Analysis of the Discourse of Power in Etel Adnan's Play Like A Christmas Tree

Hossam Mahmoud Alashqar


This paper seeks to investigate the sources of power in the discourse of an Arab-American writer, Etel Adnan's one act play, Like a Christmas Tree. The play represents a heated argument between two figures who stand for two different ideologies and who fall within the frame of 'binary opposition', transcultural misunderstanding, and colonial hegemony versus native resistance. Supposedly, an American Journalist, Jim, is expected to dominate the discourse by force of his cultural and professional background, but sarcastically enough, the Iraqi butcher, Badr is the part who represents power and domination throughout the play. The current paper depends on more than one tool of analysis: Norman Fairclough's (2001) and Foucault's(2004) concepts of power and discourse, Grice's theory of 'cooperative principles'(1989), Brown and Gilman's study of 'address forms' (1972), and Georgia Green's contribution in the process of 'turn-taking' (1989).The study celebrates an analysis of data which uncovers the power of discourse in the exchanges of both characters and sheds light on the identity of both of them in an attempt to affirm that 'power' is not necessarily on the side of the stronger.

Keywords: discourse, power, address forms, turn-taking, interruption, topic control     

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