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Al-Mutlaq, Basmah (2003) Visions of Transition: A comparative study between two women writers: Sahar Khalifah and Nadine Gordimer. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This comparative study is between two female novelists, the Palestinian, Sahar Khalifah and the South African, Nadine Gordimer. Both writers share a feeling of marginality for reasons of sex, race and politics. They also envision through their fiction the future in both Palestine and South Africa. The thesis starts by highlighting the political, social and literary backgrounds of both novelists. Then it sets out the theoretical framework of this study which focuses on the literary tradition of women, and the way women have been defined, represented, and repressed in the symbolic system of language. The thesis examines Sahar Khalifah's sequel novel al-Sabbar (Wild Thorns, 1976) and Abbad al-Shams (The Sunflower, 1980), as well as Bab al-Sahah (The Courtyard Gate, 1990). The analysis focuses on the social and political issues, from the 'us' perspective, shedding light on the female protagonist's psychology and her struggle to counter the marginalising and homosocial rules. It examines various issues such as marginality and women texts, ambiguity in the novel, the female imagination, subjectivity and the new images of women, mother-daughter relationship and sisterhood. Similarly, in Nadine Gordimer's novels Burger's Daughter (1979) and July's People (1981) the analysis focuses on the social, political and psychological issues from a colonial perspective, highlighting at the same time the white female protagonist's feeling of alienation in South Africa. The thesis ends with a concluding chapter giving a comparative analysis of the two writers and their works elaborating the common literary themes, aspects, similarities and differences. Moreover, it analyses the visions of transition they both foresaw in their relative countries in these novels.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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