Issues Related to Arab Folklore with reference to Laila Halaby's Once in a Promised Land, a post 9/11 novel

Mubarak Altwaiji


This paper focuses on cultural and political perspectives that have impacted Arabic folklore and influenced transmission of folk elements. This study reviews a series of studies carried out by eminent scholars of folk literature concerning the impact of political events on national identity construction to measure how national collective memory reacts to external factors in order to maintain and recall folk elements. This strategy of maintaining national folklore and using it as a resistance strategy to the hostile post 9/11 America is employed in Laila Halaby's novel Once in a Promised Land in which Halaby, an Arab immigrant, intertwines tales from Arabic folklore with narratives and use them both as cultural therapy for Arab immigrants who become exposed to racial discrimination and physical assault in America and as component of building Arab identity. This was made possible in the novel by incorporating very short folktales relevant to issues faced by Arab immigrants.


Arab, Folklore, Folktale, Immigrants, Colonization, racism, 9/11 America.

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