Patterns of Binary Oppositions in Yousef Al-Mohaimeed’s Wolves of the Crescent Moon

Laila M. Al-Sharqi


Yousef Al-Mohaimeed’s Wolves of the Crescent Moon is a rich contemporary novel that deploys several effective narrative strategies and themes. Binary oppositions provide the novel’s most unifying thread. This paper examines how binary opposition is used as a structural device in the novel to explore the interplay between modernity and culture in Saudi Arabia by challenging previously unquestioned aspects of life in the contemporary society. The paper focuses on the manner in which binary oppositions inform the novel’s rhetoric of displacement, which becomes a driving force determining variation in values and notions within the privileged elite. Corresponding cultural changes emerge from this elite set, whose members pursue modernity in an exclusionary manner in their rapid assimilation into modernization. They appear incapable of understanding indigenous members of Saudi society who adjust less rapidly and who perceive changes in norms and traditions as evidence that the elite regard them as inferior ‘Others’.


binary oppositions, Saudi fiction, self-expression, modernity

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