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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