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The "Motherland": An Archetypal and Postcolonial Readingof Ghassan Kanafani's Umm Saad
Working at the intersection of postcolonial and archetypal criticism, this article investigates the role of women in resistance literature by looking at a piece of postcolonial Arabic fiction, Ghassan Kanafani's Umm Saad (1969). Rooted in Arab politics concerning land rights and anti-Zionist struggle, the text offers a related archetypal approach to the depiction of women in politicized literature. Umm Saad allegorizes the struggles of Palestinians to reclaim their land. A poor peasant woman, the titular heroine embodies the intimate connection between Palestinians and their land, acting as a helper to combative men and a primal symbol for attachment to the enduring land. Umm Saad is a personal mother and a trope for a feminized colonized territory, metaphorically representing the Palestinian nation and assuming mythological features enabling her to identify with the Earth Mother to send a message against dispossession. Since she embodies positive mother archetype symbolism (the personal mother and the Earth Mother), she acts as a source of fertility and protection. Expressing a political statement via the mother archetype, Kanafani appeals to a basic human need, i.e. the need to settle down in oneís land, which makes woman an indispensible part of the collective unconscious of any nation.
Keywords: Archetypal Criticism; Kanafani; Mother(land); Postcolonial Arabic Fiction; Umm Saad.
Cited by: Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures (JJMLL) 2021, 13 (4): 681-700
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