Abstract

Drawing on psychoanalytic and sociocultural theories of suicide and self-harm, this article argues that Hosna’s suicide in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North (1969) and Aisha’s self-harm in Liana Badr’s The Eye of the Mirror (1994) delineate two psychological modes of the protagonists’ coping with patriarchal oppression. While Aisha’s self-harm is therapeutic and cathartic, Hosna’s suicide is revolutionary on societal levels. Although both acts stem from the destructive patriarchal practice of forced marriage, they vary in their extremity and significance. While Aisha temporarily acts out her internal distress and communicates her discontent by cutting off her hair, Hosna’s suicide embodies a feminist agenda based on self-esteem and resistance and threatens the sovereignty of the whole patriarchal structure.

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