Arabian Jazz: The Challenges of Being an Arab American

Sultan Alghofaili


This paper investigates how Arab-American literature depicted the challenges of being an Arab-American prior to the events of 9/11. It argues that before the terrorist attacks, the complications of being an Arab-American were not necssairly related to religion. This idea is studied through looking closely at Diana Abu-Jaber's novel Arabian Jazz (1993) where the novel’s main character Jemorah, the daughter of a Jordainian immigrant, finds herself in constant struggle to find a unique sense of identity. That is mainly caused by the fact that her identity is being torn apart between two conflicted worlds; while the first is limited to the constraints of her family and inside the home, the other is found everywhere where she needs to assimilate into the society where she lives in. To highlight the outcome of these conflicting worlds, the paper looks at W. E. B. Du Bois’ concept of double-consciousness where one’s sense of identity is always looked at through the eyes of others. The paper concludes that for the second generation of Arab-Americans, the sense of identity is lost between the insistence of the first generation to preserve their Arab heritage, and a white America where the customs, traditions, and values of this culture is regarded as outsider.

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: