How is the experience of exile dealth with in Palestinian memoirs

2353 Words10 Pages
How is the experience of exile dealt with in Palestinian memoirs? The experience of exile is dealt with differently depending on the memoir, but the overall picture received is one of feeling lost, unwelcomed, isolated and being unable to fully integrate into their new society. Memoirs often provide an insight into the lives of different types of people, Ghada Karmi’s ‘In search of Fatima’ memoir provides a detailed look at the life and experiences in exile from the Palestinian perspective. Karmi and her family were forced to leave their homeland in the late 1940s due to the creation of the State of Israel. After being forced out of their homes by the settling Jewish population, the family moved to England as refugees. Growing up in…show more content…
The first impression of exile felt by the family, especially in her Mother and Father, is that it will only be a temporary affair and that they will soon be back in Palestine. Ghada’s Mother completely rejects London and the British way of life by refusing to learn English, not getting central heating and changing the flooring in the kitchen from carpet to tiles so it resembles that of a Palestinian kitchen. ‘My mother had decided to recreate Palestine in London. Like some Palestinian Miss Havisham, for her, the clock stopped in Jerusalem in April 1948’.3 When the Karmi’s arrived in London, Britain still had the rationing system in place since the war which involved food vouchers. Since they were Muslim and were prohibited from eating pig-meat by religion, Ghada’s Mother gave their pork and bacon coupons to their local greengrocer; this ‘ensured his lasting devotion. He picked out his best fruit for her or kept it aside until she came round.’4 The memoir recalls how the family continued to participate in Arabic traditions whilst in England, such as reading the Quran and eating Arab based foods. It is also noted how ‘She [Ghada’s mother] listened avidly to the news coming out of the Arab world about Palestine and she and my father

    More about How is the experience of exile dealth with in Palestinian memoirs

      Get Access