Depiction of Polygamous Character Traits in Che Husna Azhari’s Mariah


  • Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
  • Devia d/o Kamala Nathan Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
  • Ahmad Taufik Hidayah Abdullah Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
  • Isyaku Hassan Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin



character traits, Mariah, love, marriage, polygamy


In Malaysia, literary texts produced in English remain a challenging terrain, especially among Malay writers who must cautiously negotiate between their Malay identity, religion, and cultural globalization. For instance, Che Husna Azhari’s literary works, especially her notable short story Mariah, have received tremendous scholarly attention recently. Mariah has been criticized from several viewpoints, such as the playwright’s conscious self that forms identity and gender. Thus, using a context-oriented approach, this analysis aims to explore how the Malaysian author, Che Husna Azhari, depicts polygamous character traits in Mariah from a feminist perspective. The feminist rendering employed in this analysis could interestingly reveal how a female writer portrays the issue of polygamy. The analysis revealed that through major characters, Azhari boldly depicts Muslim masculinity, polygamous tendencies, and lust toward women, particularly in the Imam’s character. Yet, the narrative tends to mirror patriarchy in Malay society for crediting the use of religion to suppress women. This analysis could advance our understanding of how female characters are represented by a female writer within the socio-cultural and religious contexts of typical Malay society. There is a need, therefore, for modern writers to reassess the narratives of women and polygamy in literary works. This step can guide the reader’s understanding of polygamy as a hotly-debated topic as well as enlighten the public about the widespread misconceptions about women's issues in society.

Author Biographies

Mohd Nazri Latiff Azmi, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Faculty of Languages and Communication

Devia d/o Kamala Nathan, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Faculty of Languages and Communication

Ahmad Taufik Hidayah Abdullah, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Faculty of Languages and Communication

Isyaku Hassan, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Faculty of Languages and Communication


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