The Representation of the Car as a Social Space in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land

Hanan Qaoud, Yousef Abu Amrieh


The purpose of this study is to examine the representation of the car as a social space in Laila Halaby’s novel Once in a Promised Land (2007) and explore its interrelationship with issues of literary chronotope, counter discourse, and identity formation. The analysis of this study is interdisciplinary in nature; it tackles the car across social, psychological, and literary domains. Though the article takes Bakhtin’s theory of chronotope as a point of departure; it puts forth Henri Lefebvre’s theory of the production of social space to explicate how Halaby’s characters utilize their cars to incessantly produce social relationships with people from underclasses. In view of these two theories, it is found that Halaby transposes the semiotic function of the car, propelling it from the realm of conformity and nationalism to the realm of resistance and socialism. Halaby’s characters are depicted struggling to unshackle themselves from the stereotyping images imposed on them. By presenting the car as a medium and means for socializing with people from distinct social and ethnic backgrounds, Halaby generates a holistic humanistic narrative that deconstructs the racist and binaries thinking that pervaded the official discourse in post 9/11 America.

Full Text:



World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders. If you have any questions, please contact: