Marriage and Spousal Relationships in Tears

ch 1:

  • when they got married, father was in his 30’s and mother was 18
  • grandmother readily agreed because father’s father only had one wife
  • grandma ran away from her husband with children..they do not have a good relationship
  • father paid grandpa dowry at naming ceremony

Ch 2:

  • men like women plump
  • mother tells Halima the reason/story of why grandma left grandpa
  • normal for men to take more than one wife
  • grandma’s father took 9 wives
  • people got married in red clothing
  • it took 3 women 5 days to prepare grandma for her wedding
  • father complains to mother. he cannot directly complain to grandma because she is elder of family
  • the worst thing in their village is for women to not take a husband

ch 3:

  • mother and father quarrel about drinking. women object to their men drinking
  • if a husband dies, one of their brother marries widow

ch 4:

  • mother gets sick and father is “besides himself with anger”. he takes her to the hospital (pg 40)
  • mother gets pregnant
  • grandpa shows up at naming, grandma accepts it

ch 5: mother and father travel together to send Halima off to school

ch 8: mother doesn’t object and speak out about the TV like grandma

ch 9:

  • boys school is nearby and the girls get attention in passing
  • english teacher talks about white weddings
  • mother lays out rules for changes in father’s behavior
  • mother and father are worried about Omer’s temper so they go see a Fakir

ch 10: *wedding chapter*

  • groom ritually shaves head to cleanse himself from all body hair
  • bride’s dowry includes money, animals, new clothes for bride’s family
  • bride’s family “spirits her away” so they can get more money from the groom’s family (pg 118)
  • weddings are remembered better if fighting between families occurs
  • dancing and singing ritual Zaghawa song
  • party lasts all night and wedding ends with breakfast
  • Halima decides she wants to marry a man from the city that wears suits and ties
  • cousin asks Halima’s hand, but father refuses until she gets educated. the family is angry
  • father tells Halima a story of a niece that gets kidnapped by the ‘groom’ because her father refused marriage
  • mother and grandma refuse to leave the country because they think father is overracting

ch 11:

  • Mona will get married because she didn’t pass high school
  • Kadiga is married and has a son by the time she is 18. her husband does not believe that women should be educated
  • grandma is heartbroken over news of the death of her husband and sons, which shows Halima that she still loves hin

ch 12:

  • many people in the village think that nobody will want to marry Halima now that she is educated
  • Dahlia wants to marry for love

ch 13: Mona is married and has a little girl

ch 18: Abakher has two wives and wants to have children as long a possible

ch 20: mother tells father about Halima’s rape because she is too embarrassed

ch 21:

  • father asks Sharif’s family for marriage for Halima. he is educated so it will be a marriage of equals
  • Halima and Sharif’s family accept
  • wedding preparations are short. Sharif is not present because he is in hiding. when he returns a real wedding will take place
  • actual marriage is just readings from the Koran
  • groom’s mother give a cow for gift
  • Halima feels as if her marriage is a “rebirth” (pg 236)
  • Halima holds her rape a secret from Sharif
  • Halima imagines life with Sharif

ch 22: father dies and mother mourns

ch 24:

  • Abdul suggests that they lie and say they are man and wife instead of travelling strangers
  • when they arrive at Abdul’s house, wife is surprised, but hides her emotions
  • private moment to explain situation

ch 25: in England, without a certificate, Halima is not married

ch 26:

  • Halima searches for information/updates on Sharif
  • finds number and contacts him, he had been looking for her too
  • first meeting since wedding
  • Halima moves in with Sharif
  • Halima tells him her rape story, and he confesses his secrets to her
  • physical intimacy is difficult at first, but then she becomes pregnant
  • they are very happy together

ch 27:

  • Sharif supports Halima’s decision to speak out
  • Sharif is present for baby’s birth

ch 28:

  • Halima and Sharif search for a new house
  • policemen take Sharif, Halima goes into hiding
  • Sharif gets deported, then can come back. they make a life together


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