Story begins with a social issue fear, the fear of so tall as told in these words in the short story “The Tallest Woman” by Maham Javaid
“Where she tied her pants – to below the ankle, and yet
the pants were ending at her lower calves. Her heartbreak turned into a
familiar fear when her mother said, “Oh Zainoo, I’ll bring the tape measure”.
(Javaid, Maham (2019) p-1)
height measurement not only carried out once, it is in routine and the moment
in Zainab’s conscious was five feet and five inches, when she carelessly
released the measuring tape which stroked on her finger and blood exuded. Then,
once measurement five feet and nine and at last seven feet crossed. Average
height of women in Pakistan almost five feet and the height of Zainab is much
more than others that Zainab looks like a giantess between others.
Maham Javaid used the word measuring ritual; word ritual means religious ceremony in which serious actions were performed and measuring action also presented like ritual actions; “Zainab against the wall, the pencil mark, the tape stretched out, five feet and nine inches.” Here, measuring practice is emphasized and shows intense worries of Zainab’s mother about her daughter’s height.
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Political/Governmental Issues presented in short story The Tallest Woman
Maham Javaid has presented many political issues in this short story. One issue is exploitation of peasant farmers by the military which is one powerful department of government. Peasants were fighting for the land rights and fighting and snatching is there, even crops are set on fire.
Second political issue is corrupt leaders as in the story Zainab was assaulted by young peoples of the town in which one of them is the son of the elected elder and when she and her mother complaint to elected elder, he instead of putting his hand on Zainab’s head, he asked, why a young girl found lonely beside the canal with five young peoples. It is symbolic that people elect leaders who are their representatives but when they were elected they themselves exploit the peoples.
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Feminist movement is divided in three waves; first wave feminist movement, second wave feminist movement and third wave feminist movement. All three waves of feminist movements worked for the female rights, right to vote, gender equality, sexual harassment and power relations. Maham Javaid presented few feminist issues that prevailing in Pakistani society in her short story “The Tallest Woman”. Feminist issues that presented in short story are as following.
Marriage is an important issue especially for women in Pakistan. In this short story the marriage is main issue in beginning of the story that Zainab becomes taller and taller day by day and her mother was worry about her, she said, “What kind of man will agree to marry a woman that taller than himself?” and when become a giantess her mother know, “no sane man would ask for the hand of a giantess”.
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