Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number2  June 2020                                                       Pp.154-167

 Full Paper PDF


Conflicting and Challenging Patriarchal and Liberal Feminist Ideologies and Norms in
Afghanistan: Critical Stylistic Study of Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed

Aziz Ahmad
  Qurtuba University of Science & Technology Peshawar, Pakistan
Department of English Literature and Linguistics
University of Malakand, Pakistan

 Rab Nawaz Khan
Department of English
Abdul Wali Khan University, Pakistan




The study unveils the Afghan patriarchal ideology and norms that are in conflict and challenge with liberal feminist ideology in Khaled Hosseini’s (2013) And the Mountains Echoed, depicting the cultural and socio-political context of Afghanistan. Tools of critical stylistics, developed by Jefferies (2010), have been used to delve into the conflict as mentioned above. The conflict in ideologies leads to gender differences, and inequalities. Patriarchs view liberal feminism and its motive as a threat to patriarchal social structure. The study reveals how women challenge the monopoly and status-quo of patriarchs to raise their voice for their emancipation and free will in matters of their life. Women in Afghanistan are the nang (pride) and namoos (honor) of their families. Men, especially patriarchs, misperceive the status and image of women as damaging their reputation if they are granted full freedom in matters and walks of life. Nila Wahdati, a liberal feminist character in the novel, challenges the stereotypical image of women as fragile, fickle, and prone to sex. She even resists and negates the imposed traditional, conservative ideology and supremacy of her father. Through the use of language, women challenge the Afghan patriarchal thinking. The novelist has manipulated verb processes to represent the patriarchal ideology of the Afghan men, while the discourse-producers utilize nouns and modifications to indicate patriarchs’ contrary thinking towards women. Linguistic tools, like nouns, pronouns, pre-modifiers, negative evaluative words, epistemic modality, and subordinate clauses, describe the conflict and challenge between patriarchal and liberal feminist ideologies.
Keywords: critical stylistics, gender discrimination, ideology, liberal feminism, patriarchy

Cite as: Ahmad, A. Khan, R. N. (2020). Conflicting and Challenging Patriarchal and Liberal Feminist Ideologies and Norms in Afghanistan: Critical Stylistic Study of Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. Arab World English Journal11 (2) 154-167


Alaghbary, G. S. (2013). Book review. International Journal of Language Studies7(3), 137-140.

Alaghbary, G. A., Alazzany, M. & Al-Nakeeb, O. (2015). Linguistic Approaches to Ideology: Review of Work between 1979 and 2010International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 4 (5), 1-10. Retrieved from

Bhasin, K. (2004). What Is Patriarchy? Women Unlimited: New Delhi.

Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge:  USA.

Eckert, P. (1989). The whole woman: Sex and gender differences in variation. Language Variation and Change1(3), 245-267.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. London: Longman.

Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ford, L. E. (2002). Women and Politics: The Pursuit of Equality. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Fowler, R., Hodge, B., Kress, G., & Trew, T. (1979). Language and control. London: Routledge and Kegan, Paul.

Garrett, P., & Bell, A. (2005). Approaches to media discourse. Malden (Massachusetts: Blackwell.

Hall, S. (1982). The rediscovery of ideology: the return of the repressed in media studies. In M. Gurevitch, M. Curran, and J. Woollacott (Eds.), Culture, society and the media (pp. 56-90). London: Methuen.

Hall, S. (1992). The question of cultural identity. In Hall, Stuart; Held, David; McGrew, Anthony, Modernity and its futures (pp. 274-316). Cambridge: Polity Press in association with the Open University.

Hosseini, K. (2013). And the mountains echoed. New York: Penguin Books.

Jeffries, L. (2010). Critical stylistics: the power of English. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Krieger, N. (2003). Gender, sexes, and health: What are the connections-and why does it matter? International Journal of Epidemiology32 (6), 652-657.

Khattak, S. G. (2011). Feminism in Education: Historical and Contemporary Issues of Gender Inequality in Higher EducationOccasional Papers in Education & Lifelong Learning: An International Journal, 5(1), 67-81.

