The role of women in the book, Palace Walk, by Naguid Mahfouz is a very interesting and unusual one which dwellers of the western hemisphere have a very difficult time understanding. I feel that in Palace Walk, the women have a very important role in the household, yet they are not respected for the great tasks that they do. However here in the western hemisphere and specifically in the United States, women are not housebound, and are free to do as they please.
From the very beginning of the book, the reader is introduced to the role of women. The reader learns that a primary role of the woman is to look after and wait on her husband. A specific example given is "She (Amina) woke up at midnight to await her husband's return from his evening's entertainment. Then she would serve him until he went to sleep. (Chapter 1, page 1, paragraph 2) It is also obvious that she did this every morning because "She woke at midnight. She always woke up then without having to rely on an alarm clock." (Chapter 1, Page 1, paragraph 2) It can also be noted that because the woman serves that man she is inferior to him and lacks power in the household compared to the man. This is clearly proven twice, once in (chapter 2, page 9, paragraph 2) when "In good conscience she (Amina) did not think she had any right to sit beside him (Mr. Ahmad Abd al-Jawad)." and the other in (chapter 1, page 4, paragraph 2) when Amina remembers "It had occurred to her once, during the first year she lived with him, to venture a polite objection to his repeated nights out. His response to her had been to seize her by the ears and tell her peremptorily in a loud voice, "I"m the man. I"m the one who commands and forbids. I will not accept any criticism of my behavior. All I ask of you is to obey me. Don't force me to discipline you."" From this quote it is also apparent that if the women does not fulfill her role she is punished. .
In addition to looking after her husband, the woman also have many other important roles.