Ibrahim Muhawi

in Speak, Bird, Speak Again

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 1989 | ISBN: 9780520062924
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520908734 | DOI:

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This chapter presents a Palestinian folktale focusing on relationships among siblings. The pattern of rivalry among siblings of the same sex in the tale shows the importance of marriage to a woman. The first concern of the elder sisters is not just for food, but for husbands who can provide it. The teller himself emphasizes their loneliness and isolation before marriage, their struggle for existence, and their hunger. An unmarried woman lacks self-definition, not only because she is without a husband, but also because she will have no children. After marriage, however, the sisters change markedly in character—although, as we might expect, the elder two sisters' jealousy over the superior marriage of the younger does not manifest itself until after the birth of her first child.

Keywords: Palestinian folktale; sisters; sibling rivalry; marriage

Chapter.  5468 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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