War Memories and the Refusal of Male Dominance in Shakir's "Oh, Lebanon"

Hassan Ali Abdullah Al-Momani


This study investigates the role of the war memories in the construction of the female gender identity in Evelyin Shakir's "Oh, Lebanon," in which the female protagonist refuses to belong to her Arab identity when she lives in the United States because of the brutal war memories she witnesses in Lebanon. Such memories make the protagonist unable to accept her submissive gender role in the Arab culture. In other words, these memories of war motivate the protagonist to revolt against her father's will and to choose her own way of building her identity away from the influence of her Arab culture and traditions. The methodology of this paper is based on a close reading analysis of some quotations from Shakir's short story which will be analyzed to see how the war memories in Lebanon have influenced the construction of the protagonist's gender identity. The study concludes that the trauma of war motivates Arab female gender to react against the male dominance and traditions because war, with its dark memories, might uncover that hidden desire in female's subconscious mind to feel unlimited or constrained with the male dominance.


War memories, male dominance, gender identity, cultural identity, Arab culture

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.1p.118


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