their independence in the Yom Kippur War. The field trip in Asya’s dream exposes the young children to war, corrupting their naivety and innocence. These children must be prepared; they must sacrifice their childhoods for war, because most Israelis believe their independence will continually be contested, regardless of the outcome of the Yom Kippur War.Like Gabriel, Asya is lost within the encampment; she does not understand her purpose, but eventually understands her position with the guidance of a superior. Asya is teaching “the importance of history” to war-weary adults who have had their educations cut short by war (15). The fact that Asya is teaching history’s importance in her dream, presents another remark on Israeli independence. Israel is a multiracial Jewish state, an oasis within a desert of intolerant Arab nations. Asya, like most Israelis, believes there will never be a decisive victory for Israeli independence; there is a seemingly innate hatred between Arabs and Jews, as evidenced by their historical tensions.Asya’s search for a missing piece of her past parallels the quest of her father. While Asya searches for Gabriel, her father searches the radio “for the mention of Israel or his own name in the distant void” (47). Asya’s first dream gives the reader insight into the cause of her father’s ignominious deposal as head of the Ministry of Information and the rational behind his search to re-link himself with his past. Again, the dream occurs before Asya’s father’s former occupation is revealed, thus inviting the reader to ignore the description. “It’s an old man wearing a hat and he’s walking down the wadi with such determination, receding in the distance toward the enemy lines. My heart stands still. He looks like my father. Is he here too? Does he belong here or not? Walking erect and excitedly down the rock-strewn ravine” (15). The fact that her father is wearing a hat would suggest he is attempting a clandestine operation. The hat will cover his face, thus helping him to conceal his identity. Asya’s father is crossing enemy lines alone, with determination; this suggests he may be sharing sensitive intelligence information with the aggressing nations for compensation, because the head of the intelligence department would not cross enemy lines alone during wartime, that is the task of a low level operative. After his removal from office, Asya’s father is convinced “that he is right, that an injustice has been done to him” (46). Perhaps he had hoped to end the war through peaceful, diplomatic means. Then, fear within a dream created by fear. Asya is overwhelmed with anxiety as her heart “stands still.” This suggests that Asya noticed her father’s illegal actions in real-time, and she is now haunted by their replay within her dreams. Her father is excited, implying that he believed he would not be caught, though he was. Asya’s father walking down a ravine is symbolic of the difficult path he was forced to take to share intelligence secrets with other nations. War does not leave Asya’s thoughts.Asya’s second dream portrays the unconscious guilt she suffers from neglecting Dafi during wartime. Asya is trapped within her dream world after Gabriel’s departure; this causes harm to Dafi’s health as she becomes an insomniac. War creates civil disobedience. “A gang of murders settles private scores within the city,” and Asya is afraid for her daughter (29). This coincides with real-time, where Dafi is often alone but not forgotten. Despite Asya’s worries, Dafi arrives safely, and the final segment of the dream becomes predictive of Adam eventually finding Gabriel. A murderer follows Dafi into the home; the murderer’s uninvited arrival parallels Gabriel’s unwelcome arrival from Dafi. Adam eventually subversively expels Gabriel from the home by making him register for the military; this is symbolic of Adam killing the murderer with a screwdriver. While Gabriel is a threat to Adam, Gabriel also deprived Dafi of a segment of her childhood by depriving her of her mother. By expelling Gabriel, Adam benefits Dafi as well. Asya screams at Adam, their “lives are ruined” (30). Asya’s reaction foreshadows Adam’s eventual use of a screwdriver to find Gabriel and end his wife’s “ruined life” (30).The screwdriver may also foretell Adam’s eventual affair with Tali and the murderer may actually signify Tali, who has come to disrupt Asya’s home. The screwdriver may be phallic. The fact that Adam “is trying to hide the big screwdriver” may foretell how he attempts to cover-up his relationship with Tali (30).In Asya’s next dream, she involuntarily explores her strained and loveless marriage. Asya is driving Adam’s car, which likely represents her marriage with Adam. The seat in the car is low, restricting her visibility. Like a marriage, Asya is forced to “drive [both the marriage and car] on instincts” (57). When Asya gets out of the car, she observes “the vague dents,” but believes Adam will repair them (57). This implies their marriage is repairable, but Adam must take initiative. When Asya finally arrives at home, her dream becomes prophetic. There “are people in the house,” they represent mourners (57). Yigal has died, which catalyzes the sudden chain reaction that destroys Asya’s relationship with Adam. Upon closer inspection, the car is destroyed, foretelling the marriage’s destruction after Yigal’s unexpected death. Throughout the novel, Adam attempts to solve problems with money; a wrecked car would not cause “pain in his face” (58). His loveless marriage has consumed him, “he has torn out his beard by the roots, scalped himself” (58). The self mutilation of Adam’s beard symbolizes his loss of identity within his confused state after Yigal’s death. Asya’s inability to look