Journal of English Literature and Culture
International Journal of English Literature and Culture
Vol. 2(6), pp. 94-103, June, 2014
Political Struggle and Cultural Resistance in Translated Arabic Novels: (Re) representing the Self
Jihan Zakarriya Mahmoud
Cardiff University, Address: 22 Haxby Court, Felbridge Close, CF10 4BH, Cardiff. Contact Number: 07548739849.
Accepted 17 June 2014
Th[e] whole notion of a hybrid text, the issues of exile and immigration, crossing of boundaries—interest me for obvious existential and political reasons. There are certain figures who are most important to me, renegade figures, who transform marginality into a kind of passionate attachment to other peoples […] who were able to go from one side to the other, and then come back.
A hybrid text is a text that results from a translation process. […] Although the text is not yet fully established in the target culture (because it does not conform to established norms and conventions), a hybrid text is accepted in its target culture because it fulfils its intended purpose in the communicative situation (at least for a certain time).
In the above two
quotations, Edward Said and Charles Schäffner consider a translated test
as a regenerating hybrid force of liberation, openness and moral, human
(re)assessment of traditions and codes of conduct. While Said argues
that ‘translated Third World literature are projects of writing back,
revising, reappropriating’, Schäffner describes the ‘the relationship
between the intercultural communication and translatory action as
positive and progressive’. Both authors describe the 'hybrid text' as a
method of comparative exploration of intercultural connections and the
overlapping of socio-economic interests worldwide, suggesting that a
hybrid text can establish a bridge between the marginalized and the
centre or between the self and the Other. This essay focuses on the
representation of female characters in four translated Arabic novels by
the Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany and the Palestinian novelist Sahar
Khalifeh, as a form of cultural resistance to both the Western
stereotypical and colonial representations of Arab women as subordinate
and over-sexualized and Arab phallocentric cultures portraying women as
obedient wives and mothers with no public roles. It argues that the
novels of the two authors not only bear witness to the realities taking
place in their societies but also represent these realities as new
images and traditions resistant to Western and native marginalization of
women as subordinate Other. The selected translated texts not only speak
for the long-silenced Arab Other, but also connect politically and
intellectually with the Other worldwide.