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East meets West: gender and cultural difference in the work of Ahdaf Soueif and Monica Ali

Ahmed, Elsayed Abdullah Muhammad. 2010. East meets West: gender and cultural difference in the work of Ahdaf Soueif and Monica Ali. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

My thesis looks at encounters between East and West in the novels of Ahdaf Soueif and how similar issues and themes can be seen in Monica Ali's 'Brick Lane' , a novel that brings together Bangladesh and the UK. It is divided into five chapters. Chapters 1 to 4 focus on the socio-historical contexts of Egypt and British Colonisation and themes in two major novels by Ahdaf Soueif, 'In the Eye of the Sun' (1992), and 'The Map of Love' (1999). Chapter 5 takes a cross-cultural perspective, focusing on Monica Ali's 'Brick Lane' (2002). My selection of texts has been based on thematic similarities and the ethos that the novels manifest despite their different contexts. In this study, I aim to offer an analysis of the specificities of the novels in question and of their commonalities. Soueif and Ali have been widely published and read, and they have received recognition and accolades from the media and the academy alike. Both Soueif and Ali have stepped across cultural dividing lines to claim a voice of their own, creating a meeting ground based on plurality and openness to various cultures. They can be categorised as diasporic Muslim writers who write in English in Soueif's case in an exilic environment, investigating the misconceptions that exist in the spaces between East and West. My way of seeing and/or narrating is hybrid insofar as it draws on Egyptian and British cultures. My goal is to strengthen a view of Britain and Egypt as contemporary multicultural societies where hybrid cultural identities are questioned throughout. I wish to argue that Britain, Egypt and South Asia easily inhabit shared histories which have shaped and influenced each other. All share rich histories and humanist values, which if better understood, could be seen to complement and sustain each other.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Funders: Egyptian Government
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 17:41
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54113

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