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Arabic Short Story – In Class Writing Assignment

The development of Arabic literature would coincide with the history of the Middle East.  With increased contact with the West, Arab writers would begin to try new literature styles. Prior to that time, most writers focused on writing poems or told stories orally. Arabs would take the western form of the short story and make it their own. It took a while for the short story to take root in the Arab culture but once it did it would soon flourish faster than even the west.  Common themes of stories in the early period were focused on religion and common occurrences of everyday life, and there was little room or comfort for writers to really break the box of creative writing. A period arouse in Arabic literature that would allow writers to begin to look more closely into their own lives – The Romantic period.

Writers from Egypt to Iraq were writing about their own country. This sense of “home” coincided with nationalistic sentiments that were occurring in society. In addition, these writers were very connected to their country and therefore were very emotional in their descriptions, and were also very detailed as well when describing daily events, the land, social issues, etc. However, this very romantic idea of life did not last long as things took a different turn in the Arab world. Writers would begin to portray a more realistic depiction of social events.

As sentiments of nationalism began to dwindle, more divides in society were beginning to appear. Several divisions in society included the country vs. city, tribal vs. modernity, rich vs. poor – these divisions in society would begin to be written about by Arab writers. Social issues were beginning to be addressed more directly. Writers in general felt more comfortable writing outside the comfort zone of not just religion, but being creative and analyzing such social issues like the corruption of the upper class. The realistic period would highlight prominent issues in the Middle East, like the Arab Israeli conflict, the conflicting morality of humans, to name a few.

The short story in the Middle East has had a major influence on society. It provided an outlet for writers to talk about social issues, weather they did so indirectly or directly through the stories they told. These short stories act as great historical documents of how different parts of the Middle East lived and responded to events.

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