Imprisoned Souls in Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea


The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the theme of imprisonment, both physical and spiritual, in two novels, Men in the Sun (1963) by the Palestinian Ghassan Kanafani and Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) by the Dominican Jean Rhys. The paper will explore how both writers depict the suffering of their characters, who are stuck in in an unwelcoming environment and uprooted from their own land and homes, ending up in literally physical imprisonment. This leads them to inevitable death as in Men in the Sun or to sheer insanity as in Wide Sargasso Sea. Regardless of totally different geography and culture, the paper attempts at showing the universality of the predicament of alienation and the unsurmountable hurdles individuals like the protagonists in both novels experience in their relentless pursuit of their basic human rights: identity, recognition, and an opportunity in a world where they are crushed by social, economic, cultural, and political powers. By tracing the inner and outer conflicts of these characters, the paper will demonstrate that the personal and the political are inextricably linked regardless of ethnicity or nationality. For this purpose, the methodology that the paper will follow includes an historical overview, exploring the political incidents that led to radical changes in Palestine and Jamaica, comparing and contrasting the different conditions and anguish the characters in both novels have to undergo, illustrating by examples from the novels, and supporting views by referring to literary critics and thinkers.

Author Information
Lutfi Hamadi, Lebanese University, Lebanon

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2018
Stream: Comparative Literature

This paper is part of the ACAH2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon