Nadia is consistently wearing her robes even when they are no longer in her home country. Nadia never wears the robes as a religious statement but more as a way to prevent people from messing with her.
The type of robe that Nadia was wearing was probably a chador, which is a full-body shawl that is held together at the neck either by a pin or hand. It is popular in Iran.
In my Modern Middle Eastern Class, I did a culture project on reasons why women would wear head covering and robes. In Western Culture, it is sometimes tough to not see head coverings and robes as oppression of women. However, for many it is a very personal choice and not an oppressive act at all.
Dr. Mrs. N.Z. Vakil explains, “ I feel protected and confident when I step out [in a hijab].” This is very similar to Nadia’s reasons for wearing her robes. In America, we see dressing super modestly as a form of being politically conservative or as old-fashioned. But for Nadia and Dr.Vakil, it is something way more then that. Deciding to wear some sort of covering could be because of religion, style, protection or a statement. We have to understand that not every head-covering or robe is a forced act or as extreme as a burqa. There is no denying that Nadia is strong and independent with or without the robes.
5 thoughts on “Black Robes”
I think that this is very interesting and something that I did not really take into consideration. I know Nadia uses it in order to keep others from messing with her but not all women who choose to wear these robes have this intention.
This is something I did not think too much about at first but now I am noticing it likely carefully crafted and told.
Personally speaking, the black robe symbolizes Nadia’s personality somehow. From the novel, we notice that Nadia is a strong and independent woman. She doesn’t really eager to love inside her heart, instead, she prefers to be alone. At the beginning and the end of the story both mention that Nadia is unwilling to leave her apartment even entreated by Saeed during the war period. Like the color black which is so absolute that none of the colors can even change it.
I appreciate that Hamid did not end the story with Nadia leaving Saeed and taking off her robe, but instead keeping it on. Because I think it confirms that she wears the robe for herself and not for anyone else.
I agree with her motives for wearing the robe and how a robe can symbolize so many complex motives. I liked how Nadia persistently kept her robe on to stay true to herself throughout the novel. Even though she could have taken it off at any point, Nadia’s devotion to her individuality in all aspects of her life shows that she did not solely wear the robe to ward off men.