Locating Muslim Female’s Agency in Post-9/11 Fiction: A Reading of Once in a Promised Land and Saffron Dreams
This paper critically analyses the female agency of Muslim protagonists living in the USA as immigrants or diasporans depicted in “Once in a Promised Land” (OIAPL) and “Saffron Dreams” (SD) authored by Muslim female post-9/11 fiction writers. The Orientalist, neo-Orientalist and postcolonial writers portrayed Muslim women as veiled, segregated, oppressed, devoid of power and rights, subjugated by men, subservient to patriarchal norms and religious injunctions. The colonizers employed the notion of rescuing the Muslim woman and civilizing the uncouth Orient to justify their colonial rule. After the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terrorism also re-attempted the salvation of the burqa-clad Muslim female in the midst of post-9/11 power discourse and Islamophobic social rhetoric. This study critically analyses how Muslim female protagonists negotiate their female agency in the third space of hostland in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The qualitative data reviewed from the text of selected novels is textually analysed with the help of close reading technique from the vantage point of Bhabha’s (1994) postcolonial third space and post-9/11 power discourse. Contrary to the reductive tropes, it has been found that the Muslim females actively execute their agency to emerge as independent, self-reliant, motivated, decisive, confident and responsible individuals in the third space of the US.