What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Themes & Motifs

Helen Oyeyemi
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Identity

In What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, author Helen Oyeyemi experiments with different points of view and with recurring characters to subtly expand the reader’s understanding of identity and to show how identity is always multiple. While many readers will register the varieties of religions, ethnicities and races represented in the characters throughout What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Oyeyemi never allows any character to become simply a caricature of diversity or a mouthpiece for multiculturalism. Each character is fully sketched out and, quite often, demonstrates the intersections of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexuality. For example, Aisha and Dayang Sharif both mention their father’s Muslim beliefs. Dayang in “a brief history of the homely wench society” reflects on this: “Day’s dad still fasted at Ramadan even though he didn’t go to mosque anymore, and from time to time he...

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This section contains 3,050 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Study Guide
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