Living in the Borderlands: A Postcolonial Reading of Nerdeen Abu-Nab’ah’s Oh, Allah, I Delivered a Female Child

Shadi S. Neimneh, Abdullah B. Al-Sheik Hasan, Abdullah F. Al-Badarneh, Asma H. Badran


Within a postcolonial theoretical framework, this article highlights the political struggles and cultural displacement of Palestinians using a recent novel published in 2013 and entitled   (Oh, Allah, I Delivered a Female Child) by  (Nerdeen Abu-Nab’ah). It investigates the meaning of living in the borderlands and the effects of double consciousness on the main characters/narrators: Abbas, his brother Abu-Raja, and his daughter, Miriam, who visits Gaza strip in Palestine for the first time in her life. The analysis shows that Abu-Nab’ah strongly believes in such idea as the borderlands being the place most Palestinians inhabit physically and symbolically inside and outside their homeland because of the oppression and discrimination they face. The article examines the complicated interrelationships among ideas of dislocation/exile, the (in)visible borderlands, and double consciousness by applying the theories of Gloria Anzaldúa, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Homi Bhabha. Moreover, it interrogates the role of memory in reconstructing a national story about resistance and exile while simultaneously endorsing the role of women in documenting national loss and revolution. The result is a tale of cultural resistance against dislocation and exile and an articulation of the predicament of being a stranger within one’s country and abroad.


Abu-Nab'ah, Anzaldua, Bhabha, Du Bois, Borderlands, Double Consciousness, Cultural Hybridity

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Abu-Nab'ah,Nerdeen. ربّ إني وضعتها أنثى Oh, Allah, I Delivered a Female Child. Beirut, Lebanon: Arab Institution For Studies and Publishing, 2015. Print

Abu-Nab'ah, Nerdeen. Personal Interview. Interviewed by Asma' Badran. May 2, 2017.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987. Print.

Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994. Print.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Ebook.

Said, Edward W. Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2002. Print.

Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.



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