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Abstract

This study aims at investigating the dilemma of creating a counter discourse that speaks against the dominant androcentric one in Alifa Rifaat’s fiction. The study explores the characterization of the protagonists of two short stories: “Distant View of a Minaret” and “Bahiyya’s Eyes,” culled from Rifaat’s collection Distant View of a Minaret and Other Short Stories (1983). These stories present two different paradigms of resistance that the female protagonists use, which are speaking and silence. The study argues that both speaking and silence are attempts to heal women’s cyclic trauma, as they are means of representing women’s experience and oppression over time. The protagonists’ response to the hegemonic discourse in the two stories is carnivalesque because the use of language (or its absence) aims at deconstructing the phallogocentric discourse and establishing a new one. Accordingly, Rifaat uses two narrative points of view in each story to express the protagonists’ new discourses. Speaking and silence, thus, are not to be judged according to the symbolic discourse of men; instead they are placed in the purview of the Discourse of the Hysteric, which is regarded as an arena of resistance for women.

Note on the Author

Sumaya M. Alhaj Mohammad is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at the Department of English Language and Literature- Zarqa University/ Jordan. She received her PhD. in 2016 and her MA. in 2010 from the University of Jordan. The title of her Ph.D. dissertation is "The Caribbean Self: Traumatic Memory and Diaspora in the Works of V. S. Naipaul and Caryl Phillips", and the title of her MA. Thesis is "Ezra Pound's Imagism: A New Perspective in Modern Poetry." She published several scholarly articles in Arabic and English. Her current research interests are Feminism, Gender Studies, Postcolonial Literature, Psychoanalysis and Cultural Studies.

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