Hanan Al-Shaykh’s the Story of Zahra: A Post-Modern Feminist Literary Criticism of Liberation through Madness ( Vol-3,Issue-2,March - April 2018 )
Author: Dr. Reem Atiyat
Keyword: Violence, male authority, insanity and liberation.
Abstract: This paper investigates the notion of liberation through insanity in The Story of Zahra by Hanan Al-Shaykh. While many scholars and literary critics have explored domestic violence in literature, and notions of liberation through sexuality in The Story of Zahra by Hanan Al-Shaykh, the impact of domestic violence as a triggering factor in The Story of Zahra by Hanan Al-Shaykh which leads to liberation acted out in the context of madness has not been addressed. In order to investigate these aspects in the novel, this paper draws on the views of post-modern feminist literary criticism. This literary approach is crucial to highlighting the gender inequality.The analytical approach followed in this paper is that of thematic analysis. The paper mainly highlights the recurrent themes of physical violence and insanity. Then, the paper examines the content of the novel to support the argument about the association between insanity and liberation. Thus, three main issues are addressed: Domestic violence types and definitions, feminist theoretical views in relation to patriarchal authority, and notions of insanity in relation to liberation in feminist post-modern literary criticism. The main argument in this paper is that insanity is utilized as a tool directed towards liberation from male authority and oppression towards women; hence, the need arises to replace the recurrent term 'madness' in The Story of Zahra by Hanan Al-Shaykh with 'mental rebellion against male control and oppression'.
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