Arab American Literature

1603 Words7 Pages
Indeed, the Arab world has failed to represent itself. There is lack of critical and cultural study of the West and the United States in comparison to overflowing representations of Europe and the United States in Arabs’ daily lives. There are violent confrontations between Arabs and the United States. Arabs regularly consider the United States as the cause of their woes and Americans see Arabs as a symbol of violence and anti-Americanism, the result would undoubtedly be an ending conflict. Said stresses
“I’m not saying that Arabs are innocent, nor am I saying that the fault is entirely the United States. ... There is no monolithic U.S., just as there is no monolithic Arab world or Islam – which has now been compressed into one rather
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In the mainstream, Steven Salaita asserted that Arab American literature is still a teenager that has been solidified only within the past two decades (4). Not only did September 11 flex the wings of Islamophobia in the United States, it also initiated a sort of a cultural renaissance of Arab and Muslim Americans (209). Despite despondency and apprehension exhibited against Arabs and Muslims, Ella Shohat and Evelyn Alsultany envisioned that the East has become increasingly interwoven into the American cultural fabric (10). That is what I found in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land, and Alia Yunis’ The Night Counter, two magnificent pieces of literature that weave the East and the West altogether.It is in these two stories that we find East meets West. In Once in a Promised Land, the reader is introduced into two cultures, familiar yet different. It depicted varied aspects of living in a country that seems foreign and familiar as well. Though Salwa and Jassim are professional in their careers and dedicated to their work, holding American citizenships, and leading a secular life, they could not escape from the winds of 9/11 that blew every Arab and Muslim. Finding no problem or discomfort in constructing an American identity and embracing the American cultural norms and life styles, they both were disheartened by the rejection…show more content…
The Hakawati can be considered as The Arabian Nights of this century, in which the past and present intervene. Written in a language that the West can easily understand and interpret, Alameddine puts an end for misrepresentations and fabrications which have usually been derived from the Arabian Nights. By requesting the reader to listen to a story that would take one on a journey beyond imagining, he implies that reality is limited. We need sometimes to further our scope in order to comprehend reality itself. Though the criterion for accepting an Arab Muslim is distancing from one’s religious duties, The Hakawati mirrors both secularism and religion, demonstrating that the two do not ultimately impede one another and neither do they entirely meld. Rather, they are embedded in each other, such that religious ideology, tradition, and narrative inform real world politics and family structure while secular politics, family life, and stories conversely and simultaneously affect the remembering and interpretations of Islamic lore (Saleem 184). The Hakawati reframed tales from Biblical sources, re-imagined Arabian myths, and experimented with al-Kharrats’ legends from past generations; it is a novel that craves for celebration of the diverse Arab Middle Eastern culture. In an interview, Alameddine proclaimed
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