Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

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Thesis (UNI Access Only)

Abstract

My thesis explores the hyphenation and the construction of the female self in Arabian Jazz (1993) by Diana Abu-Jaber and A Sky So Close (2001) by Betool Khedairi (both in the original Arabic version and the English version). The way the authors depict hybrid identities in the select novels is authentic and relevant to our past and present. Similar to other minority authors, ethnic writers like Abu-Jaber and Betool Khedairi face the dilemma of censorship due to their unconventional narration of the multi-ethnic characters in their fiction. I examine this representation of the female protagonists, Jemorah and the narrator in A Sky So Close, and their construction of the meaning of identity and home as essential to understanding hybridity in a Western context. I also examine the significance of jazz music for the hyphenated identity and the way Abu-Jaber artfully interweaves it in the plot.

By employing postcolonial theory to analyze the impact of hybridity on the female protagonist in Arabian Jazz and A Sky So Close, I present a possible solution for both characters as hybrid Arabs. Homi K. Bhabha’s discussion on hybrid identities in Location of Culture allows for cultural fluidity and thus presents a solution for the dilemma of hybridity. Bhabha discusses the concept of an “in-between space” beyond the rigid binary of nations, gender, and class (2). I explain how, when Jemorah and the narrator in A Sky So Close recognize the need for embracing their hybrid nature, they set themselves free from the unrealistic home and identity that only exist in the realms of their imagination. This thesis views Arabian Jazz and both versions of A Sky So Close as narratives that create a safe space for hyphenated characters to exist, not on the periphery of the society, but closer to the center.

Year of Submission

2021

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Department of Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Julie Husband, Chair, Thesis Committee

Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 74 pages)

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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