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

Riham Fouad Mohammed Ahmed

Abstract


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.

Keywords


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

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abdelrazik, Amal Talaat, Contemporary Arab American Women Writers: Hyphenated Identities and Border Crossings. New York: Cambria Press, 2007.

Abinader, Elmaz. Children of Roojme: A family’s Journey. New York: Norton, 1991.

Alsultany, Evelyn. “Los Intersticios: Recasting Moving Selves.” This Bridge We Called Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Eds. Gloria E. Anzaldua and Analouise Keating. New York: Routledge, 2002. pp. 106-10.

Amireh, Amal. “Writing the Difference: Feminists’ Invention of the “Arab Woman.” Interventions Feminist Dialogues on Third World Women’s Literature and Film. New York: Garland Publishing INC., 1997.

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

Cochran, Lynn. "Unbecoming Gender in the Fiction of Anne Tyler, Mona Simpson, and Sue Miller." Unpublished Diss. (Ph.D.). UMI Number: 9623907. Indiana University, 1996.

Halaby, Laila. “Browner Shades of White” Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists. Boston: South End Press, 1994. pp. 204-5.

ــــــــــــــــ. “Home.” My Name on His Tongue. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2012.

ــــــــــــــــ. “The Journey.” My Name on His Tongue. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2012.

Heller, Dana A. "Radical Departure: The Feminzation of Quest-Romance." Unpublished Diss. (Ph.D.). UMI Number: 9820980. The City University of New York, 1989.

Hoyt. Heather Marie. “An “I” for Intimacy Rhetorical Appeal in Arab American Women’s Literature.” Unpublished Diss. (Ph.D.). UMI Number: 3220303. Arizona State University, 2006.

Jarmakani, Amira. “Arab American Feminisms: Mobilizing the Politics of Invisibility.” Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender Violence and Belonging. Eds. Rabab, Abdulhadi, Nadine Naber, and Evelyn Alsultany. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2010.

Majaj, Lisa Suhair. "Arab American Literature and the Politics of Memory." Memory and Cultural Politics: New Approaches to American Ethnic Literature. Ed, Amritjit Singh, Joseph T. Skerret, Jr., and Robert E. Hogan. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1996. pp.266-90.

ـــــــــــــــ, Paula W. Sunderman, and Therese Saliba. “Introduction.” Intersections: Gender, Nation, and Community in Arab Women’s Novels. Lisa Suhair Majaj, Paula W. Sunderman, and Therese Saliba, eds. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002. pp. xvii-xxx.

Naber, Nadine. “Resisting the Shore.” This Bridge We Called Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Eds. Gloria E. Anzaldua and Analouise Keating. New York: Routledge, 2002. pp. 301-3.

Naman, Mara. "Invisible Ethnic: Mona Simpson and the space of the Ethnic Literature Market." The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English: The Politics of Anglo Arab and Arab American Literature and Culture. Nouri Gana, ed. Edinbrugh: Edinbrugh University Press Ltd., 2013.

Orfalea, George. "The Arab American Novel." MELUS, Vol. 31 No. 4, Arab American Literature (winter, 2006). pp. 115-133 stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30029685 accessed 12/06/2014 17:01

Phillips, Robert. "Making Sense of What Takes Place Billie Dyer and Other Stories by William Maxwell: Scar lover by Harry Crews: Life Force by Fay Weldon: Daughters of Albion by A.N, Wilson: The Lost Father by Mona Simpson: Outer bridge Reach by Robert Stone." The Hudson Review, vol. 45. No. 3 (Autumn, 1992). pp. 491-98. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3851760 Accessed: 12/06/2014 17:02

Salaita, Steven. Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

ــــــــــــــ. Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader's Guide. Syracuse: Syracuse university press, 2011.

Simpson, Mona. "Anywhere." The North American Review, vol. 271, No. 2 (Jun., 1986), pp. 57-64. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25124738 Accessed: 10/02/2014 01:08

ــــــــــــــ. Anywhere But Here. New York: Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 1992.

ــــــــــــــ. The Lost Father. New York: Knopf, 1992.

Smith, Carlton. , and Deborah Paes de Barros. “Singing in the (Post-Apocalyptic) Rain: Some High/Low Notes on Post/postmodernism and Contemporary American Fiction.” American Studies International, Vol. 33, No. 1 (April 1995), pp. 1-18 URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41280844 Accessed: 11/06/2014 17:09

Smyth, Jacqui Marie. "Other Frontiers: Female Vagrants and Mother Outlaws in American Literature and Film of the 1980s." Unpublished Diss. (Ph.D.). UMI Number: 0591. University of Western Ontario, 1995.

Wittstein, Sandra Shor. “The Effects of Paternal Abuse and Abandonment on a Daughter’s Psychological Development: The Father-Daughter Relationship in Two Contemporary American Novels.” Unpublished Diss. (Ph.D.). UMI Number: 9629573. The Union Institute Graduate School, 1996.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.