Amel Benaboura's Only A Woman

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Reading Response 1
Title: Only a Woman
Author: Amel Benaboura
Text type: Short story
Date: 19/2/2018

Amel Benaboura’s short story ‘Only a Woman’ follows the hardships of life for Yamina, a young woman who grew up in patriarchal Algeria where violence towards women was common and went unpunished. So when Yamina is frequently abused and threatened by her older brother, she does not think to stand up for herself.

One key theme in the text that is that you will never be free if you do not stand up for yourself and for your rights. Benaboura focuses her story on Yamina and how she learns to fight for her rights. Mrs Raïs is an important character in the story. She says to Yamina to “sharpen your nails, make them into claws to defend yourself with.”
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Mrs Raïs says “I, too, have suffered.” and “I fought like a maniac. Today I enjoy the well earned rest of a successful warrior.”. Again she uses the word warrior to describe standing up for yourself like going into battle. For me, this word shows that Mrs Raïs is strong and willing to do anything for a cause she believes in; she “fought like a maniac” against someone who persecuted her. Benaboura also uses the word “suffered” that shows me that Mrs Raïs has been in the same position that Yamina was in and is encouraging her to do the same; to “fight like a maniac.”. She says “I go where I want with my head held high.”. Mrs Raïs is showing an example to Yamina; that if she fights for herself and what she believes and finishes the battle she has only just started, she will be granted with freedom just like Mrs Raïs. I thought that this is very admirable and Mrs Raïs sets a great example for young people. She teaches us that it is important to stand up for yourself and to never give up fighting for what you believe.

Amel Benaboura’s “Only a Woman” would therefore benefit other year 12 students and young people as it has taught me that if you don’t stand up for yourself, you will never be free. Through the life of Yamina and the stories of Mrs Raï, I learned that fighting for your beliefs is one of the most important things in life. If you do not, you’ll never be
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