Privatizing Refugees’ Human Rights in Hamid’s Exit West, Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus, and Hosseini’s Sea Prayer


The contemporary novel seems to be complicit with neoliberalized and economized human rights. It is, time and again, a narrative that attempts to structurally adjust humans’ emotions to further the elitism and exclusiveness of human rights to citizens of Western countries. I argue that some modern neoliberal novels are a part of sentimental adjustment programs that strip refugees of their basic human rights, while at the same time celebrate Western societies and their aggressive and negative attitudes towards displaced individuals as equitable. Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, J. M. Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus, and Khaled Hosseini’s Sea Prayer are novels that function as examples of sentimental adjustment programs in which the narrative thread and structure elucidate how refugees struggle to maintain autonomy as they are excluded from human rights discourses as non-citizens. Namely, the aforementioned novels shed light on the failure of human rights ever being established in their storylines because human rights are being obliterated through the introduction of Western compassion as a rectitudinous result.


Bayan AlAmmouri


Empathy, Human rights, Novel, Refugees