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Key Facts

Key Facts

full title · Distant View of a Minaret

author · Alifa Rifaat

type of work · Collection of short stories

genre · Women’s literature, African literature

language · Arabic

time and place written · Early 1980s, Egypt

date of first publication · 1983

publisher · Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd.

narrator · Varies from story to story. Sometimes first-person narrative, sometimes third-person omniscient narrator

point of view · Usually that of a Muslim woman, either a wife, widow, mother, or child struggling against the restrictive norms of Islamic society or the infidelity/inconsideration of her husband

tone · Serious, solemn, and/or melancholy

tense · Usually present tense

setting (time) · Twentieth century

setting (place) · Cairo, Egypt, and outlying provinces

protagonist · Usually a Muslim woman, either a wife, widow, mother, or young girl, except in “At the Time of the Jasmine,” in which a middle-aged Egyptian man is the protagonist

major conflict · Woman vs. the social constructs of arranged marriages, limited freedom for women, and the infidelity and inconsideration of husbands

rising action · Varies for each story

themes · The importance of love in marriage; the tyranny of husbands; the impact of death on the living; the cost of freedom for women

motifs · Daily prayers; religion in daily language; widows

symbols · The snake; the canal

foreshadowing · Varies by story

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