Half Arab, Half American: Searching for Cultural Roots in Mona Simpson’s The Lost Father (1992)

Riham Fouad Mohammed Ahmed


This paper investigates the effect of being culturally hyphenated in the formation of identity as represented in Mona Simpson’s The Lost Father (1992), in which the female protagonist is an Arab-American who belongs ethnically to Arab culture and culturally to American one. Because of the absence of her father, she knows nothing about her homeland (Egypt) and/or Arab culture. The protagonist has only slight and superficial image on Arabs derived from TV and her racist grandmother. This hazy background on Arabs makes her unable to identify her own cultural space, so she decides to travel to Egypt to make a journey of self-discovery. During her journey, she is disappointed in more ways; her father is not like what she thinks, and Egypt is not the best place for her. However, she, there, discovers her true self and searches for the true image of Arab culture and traditions away from imposed American representations, stereotypes, and labels.


Broken Families, Absence, Cultural Duality, Arab-American, Self-Discovery

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.1p.9


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