Lakoff, R. (1973). Language and woman’s place. Language in Society, 2, 45-80.

Lazar, M. M. (2005). Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis: Gender, Power, and Ideology in Discourse. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lazar, M. M. (2007). Feminist critical discourse analysis: articulating a feminist discourse praxis. Critical Discourse Studies4 (2), 141-164. DOI: 10.1080/17405900701464816

Lorber, J. (1997). The variety of feminisms and their contributions to gender equality. Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Information, system der Universität Oldenburg.

Maynard, M. (1995). Beyond the big three: the development of feminist theory into the 1990s. Women’s History Review, 4(3), 259-281.

Mhindu, A. (2014). Can men surely be feminists? A feminist reading of Ngugi’s the river between and Achebe”s anthills of the savannah. Research Journal of English language and literature (RJELAL)2(4), 46-50.

Millett, K. (1977). Sexual Politics. London: Virago.

Nienaber, H., & Moraka, N., V. (2016). Feminism in management research: A route to justly optimize talent. Acta Commercii,16(2), 139-163. Retrieved from ac.v16i2.417

Reeve, J. (2014). Lesley Jeffries’ Critical Stylistics: The Power of English. Retrieved from

Rolleri, L. A. (2013). Understanding Gender and Gender Equality, ACT for the youth center of excellence.

Scannell, P. (1998). Media language world. In A. Bell, & P. Garrett (Ed.), Approaches to media discourse. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sultana, A. (2011). Patriarchy and Women’s Subordination: A Theoretical Analysis. The Arts Faculty Journal, 4. Retrieved from index.php/AFJ/article/view/12929

Sunderland, J. (2004). Gendered discourses. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tong, R. (2009). Feminist thought: a more comprehensive introduction. Choice Reviews Online, 46, 10, 46-5923.

Uchem, R. (2001). Overcoming women’s subordination in the Igbo African Culture and  the Catholic Church: Envisioning an Inclusive Theology with Reference to Women (Ph. D. Thesis). Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies, Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana, and Fordham University. New York.

Van Dijk, T. A. (1993). Principles of critical discourse analysis. Discourse and Society4, 249-283. Retrieved from

Van Dijk, T. A. (1995). Discourse Semantics and Ideology. Discourse and Society6(2), 243-289.

Van Dijk, T. A. (1998a). Ideology: A multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage.

Van Dijk, T. A. (2002). Political discourse and political cognition. Politics as Text and Talk: Analytic Approaches to Political Discourse, 203.

Walby, S. (1990). Theorizing Patriarchy. Blackwell Publishers Ltd.: Oxford, UK, and Cambridge USA.

Wodak, R. (2001). Methods of critical discourse analysis. London: Sage Publications.

Wodak, R. & Weiss, G. (2004). Visions, ideologies, and utopias in the discursive construction of European identities: Organizing, representing, and legitimizing Europe. In: M. Pütz et al. (Eds). Communication Ideologies: Language, Discourse, and Social Practice (pp. 225-252). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Wodak, R. (2006). Images in/and news in a globalized world. In: I. Lassen, J.

Wodak, R. (2007). Methods of critical discourse analysis. Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE.

Xiang, Y. (2011). Critical stylistics, by Lesley Jeffries. Critical discourse studies8(3), 221-223.


Aziz Ahmad is a Ph D. scholar in Qurtuba University of Science and Technology Peshawar,
Pakistan. The scholar is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Malakand, KhyberPakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The research interests of the scholar are gender and ideology,
and critical stylistics. ORCID id:

Dr. Rab Nawaz Khan is working as Assistant Professor, Department of English, Abdul Wali
Khan University Mardan (Pakistan). During his PhD from National University of Modern
Languages, Islamabad, he was awarded IRSIP scholarship by Higher Education Commission of
Pakistan in 2012 to pursue his research study at Northumbria University (UK). His major areas of
interest include literature-cum-linguistics, discourse studies, critical discourse studies, gender,
queer and power studies, critical stylistics, literary and textual analyses, socio-political and cultural
issues. ORCID id: