Complete the following after you have finished reading the Foreword & Prologue (up until “The First Night: The Story of the Merchant and the Demon, which is the first story told by Shahrazad). Choose ONE of the following questions and write a two-paragraph response.
1. What is problematic about the representation of blackness in the Prologue? Discuss, making references to specific scenes. How was race conceived of differently in the Abbasid era than it is today? You will want to consult your study guide for this question, as well as the article “Women and Slaves: Gender Politics in the Arabian Nights.”
2. Summarize and analyze the folk tale embedded in the narration of the two brothers’ journey, when the sleeping demon’s wife speaks to Shahrayar and Shahzaman. Do you think this scene reinforces or challenges stereotypes of women? You will want to consult your study guide for this question, as well as the article “Women and Slaves: Gender Politics in the Arabian Nights” in Course Resources.
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