Susan Abulhawa's Appropriation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

in Critical Survey
Yousef Abu AmriehUniversity of Jordan, Jordan

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The purpose of this article is to examine how Palestinian American novelist Susan Abulhawa appropriates in her novel The Blue between Sky and Water (2015) some of the themes, tropes and motifs that Shakespeare employs in Romeo and Juliet (c. 1596) in order to depict how wars and conflicts turn Palestinian people's love stories/marriages into tragedies. In particular, love at first sight, the (negative) impact of families on love stories, exile/banishment, use of herbs/traditional medicine, humour and parties that practically turn ominous and fateful are among the themes, tropes and motifs that both Shakespeare and Abulhawa employ to represent love stories/marriages that are embroiled in ongoing violent events. Overall, in its depiction of ‘love and violence’, Abulhawa's novel appropriates Shakespeare's greatest love tragedy and shows the conditions under which Palestinians live in Gaza.

Contributor Notes

Yousef Abu Amrieh is a Professor at the University of Jordan. His first monograph, The Arab Atlantic: Resistance, Diaspora, and Transcultural Dialogue in the Works of Arab British and Arab American Women Writers (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012), is based on his 2011 PhD thesis at the University of Manchester. Since then, he has published a number of articles exploring such themes as cultural translation, identity and multiculturalism in the works of Arab writers in diaspora.

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