Power Relations in Parinoush Sani’ee’s Sahm-e Man (The Book of Fate): A New-historical Perspective

Ali Taghizadeh, Mahin Pourmorad Naseri


This paper is an attempt to critically analyze Parinoush Sani’ee’s Sahm-e Man (translated into English as The Book of Fate) from a New-historical perspective. Beginning from before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and going forward through the reign of the Islamic Republic to the current years, the time-line of the story shows five decades of changing fortunes of Sani’ee’s main character. Reading her book in the light of New-historicism, this paper tries to show how the story reflects Foucauldian notions of resistance, power relations, normalization, and self-formation in the five phases of Massoumeh’s life. Considering Foucault’s arguments on how power imposes ideology on the citizens, the paper also tries to reflect how it changes in each phase of Massoumeh’s life and how it normalizes her to make her into a docile subject whom it can best control. Added to that, the paper tries to demonstrate her success in resisting the power and acquiring an ethical self through practicing a care for her ‘self’. However, in spite of all her resistances to power and normalization, in the last phase of the story when the novel’s discourse is more emotional, Massoumeh gives up resistance and accepts normalization, and for the sake of her children’s satisfaction, rejects Saiid’s proposal, and like most of the widows in her age, decides to live alone to the end of her life.


Sahm-e Man; New-historicism; Normalization; Foucault; Power Relations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21533/epiphany.v8i3.182


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