Yousef is a tormented man, haunted by demons from his past and his present, and though he espouses ideas of freedom and respect for women, he is bound up by his own cultural attitudes, which betray him again and again in his dealings with them. In the story, he has divorced his wife and now lives has begun living with a rich woman, which is perhaps a betrayal of his communist values. In addition, he is jealous of all his women, and cannot bear to think of them with other men. But the demon which haunts him the most is the time he spent in prison, and he frequently remembers the horrific tortures and violence he saw and experienced there. His fundamentalist brother is no help, either, as his narrow, intolerant views offer him neither solace nor insight.
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