at the remnants of Adam’s beard reflects an unconscious blame. Asya blames Adam for Yigal’s death since Adam made the special hearing aide and Yigal is under Adam’s care when he is killed.The dream could also represent Asya’s affair with Gabriel. There are obstacles to overcome within the affair, but like the car, “nothing could stop [them]” (57). Then the war comes, and the car comes to a halt. The “people in the house” may reflect that people within the community know of the affair, but are unwilling to become involved in the matter (57). “The capsized car” foreshadows the destruction of the affair (58). The car’s destruction also indicates that Adam knows of the affair and foresees its end with the onset of the Yom Kippur War. Adam “repairs the car himself” by sending Gabriel to enlist in the military (57). Asya’s inability to look at Adam’s changed physique echoes that Asya unconsciously wishes that Adam were fighting instead of Gabriel.Asya’s next dream, like several of her other dreams, foretells Adam’s affair with Tali. Asya is alone in a classroom, paralleling the solitary setting of the hospital where Adam and Tali consummate their affair. There “is a pile of sand still in the corner,” suggestive of the inability of Adam and Tali to make love on the beach (83). Asya “is getting nervous,” eager to begin her lesson, just as Adam is anxious to sleep with Tali (84). The pubescent boy, the only student in Asya’s class, “takes down his trousers” and “stands in the corner naked,” just as Tali “stands in the corner like a trapped animal,” “exposing her little naked body” for Adam (84, 261). Yehoshua attempts to make the parallel more obvious when Asya wants to tell the boy to “come here,” which is what Adam says to Tali to catalyze the affair (84, 258). Asya’s inability to escape her dream world causes her husband to feel insecure. Adam’s affair with Tali is an achievement of manliness and lust as he “becomes a lover, in search of a lover” (262).The student’s “sickly face,” which is also used to characterize Gabriel, leaves the possibility that the student represents Gabriel and Asya’s helpless desire for his love (84). Even though Asya is married, she feels “a mixture of repulsion and desire” for the boy; Asya experiences this same lust when she encounters Gabriel (84). When the boy finally leaves, Asya feels “completely empty;” the same way she feels after Gabriel’s departure (84). Asya’s inability to escape her dream world makes her lust for Gabriel blatantly apparent to Adam and Dafi, who are victimized by her selfishness.Asya’s subsequent dream provides insight into her affair with Gabriel. Adam, an expert mechanic who cares for Asya but is unable to fulfill her emotional and physical needs, parallels the “wonderful dentist,” who is unable to perform for Asya after falling asleep. While Adam provides the site for Asya’s affair, the dentist supplies the office for Gabriel to use his “instruments” on Asya’s mouth (110). While Gabriel is hired by Adam as a metaphorical prostitute who is supposed to “assist his wife with translations,” he is also hired by the dentist in an assistive capacity. While Adam is blind to his wife’s affair, the dentist is asleep to his assistant’s actions. Gabriel’s instruments are undoubtedly phallic. Through his use of language such as “his face tense with concentration” and “sliding gently into the hollow,” Yehoshua makes Asya’s dental experience metaphoric of sex (110). Dental assistants such as Gabriel would not touch a patient, yet Asya “is overwhelmed by the sweetness of his light touch” (110). In the final lines of the dream, Asya questions why she has come to the dentist’s office, which reflects her inner tension over the affair. The final lines may also reflect that Asya is unsatisfied by Gabriel but fears his departure. She fears “disappointing him,” but has no qualms with being a lifeless amoeba towards her husband’s sexual desires.Asya’s dream’s portrayal of Adam as a sleeping dentist is also predictive of his affair with Tali. Tali arouses the sleeping dentist and inspires him to utilize his instruments. The hospital that Adam and Tali make love in parallels a dentists’ office. Everything in each room is sterile. Like a skilled dentist, Adam mechanically and methodically performs on Tali’s “little naked body” (261). Tali is paralyzed, she lies there like a dental patient, waiting for the pain to end.In Asya’s sixth dream, Yigal, whose death precipitated Asya’s affair and left an emotional void within the family, is being displaced by Na’im, who is also assisting Asya in finding her lover. Asya is haunted by the memory of Yigal, but Na’im has provided Asya with the physical imagery and personality to create an adolescent projection of Yigal within her dreams. In Asya’s dream, Yigal “rides back and forth on the broad pavement” with his bicycle, “he is tall and thin,” unknowingly taunting his mother who has been emotionally troubled since his death (180). This parallels Na’im, who tests the patience of a Jewish family that has been conditioned to hate him and his people. While Na’im is hindered by race, Yigal is hindered by his disability. Asya’s family accepts both of them despite each of their social stigmas. Yigal’s bicycle is “very colorful, shining, loaded with gears, cog wheels and coils of wire,” reflecting Yigal’s desire for social acceptance and paralleling Na’im’s quest (180). Na’im has adapted to Jewish culture through subtractive assimilation. Na’im blends in amongst Jews, they no longer recognize that he is an Arab while Yigal attends regular school and people sometimes forget that he is deaf.Then, in the middle of the dream, Asya “realizes that it isn’t Yigal but some kind of replacement that Adam has brought for [her],” which is obviously Na’im (180). This reflects Asya’s unconscious resistance to forgetting her lost son while also further emphasizing Na’im’s ability to blend in amongst Jews. Asya then calls after “Yigal’s replacement,” signifying her unconscious desperation for a son, a legacy. On the surface, Asya refuses Adam this legacy, for fear of losing another son or perhaps because she is too old, and suffers from barrenness. “[Na’im] hears her and understands, but takes advantage of his deafness to ignore” Asya, this is representative of the special bond between Adam and Yigal that has now vicariously survived through Na’im (181). The dream shows that even though Asya would like to penetrate this obscure relational bubble, her attempts are unsuccessful.The conclusion of Asya’s dream foretells Na’im’s eventual, unexpected departure from the family and the impregnation of Dafi. When Na’im leaves the family, it is unexpected, much like the death of Yigal. Na’im resigns from his position as caretaker while Yigal resigns from life. The seed that Na’im leaves in Dafi’s womb is symbolized by the departed “replacement” that leaves behind a transistor that picks up a newscaster saying “life… she has come to life” (181). The dream that follows this one drifts from the genres of the previous dreams.In Asya’s next dream, she parallels the formation of African republics with the formation of Israeli. Like Israelis, the African brags of his “renewed land” (222). “The new settlements are being built” in Africa and Israel even though the rest of the world will not invest in either land (222). Yehoshua explicitly describes the African man as “a giant negro,” eliminating the possibility of the man representing Libya or Egypt from the Yom Kippur War (222). The “giant negro” is likely from central Africa, where Africans are generally looked at with condescending sneers by their neighbors, just as Israeli’s are generally despised throughout the Middle East (222). Asya is dreaming about this because she is obviously troubled by this “renewed land,” because its preservation has caused Gabriel’s departure. Then the African shows her a “long, obstinate and definitive line” within a picture (222). The line is symbolic of several things. One possibility is that the line represents the equality Israel and Africa are striving for. The other possibility is that the line represents the senseless arbitrariness of the lines that make up the boundaries of countries. Wars are generally over boundaries; the Yom Kippur War is no different. Israel expanded its borders in the Yom Kippur War, and this may be upsetting to Asya, whose lover is fighting in the war.In Asya’s subsequent dream, she once again becomes consumed by Gabriel’s disappearance. Asya’s dream takes place in the kitchen, where she is preparing fish. The vivid imagery of Asya “slicing the white bodies to remove the inner organs, [her] hands covered with blood and guts,” metaphorically parallels the atrocities of war experienced by Gabriel (232). The reader is made clear of this symbolism when Gabriel is suddenly placed within the dream. Then, the dream foreshadows Gabriel’s discovery. Asya is angry, desperate for his love, she is hoping that “perhaps he will touch” her (232). Gabriel’s appearance in the dream prophesizes that he is still alive and that Adam will find him. In her dream, Gabriel has a “matured face,” symbolic of the atrocities of war catalyzing his aging process (232). When Gabriel leaves, Asya viciously attacks the unchanging “calendar with blood stained hands” (232). The blood on Asya’s hands is symbolic of her guilt for allowing Gabriel to enlist; she would feel responsible for his death. The immutable calendar is symbolic of the unending search for Gabriel that has seemingly halted the progress of Asya’s life.In her final dream, Asya prophesizes the impregnation of Dafi while simultaneously emphasizing her fear of interminable war. The dream begins with Asya and her family trapped within Afghanistan, amongst “fields of corn (wheat),” even though Afghanistan is generally characterized as a desert land where irrigation is difficult (265). Wheat symbolizes life, even though the historical context of the dream places the family within an intense military conflict between the Soviet Union and the Taliban regime that has left only twelve percent of the region capable of cultivation. “Not a seed of man but a seed of corn (wheat)” has impregnated Dafi; this signifies Dafi’s susceptibility to pregnancy as a teenager (265). Dafi will “conceive a field mouse, something frightful,” representing the “poison” of Na’im’s Arab seed within Dafi’s body. “Adam settles the entire business without consulting” Asya, this parallels the final seen, when Adam takes Na’im back to his village without asking for opinions.Asya’s dreams provide readers with a glance into the future direction of the storyline while subtly addressing otherwise unanswerable questions within the novel and attacking two principles that were responsible for Israeli independence: Zionism and war. Dreams operate on the unconscious. Asya’s dreams attack the reader’s unconscious. Without conscious and unconscious critical analysis of Asya’s dreams, the reader is left with many ambiguous answers and character connection that can only be solidified through her dreams. The reader’s only access to Asya’s character is through her subconscious and her interaction through the eyes of other characters. This creates a slanted perspective. Perhaps Asya never had an affair with Gabriel and she is simply a victim of the paranoia of her husband and daughter – we never learn of Asya’s actions in real-time. Perhaps all of Asya’s dreams are simply taboo impulses that she never intends to act upon.