Revising Trauma Theory: Trauma as Identity Construction and the Discontented Self in Fadia Faqir’s My Name is Salma (2007)

Nuha Ahmad Baaqeel


This essay will examine the concept of traumatic identity in My Name is Salma, exploring theories of traumatic identity and their relationship to the self in Arab Literature, the social context of the text and its historical resonance, and representation and identity via the female traumatic experience. The analysis will seek to reflect upon the impact and convergence of feminism, trauma and post colonialism within issues like the construction of the self, belonging, and the juxtaposition of homeland and exile. This essay argues, in part, that Arab women writers embrace trauma in their texts, while simultaneously critiquing the effects of trauma on the construction of personal identity. In particular, the work of Jordanian author, Fadia Faqir, in her novel, My Name is Salma (2007), provides a first-person narrative of the narrator and protagonist, Salma, who defines her personal identity as constructed from trauma, yet who is unable to process, mediate, or overcome her traumatic past. As she nevertheless attempts to construct a coherent narrative of self, the character of Salma allows readers insights into her thoughts, actions, and the way she views herself. This essay asserts further that the types of trauma that inform Salma’s narrative of self also speak to the experiences of many women in Arab states, such as the social stigmatization of so-called illegitimate birth, the violence of honour killing, racial abuse, Othering, and the dire circumstances and suffering inherent in life as a refugee.


Identity, Trauma, Arabic Novel, Homeland and Exile

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