Scheherazade Comes to Town: Representations of Arab and Arab American Women in Alia Yunis’ The Night Counter

Ghassan  Abou-Zeineddine (University of Michigan, Dearborn)

In my paper, I examine the narrative use of Scheherazade in Alia Yunis' 2009 novel The Night Counter, in which the folk heroine appears before a Lebanese American matriarch, Fatima Abdullah, in Los Angeles in 2004. At eighty-five years old, Fatima believes she will die in less than ten days, and begins to recite her life story to Scheherazade. In drawing on Sandra Stahl's notion of a personal narrative, I argue that Fatima's oral narrative serves to develop representations of Arab and Arab American women that resist western stereotypes and misconceptions of such women as being oppressed and silenced.

Part of 09-06 Exploring Folklore and Literature, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm