Patriarchy and power
: the political susceptibility of Islam in the writing of Nuruddin Farah, with particular regard to the position of women

  • Betty Joan Oliver

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    Farah has stated that he sees women as the symbol of the subjugated self in every one of us, but to claim that Islam, in Somalia, is the fundamental reason for this subjugation is to be greatly mistaken. (1) With an insight rare among Muslim men, he understands women, their reactions, their aspirations and their fears: in the plight of Somalia's women he sees an analogy to the present plight of his country.

    Through the novels of Farah, and through his unpublished play, I intend to discuss in this thesis the manner in which the ruling military dictatorship which until recently was in control of Somalia manipulated the Islamic traditions of Somalia not only to subjugate women, but to bring the entire nation under its tyranny.

    The position of Somali women is but one manifestation of this oppressive regime which curtails all liberty and obliterates all criticism. The General's ability to pervert Islamic truths, elevating himself to a parody of the God he purports to worship, will be compared with the teachings of the Koran in Farah's three novels which form his-trilogy, Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship.

    The effect of arbitrarily imposed colonial boundaries has had a devastating effect upon post-independent Somalia, creating a quest for national identity and a burning desire for a unity based on cultural and linguistic cohesion. This will be examined in Farah's last novel, Maps.
    Date of Award1992
    Original languageEnglish

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