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Original scientific paper

Parents and Daughters in Two Novels by Arab American Authors: “Khalas, Let Her Go”

Ismet Bujupaj ; Fama College, Pristina, Kosovo

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page 185-209

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Multiple intersecting pressures bear upon immigrant parent-child, and especially immigrant mother-daughter relationships depicted in Randa Jarrar’s novel, A Map of Home, and Mohja Kahf ’s novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. Each of these novels is a Bildungsroman story, the protagonist of each being a budding artist. As the growing daughters struggle toward autonomy and parents react from complex pressures upon them, the reader gains insight on the interconnected structural and psychological factors in the intergenerational dynamics these novels portray, often with humor. The personal psychological history of the parents, as well as their displacement through immigration, in addition to anti-Arab racism in their U.S. settings and how each of these factors relates also to gender, complicate the parents’ relationships with their daughters. Through a close reading informed by postcolonial and psychological approaches, this article argues that these novels do not depict only one category of oppression but also offer multiple layers of critique.


Randa Jarrar, Mohja Kahf, Arab American novels, gender, intergenerational family Dynamics, parent-daughter relationships, Bildungsroman, immigrant parenting

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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