Trauma and Recovery in Shaila Abdullah’s Saffron Dreams

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate of English Literature, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran.



This paper aims to analyze the impact of the traumatic experiences on the identity formation of Shaila Abdulla’s main character in Saffron Dreams and elaborates on how she manages to overcome her diverse emotional burdens. The author, who is concerned with Muslim women’s multiple identities and struggles in the American Diaspora, discusses the challenges of living in the increasing Islamophobic climate in the aftermath of 9/11 through the life of her heroine, Arissa Illahi, a Pakistani writer and artist, who loses her husband in the collapse of the World Trade Centre. Judith Herman’s conceptions of trauma and recovery are applied to discuss the impact of trauma on the identity formation of the character and how she succeeds to go through the process of healing. The paper also analyzes the literary strategies and narrative techniques in this feminist trauma narrative to indicate how the author has tried to represent what is originally marked by voicelessness. The results of the study demonstrates that although the traumatic event of 9/11 and its consequences has devastating effects on Arissa, she as an artist is able to utilize her psychological resources and to take advantage of familial ties to cope successfully with the traumatic experiences in her life, tolerate adversities, and even develop an optimistic view point about new possibilities for her future life. This paper supports the aim of contemporary feminist traumatology which is to make women’s trauma visible, give meaning to it, and ultimately create frameworks that promote the healing of trauma. Cathy Caruth, Judith Herman, and Laurie Vickroy are among the main theoreticians of the research.     


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