Date of Award

6-1-2013

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

English/Creative Writing

First Advisor

Fanny Howe

Second Advisor

John Fulton

Third Advisor

Louise Penner

Abstract

All five of these stories revolve around the lives of Middle Easterners, and most are set in Lebanon. They are stories of war, freedom, religion, human rights, and sexuality. Discussing sex, religion and politics is a taboo in the regions I'm writing about, and every conversation about sex is particularly embarrassing. In my stories, in places where human beings have no voice, sex comes to represent the central characters' own voice as a protest against war, a cry of freedom, and viewpoint into social structure and injustice.

"Inta or Inte" talks of a love triangle in a marriage shaken up by a new friend. A Lebanese man, who has been in the States for twenty-five years, has been married to a Jewish woman for six years. The wife, Rachel, brings home an Iraqi man she works with, named Mohammed. Mohammed is a gay refugee.

In "The Children of The Blanket", Karim recalls the Lebanese civil war, when his family fled from Lebanon into Syria. His flashbacks depict his tension, relationships, and storytelling.

"The Blossoms of the Lemon Trees" is about a mother trying to ease her tortured son's reentry to the world after being jailed in Syria for fifteen years. Since she knows she can't do anything about the pain in his mind, she tries to take care of his body. Eventually she tries bringing him pornography - she will do anything to bring her son back from the dead.

"Salma," a married Lebanese Christian woman living in Dubai with two kids, rediscovers her identity as a storyteller. This occurs through a resurgence of past emotions, when she joins Facebook and looks at the photo of her ex-lover, Samer, a Lebanese Muslim also married with children in Italy.

"The Salt Harvester's Son" is about Farid, who returns to Lebanon from America to be beside his ailing father. For Farid, the image of Adel, his father, shattered so early in life is difficult. He is ashamed of his father because of his perceived weakness, and the weakness manifests itself in Adel's smiles, his poetry, and his kindness in a country struggling with war.

Comments

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