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The Analysis Paper of The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria (Essay Sample)


From the book the Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria discuss the aspects of marriage poverty and the culture in the country of Pakistan. Cite sources in hyper links for information found and used.

Analysis of The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria
Analysis of The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria
The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan is a book by Pakistani writer Rafia Zakaria that tells the story of Zakaria's paternal aunt Amina and her husband Sohail. After 15 years of marriage, Sohail decides to get a second wife. He goes on to divide his property amongst Amina and the other wife. The book's title is a reference to the upstairs apartment that Amina is given. This essay discusses the aspects of marriage, poverty and the culture in Pakistan as portrayed in The Upstairs Wife.
In the mid-1950s, Mohammad Ali Bogra, then the Pakistani Prime Minister, fell in love with his secretary. It dawned to him that he was legally within his rights to marry a second wife in accordance to the Islamic principles on which Pakistan was governed. According to Talbot, (2012), his decision to get a second wife spurred his wife Hamida Bogra to initiate a women's rights campaign aimed at reforming marriage law. Hamida's campaign led to the passage of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance back in 1961. As much as this law secured nominal marital protections for married women, it did not outlaw polygamy or allow women to file for divorce.
When Zakaria's uncle Sohail falls in love with a workmate 25 years later, there is nothing to stop him from doing what the former Prime Minister did. Feeling publicly humiliated and personally devastated, Amina goes back to her matrimonial in defeat. She eventually returns to her husband's home after being pressured by community elders, where she occupies the top floor while the other wife lives in the bottom floor. This is apparently in line with the Quran's directive that no Muslim man should marry more than one wife unless he is capable of treating them equally. While a man is allowed not more than four wives, the directive is meant to ensure that polygamy will not harm the wives involved (Talbot, 2012). 
In The Upstairs Wife, Zakaria narrates how her once-cheerful and lively aunt descends into bitterness and melancholy. Amina is particularly bitter with the alternate weeks when her husband is getting intimate with the other wife downstairs as she is close enough to hear their interactions. However, the author does not reveal wh...
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