Portrayal Of The Middle East

1589 WordsNov 21, 20167 Pages
that I could make love to whenever I wished.” The point of this criticism is not to say that men like that do not exist in the Middle East, but that when so many male characters are portrayed in such a way it fails to contribute anything greater to the study of the Middle East where parts of its history has already been tainted by Orientalists and revisionists. Since Al-Shaykh has already boldly challenged female stereotypes in her novel it would possibly bode well if you managed to contest some of the male stereotypes as well in an effort to break the mold that the Middle East has been casted in. The second vantage point through which Al-Shaykh shows the Lebanese Civil War through is that of a political exile as shown by Uncle Hashem. Since Hashem participated in a failed coup d’état of the government he has been exiled to an African country and forbidden from returning. Hashem’s role as an exile helps the reader understand how important love of country is to people in the Middle East who have been exiled or have fled as refugees. Given Hashem’s exile status he needed to find a way to sublimate his profound feelings of love and nostalgia for Lebanon and found his gateway in Zahra. Since Zahra was born and raised in Lebanon, she was for Hashem a living memory of everything he had left behind. For Hashem Zahra was not just a symbol of Lebanon, she was Lebanon. This almost uncontrollable love of Lebanon is what partially forced Hashem to become so physically attached to

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