This thesis attempts to explore the development of female identities in two contemporary diasporic novels Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters (2002) and Idris Ali’s Dongola (1993) that tackle the notion of diaspora differently. Desirable Daughters portrays the modern type of diaspora, that of immigration, while Dongola portrays the Nubian diaspora as a typical classical diaspora. The main goal of the thesis is to examine the different implications of diaspora on the protagonists’ identity formation as females in order to know where they fit in the diasporic spectrum. Tara and Halima share some major factors such as being members of ethnic minorities, and being brought up in oppressive patriarchal societies. Each has a different notable experience in terms of individual and social identity transformation due to physical or metaphorical displacement. The thesis will read their different diasporic experiences through intersectionality feminism which is a paradigm of interlocking systems of oppression based on race, class, and gender. The identities of both characters are analyzed against the three factors which are integral to the idea of diaspora. Each of these factors may be looked upon differently after the character’s displacement resulting in the character’s identity development. The three axes of the intersectionality theory pave the way for understanding the similarities and differences between Tara and Halima in relation to their diasporic situation. Tara discovers her true self and accepts her dual identity after returning to India, while Halima’s total loss of her homeland, Nubia, and her husband results in her violent revenge at the end.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2016

First Advisor

Soliman, Mounira

Committee Member 1

Nimis, Stephen

Committee Member 2

Mottawa, Khaled



Document Type

Master's Thesis


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


I am glad to have this opportunity to thank all those who have helped me in writing this thesis.Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Professor Mounira Soliman for her patience, and guidance. She has greatly helped me in the research process and writing of this thesis. I would like to thank the rest of my thesis committee: Professor Stephen Nimis and Professor Khaled Mottawa for their insightful feedback and comments. My sincere thanks also goes to the Faculty members of Al-Alsun at Misr International university. Without their precious support, it would have been possible to conduct this thesis. Special thanks goes to my role model and figure of inspiration Dr. Dalia Saad who taught me literature and criticism courses as an undergraduate student. Her belief in me since I was her student has been an incentive for writing this thesis. I would also like to thank my father for his continuous support and motivation. Last but not least, I would like to thank my friends who continuously and generously supported me all the way, especially Rana Mounir and Alia Saad.