This thesis explores how contemporary postcolonial women writers reclaim a new position of writing that I define as postcolonial feminine writing, which mirrors and transcends the storytelling of Shahrazad in terms of theme and structure. Postcolonial feminine writing as a concept is drawn out of Frantz Fanon?s ?Algeria Unveiled?, Hélène Cixous?s ?The Laugh of Medusa? and Shahrazad?s storytelling. The intersection of these theories and narrative styles allows for an interrogation into how it is not only possible for women writers to operate within patriarchal narrative discourse, but also how it is possible to undo and re-imagine the very norms of the patriarchal discourse from within. Thus, this concept offers an alternative to colonial and patriarchal discourses by questioning how non-Western women are denied access to voice as well as different power structures such as honour and the gaze and by seeking ways to move beyond these restrictions. I question the extent to which Shahrazad is employed as a liberating figure in contemporary postcolonial women?s narratives.
The following chapters locate the potential of Shahrazadean narrative in Hanan al- Shaykh?s One Thousand and One Nights (2011), Elif Shafak?s The Gaze (2006), and Honour (2012) in order to challenge and re-imagine societal norms and structures. I argue that postcolonial feminine writing enables Shafak and al-Shaykh to re-create liberating spaces and rethink patriarchal literary discourses as embodied. By demonstrating how Shahrazad uses her body to access a narrative voice and intertwines narrative desire with sexual desire, I trace the potential of voice to the body through postcolonial feminine writing. Then, I identify how postcolonial feminine writing enables multiple and fluid gazing positions, allowing marginalised figures to be subjects of the gaze and re-define their gender and societal identities. By questioning the patriarchal binary oppositions of voice/silence and honour/shame, I explore how it is also possible for silence and shame to be alternative forms of communication. Consequently, I argue that postcolonial feminine writing enables temporary interventions into patriarchal and colonial discourses. It is the repetition of these interventions, albeit temporary, that undermines patriarchal power structures whilst re- inventing more subversive and liberating discourses as well as embodied potentialities.