Inthe Story Blank Page, The old woman tells a story of an order of Carmelite nunsin Portugal, who have been given the honor of making the bed linens for thewedding night, which is a traditional ritual for the royal princesses to marktheir blood stains on that sheet, which marks the symbol of their virginity.The nuns were given the task as they make the finest linen in the land.ButIn this traditional ritual, we find this issue to be consider as a patriarchalnature of the Portuguese society. The nuns are represented as the pure,nurturing, submissiveness, innocence, and self-sacrificing in nature. They aremodeled as the direct descendant of the virgin Mary, and with this referencethey are expected by the patriarchal society to remain pure, innocent,submissive and sacrificed throughout their entire life. They are framed alongthe society and is married to Christ while being remaining pure and virgin.
Thenuns are forbidden any form of sexual acknowledgment, and theirself-sacrificing nature is compared with the growing of the flax, as indicatedin the story: “the seed is skillfully sown out by labor-hardened virginal hands’,a task which they perform ‘joyfully’. But ironically, those hands also havemold under the nails which suggests that they are obedient in their task byrepressing their sexuality. And this flax seed also represents the patriarchysense that the very first linseed was brought from the holy land by thecrusader itself, which is obviously a male and that again connects the sincerityof the nuns in their task which is assigned by some male part. Andwith taking the nuns as reference the Blank Page reinterprets the Patriarchaltexts that the women’s honor is seen and perceived in terms of a singlephysical characteristic, i.
e. the women should be pure and virgin in nature,just like the nuns and only then they would be given the honor in the society. The Blank Page alsorecovers the ‘silencing’ or ‘muteness’ voices from the patriarchal impositionsas it connects the silence with the literal and metaphorical limitationsimposed upon women’s voice in a patriarchal society, and the nuns andstoryteller challenge the patriarchal impositions by appropriating ‘the word’and exercising ‘voice’. As the old storyteller confirms, with one of herfundamental rules of storytelling is to be loyal to the story, which is closelyrelated to the role of silence in communication, as written in the story: “Beeternally and unswervingly loyal to the story” and in the end the silence willspeak.
With this context, the nuns remains loyal to their task silently. Thestory makes the important difference between the silences which communicates orspeaks and others which do not. Silence can be seen as a means of activecommunication if it is deliberately communicated, even though it is suppressed,resigned or even denied, it can project confrontations, resistance and protestagainst the dominate voices of patriarchy. And so, the nuns remain loyal totheir task silently because they know that silence is more powerfulcommunication than speaking, whether they are in verbal form or in written andit will have more powerful impact as the silence “tells a finer tale than anyof us”.