International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Moral Confusion in Ahdaf Soueif's in the Eye of the Sun
Zahra Al-Saqqaf

The individual's morality is the result of interpersonal interactions out of which the individual organizes understanding of virtues, rules and norms and integrates them into choices and actions. Cultures transmit values and the person who is exposed to different cultures in an early age may have moral confusion because of cultural differences in moral judgments and cultural variability in the priority given to moral considerations. In Ahdaf Soueif's In the Eye of the Sun (1992), the novel of coming of age of Asya al-Ulama, the protagonist, Asya, harbors the values of two different cultures; Arab culture and western culture and cannot integrate them into a coherent whole. Raised and educated in both Egypt and England, Asya has contradictions in her moral knowledge especially on issues that are perceived differently by the two cultures. This paper aims to illustrate Asya's moral confusion by illuminating the contradictions in her moral knowledge and behavior, highlighting the changes in her moral reasoning and exploring the different integrating factors that direct and influence her decisions and actions. Before and after she gets married, Asya has undefined moral perspective on issues related to marriage and sex. She believes that the Muslim Arab woman must not have sexual relationships outside the confines of marriage but she wants to be the librated, fulfilled, sensuous woman, the defiant femme de plaisir so she adopts doublethink in her moral concepts and exercises a willful blindness to contradictions in her ideas and actions which swing between the values of Arab culture and western culture. After she commits adultery with an Englishman in England, her marriage collapses. In crisis Asya makes her developmental transition and develops concerns about her connection with her societal environment. Kohlberg's theories of cognitive moral development and Gilligan's theory of women's moral development have been crucially useful to understand the processes of the individual's moral development and to identify the features and aspects of the individual's moral reasoning in spite of the differences in the content of morality between Arab culture and western culture.

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