Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What did Fatima Mernissi do as a child while she waited for her mother to wake up each morning?

From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., Mernissi was not allowed to enter the courtyard until her mother had awoken. She could sit on the marble threshold, but she was not allowed to participate in play with her cousins. Her mother believed she did not know how to defend herself. Mernissi invented a game for herself contemplating the familiar scene as if it were alien to her.

2. What did the women of the harem do so they could listen to the radio?

Although it was forbidden, the women liked to listen to Radio Cairo while the men were out of the house. They would dance and sing along to popular music. They had made a copy of the key to the locked cabinet for the radio so that they could use it without the men knowing. This came to an end when Mernissi and her cousin unwittingly gave away the secret when they told their fathers about how they enjoyed the music and dancing.

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