East and West in Zakia Khairhoum's the End of My Dangerous Secret
Keywords:Patriarchy; freedom; emancipation; West; East; Self; Other; discourse; representation; space; culture
Literature is an arena for cross-cultural representation par excellence. It is in the literature that images produce an awareness of the Self and Other, and of the Here and the Elsewhere, however small that awareness maybe. The accounts of many canonical literary figures in the history of literature featured portrayals and descriptions of radically different people and customs, exotic lands, and far-off places where everything is outlandish and anomalous. Literary representation, therefore, plays a pivotal role in shaping perception, creating historical and textual monoliths, stereotypes, and essentialization about ethnic minorities, race, sexuality, and gender. This article investigates the politics of representation of the Self and the Other in Zakia Khairhoum’s novel The End of My Dangerous Secret (Nihayat Sirri L’khatir, 2008) from a postcolonial feminist’s point of view. I argue that Khairhoum does not only shatter the foundations of patriarchy in the Arab world but also undermines and subverts Western colonial discourse and its claim of supremacy. The novel foregrounds a different pattern of representation that has not yet been sufficiently investigated, which is the denigration of both the Self and the Other and the quest for a third cultural reality that is defined in terms of gender equality, justice, human rights and democracy.
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