Chaudary, Fariha (2013) Hiding and Seeking Identity: The Female Figure in the Novels of Pakistani Female Writers in English: A Feminist Approach. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Pakistani female writers in English continue to highlight the struggles of women within patriarchal Pakistani society. The emphasis of my research project has been to explore and analyse the struggle and resistance of female figures against patriarchal structures as presented through the fiction of my chosen female writers. I have analysed the works of Pakistani Anglophone women writers, Bapsi Sidhwa and Qaisra Shahraz. The thesis concludes with the analysis of a novel by a contemporary Urdu Pakistani female writer,
Umera Ahmad. Analysing an Urdu feminist writing along with feminist writing in English has allowed my thesis a broader scope as Urdu feminist writings are an indispensible part of the Pakistani literary canvas in general and feminist literary canvas in particular.

Through sexual awakening, sexual victimisation (rape, forced marriage) and sexual discrimination Sidhwa, Shahraz and Ahmad’s women learn of the gendered oppression that works through their bodies. Grappling with a range of victimisations, the female figures, from across the chosen works, expose how female sexuality and bodies are defined, controlled and exploited by men under the guise of socio-cultural and religious traditions. My research explores both the violent and subtle ways in which patriarchy represses female sexuality to control and restrict women in Pakistani society.

A further underlying motive of my research has been to stress the importance of writing in allowing the female figures a ‘voice’ to aid their struggle against patriarchal structures.
I believe feminist writings, specifically by female authors, both in English and Urdu, are a
much needed contribution to the already existing Pakistani literary canon. Therefore, the works of chosen female writers are critically examined in order to understand their role and importance towards addressing, exploring and devising solutions, through a literary medium, to the issues women face in patriarchal society.

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