Fadia Faqir’s My Name is Salma: An Examination of New and Past Self Identity Clash

Topics: Arab, Sudan, English language Pages: 19 (4674 words) Published: May 28, 2014
 Fadia Faqir’s My Name is Salma: An Examination of New & Past Self Identity Clash
Fadia Faqir is a British Arab (Jordanian-British ) writer and a defendant of women's rights in the Arab world. This can be clearly manifested in such litrary works as novels, short stories and essays, most of which discuss the intrafamiliy femicide in defense of honor. In her third novel entitled "My Name is Salma" (2007), Faqir tackles the tribal longing for defending their honor, self guilt, shame, ignorance, exile, self realization, and self destruction. Transitioning from Hima, the heroine’s hometown, to Exeter, Salma, the Heroine, faces so many tribulations that will (positively or negatively? if relevant anyways) affect her personality while living in Exeter. She appears to be torn between her desire to assert her identity and to reconnect with her shameful past. This reconnection is not self imposed by the character; to the contrary, it seems that the past keeps haunting her when she tries so hard to settle down and build her own new self. Towards the end of the novel, Salma leaves her British Husband and newly born son to look for her daughter, Laila, who was the offspring of an illegal relationship between Salma and Hamdan, the son of the tribal chief. Layla (either Layla or Laila) is taken from her mother immediately after being born; her cries follow Salma throughout novel, hindering Salma from building her identity and dragging her forcefully towards the past which eventually leads to self destruction. Why is this journey to the past? Why is this eagerness to reconnect with a past that is vain, shameful, and self destructing after achieving self development? These questions, among others, will be answered while attempting to analyze two major issues in the novel: a journey to self realization and a journey back to the past. Exile:-

When an exile was a citizen in his/her country, s/he is eager to leave the ugliness and rottenness of tradition and culture behind. A journey is set to the modern world where freedom of the body and mind is all what matters. However, who guarantees the tranquility of the troubled mind in a foreign land? Or is it a sweet daydream that keeps hovering around the mind and fabricates bitter reality into a desirable condition? Salma leaves Hima unwillingly to save herself from being shot {i would use another word as in killed or even better murdered if appropriate in the context) by her brother after smudging the honor of her family with mud. She is saved by Khairiyya, a Libanese civil nun and is taken to live for a while in Ailiyya Convent in Lebanon. There, Sister Asher convinces Salma to leave with her to England where the latter would find a secure hideout against her kinsmen’s oppression. Salma asks “‘Hingland? Fayn hinglaand?’ [Arabic for 'England? Where is England?'] “’It is far enough,’ said Francoise and rubbed her left eye. ………

‘La ma widi hinglaand,’ I said and hugged her [ Arabic for 'No I do not want England'] ‘I know you don’t want to go, but you will learn to like it, habibti,’ she said (Faqir 86)
Salma’s renouncement of leaving Lebanon, which is close to her country, (depends on how you look at it in the sentence) is natural (maybe controversial as it is inferred from the next sentence: clash?). She is afraid of being cut off the umbilical cord of her roots although she’s (she is: no contraction in academic writing unless allowed in literary writing) no longer wanted among her tribe. She browbeats (I am not sure if that is appropriate word, but it could be!) the unknown, but there is no other choice except being embraced by an unknown culture and tradition to be saved. Said ( is that an author (Edward Said: Reflections on Exile) or your husband? In-text documentation plus Reference needed) argues that “Exile is not, after all, a matter of choice: you are born into it, or it happens to you. But, provided that the exile refuses to sit on the sidelines nursing a wound, there are...
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