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Ayad Akhtar’s American Dervish: Analysis and Revaluation

Mariwan Hasan, Latef Noori
Published: 28 December 2021

Abstract: Apparently the best and yet the most famous work by Ayad Akhtar is American Dervish which was published in 2012. It has gained quick attention, but not by many, as a debut novel about the identity issue. Yet, no studies have been devoted to studying the novel from an analytical point of view of Pakistani-American migrants’ issues in America, in general. However, the novel has received some attention, there remain some aspects, in our view, and an essential aspect amongst them is the analytical study of the novel, which is not explored yet. In general migrants to new countries will usually face difficulty and especially if they are followers of a different religion. Also, the difference in their culture with culture of the country they migrate to will be an obstacle in integrating themselves into the new culture as seen in the character of Hayat Shah’s father; whereas to some extent different for Hayat himself. Hayat befriends a Jewish girl and neglects Islam and similarly his father becomes friend with a Jewish teacher, Nathan. It is not easy for the migrant people to integrate into the American culture and tolerate the other religious beliefs such as Judaism as it is quite a novel experience for them. The migrants obligingly ignore their surrender to their own Islamic religion and assimilate into the Judaism and American culture, which is very difficult. These are the two key aspects that the paper focuses on by analyzing and highlighting the challenges that Hayat Shah and his family members face in America. Akhtar demonstrates the difficulty for the migrant characters between either choosing Islam or Judaism or secularism to be able to live like Americans.
Keywords: American / Ayad / father / Jewish / Dervish / Akhtar / tolerate / Hayat / Judaism

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