In the Country of Men

"In the Country of Men"
Suleiman is a boy poised to enter “the country of men”. Discuss.

In the Novel In the Country of Men, Hisham Matar, explores and shares his childhood experience in the 1970's during the revolution in Libya. The time when men overpowered and completely dominated women. The title itself describes Libya as a country that belongs to men where women are constantly objectified. We see Suleiman wanting to become a man as soon as possible throughout the Novel and will take shortcuts to get there. However, he may not be as self-assured as he wishes; there are many instances throughout the novel that suggest this. On the other hand, the story also talks about a female being Suleiman’s mother - Najwa who believes she has lost her freedom at the age of 14 where she was forced to into marriage. However, there are certain expectations that both Men and Women must attain and we see this through the eyes of Suleiman.

Right from the begging, it can be easily seen that Suleiman wants to be a man. When Suleiman’s Father, Faraj goes on the so called “business trip”, Suleiman is the only male in the house making him the ‘man of the house”. The sense of control that Suleiman’s father is putting into his head gives Suleiman that urge to become a Man just like Baba - "Take care of your mother; you are the man of the house now". Suleiman handles these responsibilities very well. He takes care of his mother as best as he knows, when she is ‘ill’ every time baba is not home he feels the need to take of his Mother as his Father would. He even talks about him willing to take responsibilities like his father and be just like him, a man. Later in the story, we also see the cult of masculinity urge through Suleiman when he and the other neighbourhood kids were at Adnan’s house to watch him take his special medicine by injecting himself due to his. "I also prayed for a disease that would give me what Adnan had". Suleiman believes that Adnan’s disease makes him seem...