Graduation Year

2015

Date of Submission

4-2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Middle East Studies

Reader 1

Ghenwa Hayek

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© 2015 McClatchy J. Ruskin

Abstract

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War effectively destroyed Palestinian society. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes and sought refuge in foreign lands, where they attempted to reestablish their lives and culture. This thesis examines the role of memory in shaping a Palestinian diaspora identity and uses Mahmoud Darwish’s book The Buttefly’s Burden to identify important aspects of the collective Palestinian experience. As the Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish provides authentic representations of the Palestinian struggle to reconcile the loss of their homeland. Examining Darwish’s work, this thesis explores four significant sources of Palestinian memory and identity: exile, absence, occupation, and the land. Through these sources, Darwish is able to recreate Palestinian society in his lyric and poetic genius.

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