Short Stories, English, Literature, Bangladesh


A short story by Fayeza Hasanat originally published in The Bird Catcher, Jaded Ibis Press, 2019. Reproduced with permission. This version is released under a Creative Commons 4.0 Non-Commerical No Derivatives license.

This short story is featured in a broader open educational resource authored by Kathleen Hohenleitner.


English is the most spoken language in the world, even though Chinese is the most widely spoken native language. Many people across the globe speak English as a second language. In this story, written by the first Bangladeshi woman in print in the US, a college professor from Bangladesh teaches English and is mocked for her Bangladeshi accent. The student who mocks her otherizes her but also looks to her as a mother figure, which creates a complicated overlapping of imagery in her efforts to teach him, to forgive him, to forgive herself for being absent from her Bangladeshi family, and to make English literature accessible to her American students. The story takes us through the process by which postcolonial citizens speak and read a language and literature that was not originally “their own” and yet, still somehow is their inheritance, culturally and ethnically. The professor’s father permitted his children to write lines of English literature on his body with their fingers so he could guess them; this becomes a physical representation of how postcoloniality constructs identity and writes itself on the physical bodies of those who are formed by its ideologies.

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College of Arts and Humanities



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