Loss and Exile: Refugees’ Experiences in Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin

Author:   Payel Pal
Publisher:   GRFDT
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Susan Abulhawa’s debut novel Mornings in Jenin (2006) intricately captures the traumatic vicissitudes of the Palestinian refugees against the historical backdrop of the incessant Israel-Palestine political conflict. Delineating the pathetic turmoil of a Palestinian family across four-generations, this novel lays bare nuancedly the brutal histories of the Jewish occupation of the land of Palestine. This paper seeks to study how in portraying the horrific devastations of Israeli forces that led to the uprooting of thousands of Palestinian families since 1948, Abulhawa insightfully uncovers the harrowing experiences of displacement, dispossession and exile that have haunted and paralyzed the Palestinian lives down the decades. Through Amal, the female protagonist, Abulhawa focusses the profound longing for home, belongingness and stability that perpetually distress the refugees. Keeping in view the critical observations made by contemporary writers and thinkers, this paper will analyze how Abulhawa not only brings to foreground the Palestinian people’s problems of homelessness and deprivation but more significantly depicts their interminable desire to return to a homeland of their own, either physically or psychologically. Ironically, Abulhawa portrays that this mourning for the homeland becomes more poignant for the later generations with the loss of territorial/ geographical entity of Palestine. Pertinently, this paper will elucidate how Abulhawa’s novel can thus be regarded as a crucial intervention in the contemporary diaspora studies, serving as a compulsive reminder to the global community to humanely address and alleviate the predicament of Palestinian people who survive rootless and estranged in different corners of the world.

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