The Problematics of Identity & Identity Erasure in Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel


  • Ahmad M.S. Abu Baker Al al-Bayt University



Identity, erasure, labelling, religious violence, Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel.


This article aims to highlight the different layers of identity - religious, physical, spiritual, or divine - the process of rethinking and reshaping identity, its concomitant process of labelling and the desire for identity erasure in Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel using mainly postcolonial theory. The symbols in the text are analysed using the Psychological and the Archetypal approaches, and Derridian insights are utilised in dealing with the theme of ‘uncertainty’ which permeates the novel. Textual analysis reveals that counter to the traditional thought of identity as an absolute metaphysical essence and an irrefutably inherited tradition, identity is seen here as limiting, clashing with individual happiness and is thus, dynamic i.e. constantly rethought and reshaped, evolutionary, dangerous – even deadly when it arouses hatred and violence. The process of rethinking identity appears as a necessary step towards selfhood. Hence, the protagonist, Hypa, who is lost in uncertainty, struggles to understand his identity and exhibits a strong desire for erasing it to escape labelling and eventually live in freedom.

Author Biography

  • Ahmad M.S. Abu Baker, Al al-Bayt University

    Associate Professor of English & Comparative Literature at Al al-Bayt University, Jordan. Doctorate of English & Comparative Literature from Murdoch University/Western Australia in 2002. 19 published articles in international refereed indexed journals on a variety of topics including: postcolonial theory, identity, Emily Dickinson, War Poetry. A Contributor of the five volume set The Dictionary of World Literary Characters published by Facts on File. Inc.


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