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Title: The representation of women in contemporary Arab-American novels
Author: Al-Matrafi, Huda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 5286
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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Contemporary Arab-American women's writing is preoccupied with the ambivalence of the Arab-American identity. Analyzing Soheir Khashoggi's, Diana Abu-Jaber's, and Laila Halaby's novels, this thesis investigates what is meant by 'Arab-American' in these works by comparing and contrasting the representation of women as citizens both of an Arab world and an American one. Examining their novels from feminist and social perspectives and using these paradigms to understand Arab-American literature, the study shows how the three novelists introduce specific key themes concerning the lives of women, such as individuality, dignity, love, violence, the veil, virginity, honor killing, marriage, marital rape, and labor. A key feature of the three novelists' texts is the manner in which their fiction highlights the idealization of western civilization and the portrayal of Arab culture as backward. This generates two opposed worlds and clashing cultures, which introduce the reader to the issue of 'otherness', whether that of being a woman, an Arab, or an Arab- American. In others words, this study draws attention to how these authors' fiction testifies to the segregation and oppression of Arab women, on one hand, and demonstrates the resilience and strength of Arab-American women on the other. In order to do this, the authors frequently have recourse to authentic religious sources and traditional practices, as well as to political crises, such as the 9/11 attacks. This study aims therefore to show how these novelists, who are all Arab-American women living in the dilemma of political disasters occurring between the Arab world and the American world, have managed in their writings loudly to call for changes on personal, social, and political levels. Furthermore, it examines how the novelists involve the reader in the victimization of the female characters in order either to highlight, or to criticize the popular stereotypical image of Arabs and of Arab-Americans that exists today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available