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Between Rites and RightsExcision in Women's Experiential Texts and Human Contexts$
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Chantal Zabus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756877

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756877.001.0001

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In Passing and Other Circumspections

In Passing and Other Circumspections

Nwapa, El Saadawi, Rifaat

(p.85) Four In Passing and Other Circumspections
Between Rites and Rights
Stanford University Press

Kenyan women writers such as Charity Waciuma (Daughter of Mumbi) and Muthoni Likimani (They Shall Be Chastised) addressed the issue of excision in their novels by dwelling on unexcised women, or irugu. In Kenya, unexcised girls are wedged between rites and rights, the ancestral ritual (and the “reactance” to its abolition) and the right not to be excised. In Daughter of Mumbi, Waciuma first mentions excision in passing. This chapter examines the use of the in-passing technique to address excision in the novels of three African women writers, one from Nigeria and two from Egypt: Flora Nwapa's Efuru (1966), Alifa Rifaat's Hawwa Taud bi-Adam (Eve Brings Back Adam, 1975), Man Yakun al-Rajul? (Who Will Be the Man?, 1981), and Distant View of a Minaret and Other Stories (1983), and Nawal El Saadawi's The Hidden Face of Eve ([1980] 1995).

Keywords:   women writers, excision, in-passing technique, novels, Nawal El Saadawi, Flora Nwapa, Alifa Rifaat, rites, rights, unexcised girls

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