Matar emphasise the fact that women are influential even in a patriarchal society by highlighting the theme of male which he incorporates within the patriarchy. He eradicates the allusion that women in Libya have no rights, “I cried because I understood that I was now the property of another man…” (Pg 173) this powerful quote chosen by Matar, portrays the pain and emotions experienced by real women in cases where arranged marriages occur. However he also shows how Suleiman didn’t understand his role in the society, when he uses the character of Suleiman to say “We are…two open pages of the same book”, this gives us the meaning of equalisation, between man and women, which as Matar knows in the time of 1979 in Libya women were never equal to man.
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Matar describes how Libyan men are cruel and vicious towards traitors of Libya, he uses the character of Ustath Rashid, to show the cruelty of the regime. As the character, Ustath Rashid is hanged on live television for being a “traitor” (Page 187). Matar uses this scene to revolt and distress readers about the realisations of Libya, and if you were suspected of crimes against ‘Qaddafi’, you would be captured and killed. “They looked like children satisfied with the swing they had just made…” (page 187). This shows how the people of Libya supported the ideas of Qaddafi, Matar wanted to expose this as it is important to understand that not all people in Libya were fearful of Qaddafi but rather some agreed with him and his cruel ways. “They say the man melted like ice in a fire”, “The cheering became louder and more furious…” (page 187). Matar wanted to demonstrate how people can disappear and to show how powerful Qaddafi was.
Through the novel, Matar values children and makes this clear that children are seen as another innocent casualty of Qaddafi’s totalitarian regime. The author’s deliberate use of Suleiman, a nine year old narrator, as opposed to the adult Suleiman, as it shows how children aren’t able to fully comprehend what is going on around them, which gives us an indication that by having a child narrate the novel, would have an unbiased perspective rather than an adult who would be against the regime but also because children don’t hold back from handing out private information.