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Shiva Arastui’s short story “Fridays” is a must-read chef-d’oeuvre describing the events as they unfold one Friday, as a family whose father is under arrest following his inciting of people against the government, waits to see the proceedings of the case on the TV. The Friday is abnormal for the Iranian family as described by the writer.
The family would spend a Friday like this watching the movies. As described by the writer, anxiety and tension dominates the place as the clock ticks towards the hour of the reading of the news. The author features several literary devices like personification, symbolism, and repetition among others, which in turn makes the piece as informative as it is.
The writer of this short story uses personification when describing the stealthy movement of time towards the reading of the news. This is more so when she describes the behavior of the clock. She says, “At every tic tack, an eye with an artificial eyelash, winked near the face of the clock, at the corner above.
A red mouth, with big lips laughed at the bottom of the plate. When the hour struck, the eye remained open, the lip gathered and whistled” (Arastui, 2002, Para. 1). The reader through the device realizes the heightened tension in the story depicting the anxiety as it is at that point when a single minute seems like ages.
The writer uses symbolism to depict the slow movement of time. The anxiety that the family has and the optimism portrayed after getting at least a chance to see its father under arrest on the charges of inciting people against the government through his poetry stands out through the slow movement of events and time.
In another instance, the writer portrays the two women who beg for their lives in the courtroom as “heads”. This gives the indication that as opposed to the father’s friend who would not compromise his stand for the simple reason of sparing his head, the women were cowards and what matters is their heads that they intend to take to the saloons even when they are facing oppression.
In displaying the extent of brutality, the writer uses euphemism to conceal the threats of rape that the three men issues to Sharzard’s father the day they arrested him. One of the three men says, “”You would be human, when your daughter turns into woman, in front of you” (Aratsui, 2002, Para.13).
Repetition too assumes a good share in the story. For example, the writer refers to the woman who being attended to in the salon as ‘the Colonel’s Wife” emphasizing or rather depicting the woman as different from the other people in the story. She seems so relaxed as opposed to the others who appear eagerly waiting for her exit to get the chance to watch the news.
Her husband is a prominent person in the government and so she has nothing to fear (Dickens, 2000, p. 36). She further seems concerned with her beauty and is taking her time to visit the salon as opposed to the others in the story who offer the services and never find time for their beauty. The constant repetition depicts the difference between the woman and the family both physically and politically.
Aratsui strategically allocates different roles to different characters whose performance successfully drives home the intended moral lessons, specifically political and social issues. For instance, the hairdressers in the salon reveal the issue of discrimination properly through the way they treat one woman differently from the others.
However, the overall story depicts the political events that shape the Iranian society where Shiva Aratsui achieves in her quest to reveal the perspective of these events through the experiences of a family actively involved. The author’s presentation deserves comments through the way she employs the aforementioned literary devices purposely to highlight serious political issues without any token of biasness of supporting a particular political affiliation in the country.
Aratsui, S. (2002). Fridays. Tehran: Markaz publications. Print.
Dickens, T. (2000). Literary Devices and Politics. New York; Penguin Books. Print.