Reclaiming the motherland: (Eco)feminism in Sahar Khalifeh's The Inheritance and The End of Spring
Angierski, Kristen Nancy
MetadataShow full item record
My thesis explores the (eco)feminist implications of two novels by feminist, socialist, and Palestinian nationalist Sahar Khalifeh. Although not explicitly ecofeminist, Khalifeh's The Inheritance (1997) and The End of Spring (2008) are both deeply engaged with ecofeminist--and more straightforwardly feminist--concerns. In The Inheritance, Khalifeh highlights the ways in which patriarchal norms impede liberation in Post-Oslo Palestine; through an interrogation of the hierarchical, binary thinking that places women and nature below men and culture, Khalifeh demonstrates how the devaluation of women obstructs nationalist aims. She does so most explicitly through her description of the three failing projects--industrial, cultural, and maternal--that structure the novel. In The End of Spring, Khalifeh moves away from the pessimism that occupies The Inheritance and reclaims the traditionally masculinist narrative of Palestinian liberation and resistance. The novel emphasizes women's bodily and maternal contributions to Palestinian resistance movements and makes visible the compatibility of feminism, motherhood, and the notion of a motherland. That is, Khalifeh evades simplistic representations of woman as land or woman as motherland and shows how the maternal woman, rather than conceding to patriarchal behavioral norms, might be both a nationalist resistance fighter and a creator of feminist children. Ultimately, Khalifeh calls for a celebration of feminine embodiment without reducing women to their reproductive capabilities and in so doing, also reveals ecofeminist leanings.