The purpose of this thesis is to examine the role of exile in three works of contemporary fiction, particularly in view of how exile comes to be accepted and viewed positively in the lives of the characters depicted. The meaning of exile is not restricted to being forcibly detached from one's home country and thrown into another. Hence, a new form of exile is portrayed in Leila Aboulela's The Translator, Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup, and Bahaa Taher's Love in Exile, three novels that present characters who understand the condition of exile in special ways. In these novels, the exile embarks on a unique journey and faces opportunities that open up the possibility of a new life. In each case, the exile must decide whether to merely suffer exile or embrace it. This thesis unveils a new face of exile in arguing that exile can be experienced psychologically as well as physically, while studying images of displacement and the underlying motives that underlie the condition of exile itself.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2015

First Advisor

Melaney, William

Committee Member 1

Nimis, Stephen

Committee Member 2

Motlagh, Amy


61 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Aboulela, Leila, 1964- Translator.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Gordimer, Nadine. Pickup.


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


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Every word in this thesis marks a significant milestone in my cherished years of exile. Written with care and compassion, it carries all the joy and sadness experienced during the period of its production. Being an exile myself, I would like to pay tribute to the time of home away from home. To my beloved cities of refuge, Cairo, Amman, and Toronto, and in memory of my beloved Baghdad, to which I owe all that I have today. To my beloved father, Mohammad Al-Saffar, who protected us in exile, and to my precious most kind-hearted mother, Suzy El- Gohary, who spent all of her years away from her family and country in favor for our well-being and best interests. To my dear brothers, Haider, Hussain, Abbas, and sister, Zahra, who have shared my childhood memories of exile, a family joined together by love and the hope of finding a home that would unite us one day. Each and every one of us has lived this time to which I have dedicated my years of study. To my beloved husband, Mohamed Tarek, I owe every insightful word and expression. He who gave me a country of my own and who stood by my side every step of the way, I thank you for bearing with me to the end. Every tear and smile I shared with you over the years is a landmark in this study of literature. To my respected professors, Dr. Amy Motlagh and Dr. Stephen Nimis, thank you for taking the time to read my thesis. To my honorable thesis advisor, Dr. William Melaney, who has held his breathe for a very long time to help me to compose this thesis. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the chance to put forth my first step on the road to knowledge. Thank you for your selflessness and dedication that have helped bring out the best in my writing ability. To my angel, Mallak, and my arriving Baby, I dedicate this work so that one day you will forgive me for all the time I spent away from you, constructing this thesis. Finally, to my respected and genius mentor and friend, Dr. Nihal El Naggar, who has implanted in me her love for knowledge and literature as an undergraduate at Ain Shams University. Your teachings have guided me every step of the way; thank you for believing in me and for giving me the motive to proceed.