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"This rhythm does not please me": women protest war in Dunya Mikhail's poetry

by Al-Athari, Lamees

Abstract (Summary)
In her collection of poems The War Works Hard (2005), Iraqi-American poet Dunya

Mikhail presents her readers with unembellished insight into the Iraqi war from a woman's

perspective. This perspective is rarely voiced in Iraqi war literature which is dominated by male writers concerned with men's heroism at the battle front and boundless patriotism. At the same time, these male authors rarely depict Iraqi women's experiences of war beyond the battle

grounds. Even when women are present in such literature, they often share their men's point of view on war and voice only their acceptance of it. Mikhail, however, contemplates a counter narrative to this stereotypical female role by presenting women who protest war and the destruction it causes. Her poems portray mothers, lovers, sisters and daughters who protest war's

brutality and injustice. Some of the women in Mikhail's poems protest war by directly or

indirectly criticizing its institutions and condemning the leaders who promote it. While other

women in her work find that their protest lies in their de-fragmentation of the destruction and

loss caused by war, thus refusing its power over them and their loved ones. Yet, the most

important form of women's protest of war in Mikhail's work is recollection. Through the

recollection of their fragmented memories and lives, Mikhail's women manage to survive and

find a spark of optimism in the darkness that war has unleashed. Their survival and their ability

to re-establish their lives apart from war and the presence of men constitutes a powerful and dramatic protest of war's control over their lives.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kansas State University

School Location:USA - Kansas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:dunya mikhail arab american women in war iraqi poet iraq literature 0591 english 0593 s studies 0453

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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