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Freedom in “A Temporary Marriage” & “Woman At Point Zero”


These two stories were very interesting, because of the large parallel drawn in regards to what I feel is the main theme of both, which is the women’s freedom. Although both women crave freedom from the traumatic events they were forced to endure, Firdaus seems much more passionate about escaping and puts up more of a fight. Mrs. Shin however seems to be more afraid (completely understandable) and takes a less intense approach to dealing with her situation.

Firdaus in ‘Woman at Point Zero’ has endured severe physical and emotional trauma that led her to do what she felt was the only way of escaping her pain, which was killing a man and getting imprisoned. She feels that being locked away and sentenced to death is the ultimate escape from her pain. This is heartbreaking that death is more comforting, and the most realistic option for her than anything else. She can not escape her environment and be happy, so why not just go all the way and end her life. At one point in the book Firdaus talks about death like it is something to look forward to, it is a way to gain control in a life where she has never had an ounce of control over any situation. This outlook was so fascinating to me, because despite everything that she has been put through, her outlook is that it all happened so that she could reach her full potential within the universe. Very interesting, and very different than Mrs. Shin’s outlook.

Mrs. Shin has been in an abusive marriage, and when she finally escapes she loses the custody battle for her daughter. When her ex moves him and their daughter to America, Mrs. Shin is forced to figure out how to get to her, and get her out of that atrocious situation. When Mrs. Shin finally finds her daughter and ex, she tells her ex to hit her because no one is watching. Then at the very end we see her cutting herself to release the pain that she has been carrying. I know that Jylian said that this did not make sense to her, but I can understand the logic there. Mrs. Shin, similarly to Firdaus, felt that she had no control over her life and the pain that has been forced upon her. The only way she knows how to gain that control back is to be the one who creates it for herself, that way she is not giving another the chance to hurt her worse than she has herself. When someone is desperate and broken, their logic flips a switch. They do whatever they can, however they can fathom it, to survive and this is what we can see happening here.

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