Date of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Shannon R. Wooden


This study presents a postcolonial reading of Laleh Khadivi’s The Age of Orphans based on the theories of Edward Said and Homi Bhabha. The project offers specific answers to several questions: can this novel be read through the lens of Bhabha’s theory of hybridity, and, if so, what does such a reading reveal about culture and identity in The Age of Orphans? The hybrid self is an experience wherein the postcolonial self holds the shades of two identities and cultures, namely the colonizer and the colonized. In other words, the protagonist Reza lives in a space that represents the shadows of both traditional culture and modern culture. Reza’s inner tension comes from mixed cultural identity that is represented in his conflicting imaginings, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors towards the Kurds and his wife, Meena. The present study demonstrates that Reza has a hybrid identity. The modern Kurdish postcolonial self is a mixed one whereby it cannot return to a purely original and traditional cultural perception.


Laleh Khadivi, othering, tradition, modernity, mimicry, deculturalization, hybridity, plight of belonging, the Kurdish postcolonial self

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Karwan Karim Abdalrahman

Open Access