Physically Exiled, Spiritually Returning: A Comparative Reading of Beckett’s Murphy and a Selection of Poems by Darwish




bias, colonialism, dissident, exile, power relations, stereotype


This article explores a selection of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy (1938) as postcolonial texts which are rich with postcolonial undertones. Beckett and Darwish articulate a counter-discursive rhetoric that undermines any hierarchically installed oppressive structures. Although political classifications and restrictions limit many neutral inquiries of such texts and hinder objective scholarship on Irish and Palestinian literature, many  academic studies on Irish and Palestinian forms of literature have emerged. Counteracting hubristic structures, this paper tackles works from Ireland and Palestine as predominantly imbued with postcolonial implications. The research brings these authors from far-flung parts of the world to address postcolonial manifestations in Ireland and Palestine. Despite their convergences and divergences, texts from both perspectives must be used to critique structures and forces of colonialism in order to further contextualize them within the postcolonial realm. Reading Beckett alongside Darwish helped to solidify the idea that colonialism employs the same discourse regardless of place or time. It also demonstrates that oppressed people tend to employ comparable dissent mechanisms. Much like the speakers of Darwish’s Unfortunately, It Was Paradise, Leaves of Olives, “Mural,” and “My Mother” are always caught up in subordinate power relations, the eponymous protagonist of Murphy is degraded as an inferior other; one who is disenfranchised and excluded both inside and outside Ireland. Both authors refute stereotypes and stigmatization and offer a dissenting paradigm blurring power-based divisions to the status quo that renders the Palestinians and Irish as inferior to others.

Author Biographies

Motasim Almwajeh, The Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan.


Department of English Language and Literature

The Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan.

Luqman M  Rababah, adara University, Irbid, Jordan

Department of English Language, faculty of arts

Jadara University, Irbid, Jordan


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Date of Publication

2023-10-05 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

Almwajeh, M., &  Rababah, L. M. (2024). Physically Exiled, Spiritually Returning: A Comparative Reading of Beckett’s Murphy and a Selection of Poems by Darwish. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(1), 285–296.



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