Reading Ahmad Mahmoud’s ‘The Neighbors’ as a Subaltern Narrative


  • Nazila Heidarzadegan Department of English Language, Islamic Azad University, Khoy Branch, Khoy
  • Reza Alborzi


The present study examines the Iranian novelist Ahmad Mahmoud’s The Neighbors in the light of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s concept of Subaltern. Reading the novel as a subaltern narrative, our essay investigates the main characters’ experience of subalternity as well as their survival in the light of the resistance of the committed intellectuals. In his narrative, Mahmoud depicts a society where intellectuals play a major role in resisting colonization despite the fact that they have different understandings and expectations about their society. Affected by the cultural and economic pressures foisted on them by the colonizer and colonized and their relationship, the central characters undergo hard times until they either leave their country or become imprisoned. Understanding the circumstances and necessities of their society, some intellectuals are able to help the common people out of trouble. The intellectuals who prefer to leave the country have to go under the processes of Othering and Worlding. This essay, therefore, tries to show how Mahmoud’s novel provides a third space through which the Subaltern can speak and transform the conditions of impossibility, hopelessness and negative feelings into the Subaltern and marginalize them into possibility.

Author Biography

Nazila Heidarzadegan, Department of English Language, Islamic Azad University, Khoy Branch, Khoy

Nazila Heidarzadegan received her B.A from University of Tabriz in 2004, and M.A from Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch in 2007, and taught English literature courses there for four years. She was employed at Islamic Azad University, Khoy Branch in 2008, and still works there as a member of faculty. She started doctoral studies in American Theatre at Ataturk University, Erzurum, Turkey, in 2010, and graduated in 2015. Her research fields of interest are American theatre, modern American Modern modern British novel, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, Middle Eastern studies, gender studies, Orientalism, and mysticism and transcendentalism.


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How to Cite

Heidarzadegan, N., & Alborzi, R. (2016). Reading Ahmad Mahmoud’s ‘The Neighbors’ as a Subaltern Narrative. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 4(6). Retrieved from