The Question of Identity in Abu-Jaber’s Birds of Paradise

* This article has been carried out during sabbatical leave granted to the author from AlAl-Bayt University during the academic year 2019-2020


  • Mohammad Salem AlMostafa Al al-Bayt University



This article examines the problematics of identity in the light of the traditional American family’s restrictions, parental over-protectiveness, father’s patriarchal authority, and mother’s internalization of such an authority as presented in Abu-Jaber’s Birds of Paradise (2011). By examining the connection between family and children’s attempts of constructing subjectivity, the article reveals the psychological anxiety of parents about children’s potential autonomy.  The result of this investigation suggests rejection of parent’s control on shaping children’s identity, and provides a critical perspective into identity construction and formation. My approach delves into identity theories and (feminist) psychology to shed light upon how identity is performed and conceived in this contemporary literary text.


Key Words: Identity, Patriarchy, Gender, Selfhood, Object Petit a, Imaginary Order, Symbolic

                     Order, Anxiety, Motherhood


Author Biography

  • Mohammad Salem AlMostafa, Al al-Bayt University
    Assistant Professor of English Literature at Al al-Bayt University, Jordan. Doctorate in English Literature & Criticism (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA) in 2012. Six published articles on Shakespeare’s King Henry V, John Keats & Malik Ibn Ar.Rayb, Arundhati, Ishiguro, Renaissance Arab and British poets, & Feminist Politics of Location, El Guindi, and Shamieh. Research interests: Postcolonial/Feminist theory, Renaissance drama, English/Arabic poetry & Arab American literature.


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