In the novel “Woman at Point Zero,” Firdaus goes through many experiences that she believes are “rebirths,” which she eventually realizes were just illusions. From one place to another, Firdaus experiences endless suffering that grows to define her as a person. On numerous occasions, she is treated as nothing more than a body as man after man comes into her life, only to engage her sexually and leave. There are a few instances in which she is abandoned by people who had come into her life and given her hope that she had found someone like her in the world. Another time, she meets a woman named Sharifa, who turns her into a prostitute. Being that this has happened after Firdaus was abandoned yet again, she feels an overwhelming sense of purpose. She says “when I opened my eyes and looked into the mirror I realized that now I was being born again with a new body, smooth and tender as a rose petal. My clothes were no longer rough and dirty, but soft and clean. The house shone with cleanliness. Even the air was clean. I breathed deeply to fill my lungs with this pure air (p. 57).”
Another instance in which Firdaus goes through a form of rebirth is when she begins to develop her sense of self-worth. She has learned the role that money plays in the world she inhibits, and understands how she can determine her own price as a prostitute. She begins to turn down men who approach her with money, insisting that she won’t go home with them. When asked why, she replies “Because there are plenty of men and I want to choose with whom to go (p. 73).” She had turned him down because she says he had dirty fingernails, whereas she prefers clean ones. I feel like this is bittersweet for Firdaus, who has gained more self-esteem and pride than she has ever had in her life. She has arrived at a sort of paradox: sell her body for sex in order to feel empowered and good about herself.
The most definitive moment of Firdaus’ life occurs when she loved a man named Ibrahim, but she discovered that he was just like every other man she had ever met- a liar. She says “Now I was aware of the reality, of the truth… Now there was no room for illusions. A successful prostitute was better than a misled saint. All women are victims of deception. Men impose deception on women and punish them for being deceived, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so low (p. 94).” She has finally arrived at a truth, that all men are the same. Although some are just plain evil on the surface, some deceived her and made her believe that they were good people when in fact they weren’t. She comes to realize that these men are the worse of the two. They deceive and entice others with a false image of goodness, an idea that drives Firdaus to lose all hope in the world. This grows to define her entire experience on earth, a world without hope, while she is completely robbed of the good life she deserved.