My Sister

Ihsan CAbd Al-Quddus, Hasan El-Shamy


As aspects of objectivity, emphasis on accuracy and ethical neutrality are the foundation for any credible “scientific” research. In the fields of social sciences, the altering, hiding, or mistaking of facts would lead only to confusion and diminished ability in addressing problems that beset the wellness of a social group. Consequently, all aspects of the present study are based on original Arabic texts.

One ignored (sometimes deliberately concealed) aspect of the social life of Arab peoples is the “Brother-Sister Syndrome”. Its core component is the love between a brother and his sister and hostility between husband and wife. The syndrome is portrayed in a myriad of forms of traditional expressions including folktales, songs and jokes, as well as actual patterns of social interaction within the family.

The present short story by a prominent novelist represents a case of elite literary creativity. Yet, it conforms to the attributes of the Brother-Sister Syndrome. In this respect, it shares the same narrative core of the Trilogy by Nigeeb Mahfouz, a Nobel Laureate novelist. The affective core of the Trilogy is the love of a young boy for his beautiful sister, and the fact that he is traumatized by her marriage and moving away.

Having spied on her during the consummation of her marriage, he later in life associates this mental image of his sister in bed during that event with the consummation of marriage of an unattainable aristocrat maiden, CAydah Shaddad. A recent report deceptively ignores these salient facts. Thus, the Brother-Sister bond was totally missed and any opportunity to explore this critical psychosocial phenomenon was lost.

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