The Road Not Taken: Shedding Xenophobia, Embracing the Other in Umm Zakiyyah’s <i>If I Should Speak<i/>

Authors

  • Raihanah M.M., National University of Malaysia (UKM)
  • Ruzy Suliza Hashim, National University of Malaysia (UKM)
  • Noraini Md. Yusof, National University of Malaysia (UKM)
  • Arezou Zalipour, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Abstract

In Umm Zakiyyah's If I Should Speak (2000), the protagonist, African American Christian Tamika Douglass experiences travelling down the road not taken when she befriends her two minority Muslim American college flatmates, Dee @ Durrah and Aminah. Raised in a predominantly Christian society, Tamika develops a great mistrust of Islam and Muslims. However, her close and personal encounter with the two Muslims transforms her appreciation of the religion. Through Tamika's dialogue with them and personal observations of their daily living, Tamika journeys into the road less travelled by most Americans, one which is foreign albeit close to home. In the course of the narrative, Tamika learns to shed some of the xenophobic attitudes she has adopted growing up in the predominantly non-Muslim environment and embrace the internal conflicts that have crippled her awareness of the “other.” This paper considers the motif of the road as a metaphor for life and explicates how in journeying the road less travelled, Tamika finds a new sense of appreciation of herself and the other.

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Author Biographies

Raihanah M.M., National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Raihanah M.M. currently heads a two-year State-funded research on Muslim Minority/Muslim Diaspora. Her research and publications are in the areas of Multiculturalism and Minority Literature. Her most recent publications include a co-edited book, Gender, Multiculturalism and Re-visioning (2011).

Ruzy Suliza Hashim, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Ruzy Suliza Hashim is currently heading the Centre for Gender Research at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her book, Out of the Shadows: Women in Malay Court Narratives (Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), won the National Book Award in 2005.

Noraini Md. Yusof, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Noraini Md. Yusof is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UKM. Her areas of interest include History and Literature, Creative Writing and Gender issues in Literature. She has published short stories locally and internationally.

Arezou Zalipour, National University of Malaysia (UKM)

Arezou Zalipour read for her Ph.D. in Literary Studies at the National University of Malaysia. She was previously attached to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UKM as a senior lecturer.

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Published

2011-06-15

How to Cite

M.M., National University of Malaysia (UKM), R., Hashim, National University of Malaysia (UKM), R. S., Yusof, National University of Malaysia (UKM), N. M., & Zalipour, National University of Malaysia (UKM), A. (2011). The Road Not Taken: Shedding Xenophobia, Embracing the Other in Umm Zakiyyah’s <i>If I Should Speak<i/>. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 5(1), 43-53. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/530

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