Images of Veiled Women in Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

Sana Ayed Chebil


Mohja Kahf is a Syrian-American writer and poet whose novels are firmly associated with an identity crisis. She is one among well-known Arab-American writers who not only employ the figures of veiled women to merely represent their otherness in American society but also to examine how they are perceived as physically and mentally different from those who were not. In fact, in the novel under study The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006), Kahf describes the journey of sufferings and pains the protagonist encounters in America and in her homeland, an identity crisis that is deeply rooted in the cultural and social context of the novel. To reach the main objective of the study‚ it is important to introduce the historical account of the origin of Arab-American literature‚ a role assigned to the first part of this study. The first section of this paper will be devoted to the representations of veiled women as the racial other. The following part will be devoted to analyzing the suffering of the female characters of the novel through which Khadra Shamy, the protagonist of the novel, attempts to go beyond gender and racial otherness. The next section aims to look at the narrative from a feminist perspective.


Muslim/veiled women, ‘racial Otherness,’ ‘gender Otherness’ ‘mimicry’.

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