Arab American Literary Analysis

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In the late 1800s, Arab American literature began to emerge in the USA. The Arabs arrived in North America as immigrants. Moreover, they settled in cities such as New York and Boston and they wrote in newspapers about political and sectarian events in the Middle East. Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani and others formed the Pen League and they introduced the Mahjar school of Arab-American writing. Their objective was to create bridges between East and West and create philosophical meeting points between Arab and American ideologies. They used many poetic lines from both east and west to build bridges between the two worlds. ( Majaj, “Arab –American Literature: Origins and Developments” ) Some features of Arab American literature are: asserting…show more content…
Others make use of nostalgia to assure their ethnic identity. This celebration and self critique is a dominant theme in Arab- American writing. For instance, in Mornings in Jenin Susan Abulhawa criticizes the passivity of the Arabs. In chapter Four of the novel, Yehya knows that other villages have been attacked by Israel and he knows that Ein Hod would be the next one yet he does nothing about it. Abulhawa writes “But he did not go to help those in al Tira” (p.30, Mornings in Jenin). Nostalgia is clear in Abulhawa’s description of Amal’s feelings about the sewage incident as Amal says “I felt a sweet nostalgia and longing for old friends.”(p.199, Mornings in Jenin). This incident that took place in the college house reminded her of Jenin when the sewers of the camp overflowed and she would sleep on the roof with…show more content…
For him, reconciliation means accepting the differences in values, beliefs, ritual customs, and even in folk customs. Rihani "went beyond the western Enlightenment paradigm of toleration espoused by Voltaire and developed his own approach to reconciliation as an existential search for a way of being that transcend but include opposite.” (Nathan and Stika). He believes that "reconciliation was the matter of both the head and the heart, requiring not only clear thinking but also an expansion of personal identity.” (Nathan and Stika). To conclude, Rihani was torn between spiritual morals of theEast and the experimental nature of the Western values; so he believes in reconciliation and tolerance as a formidable bridge between two different cultures. Rreferences:- 1- Maja, Lisa. “Arab-American Literature: Origins and Developments.” www.asjournal.org. American Studies Journal, 2008. Web. March 17, 2015. 2- “Ameen Rihani.” www.ameenrihani.org. The Ameen Rihani Organization, May 18, 2014. Web. March 22, 2015 3- Funk C., Nathan and Betty J. Stika. Ameen Rihani:Bridging East and West: a pioneering call for Arab-American. New York. University Press of America.

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