Honors Program

Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Martha Moraa Michieka

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Rebecca Adkins Fletcher


When women are lured away from home, they become vulnerable and cannot survive the violence inflicted upon them by their ‘lovers.’ This thesis explores the ties between two distinct cultural regions, Arabic and Appalachian, to examine the violence against women and what allows these women to escape such situations by using Hanan al-Shaykh’s One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling and three traditional Appalachian murdered girl ballads.

Many of the women in these stories die at the hands of their ‘lovers,’ regardless of their culture of origin. Once removed from their fellow women, they lack a support system that would allow them the strength to survive. While most of the women in these tales die at the hands of their ‘lovers,’ Shahrazad of One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling survives because she is able to take back some control of the situation by telling her own story, instead of allowing it to be told for her. She survives the bleak situation she has been put in through the support of her sister, who makes it possible for Shahrazad to continue telling her stories. The support Shahrazad receives from her sister allows her to not only save herself, but also to save the lives of other women. This thesis concludes that it is this “sister” support that enables women to survive the violence consistently thrown at them and allows them to take back control of their own narratives.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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