English, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 2010


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Gerald Shapiro. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010
Copyright 2010 Sana M. Amoura-Patterson


Women Gathered on Flat Rooftops and Thumbprints in Black Coffee is a creative dissertation that examines the lives of Arab women living in Jordan and Arab immigrants living in the United States. The first portion of the dissertation, Women Gathered on Flat Rooftops is an excerpt from the early portion of the novel by the same name. These first 53 pages provide the background of the characters and highlights aspects that are culturally specific to the women of the stories. For example, issues of arranged marriages, funeral practices, women’s custody rights are all illustrated through these early stories. The early portion of the novel provides the situation as well as the structure of the overall story. While the situations that the women in this portion of the novel experience are specific to contemporary Amman, Jordan, the fundamental concerns of women addressed in this novel are cross-cultural.

The second portion of the dissertation, Thumbprints in Black Coffee is comprised of poems that reveal the Arab-American immigrant experience. Most of the poems included in this section tell the story of various members of the author’s own family and demonstrate how Arab-Americans are torn between two worlds. The longer poems were conceived from interviews with the author’s father and aunts who were raised in Palestine and Jordan, but have lived most of their adult lives in the U.S.