Negotiating the Societal and Cultural Impact on a Perpetrator’s Psyche in Elif Shafak’s Honour

  • Hina Rafique Assistant Professor, Language and Literature, Govt. Post Graduate College (W) Satellite Town, Gujranwala,Pakistan
  • Maryam Tariq BS English, Govt. Post Graduate College (W) Satellite Town, Gujranwala, Pakistan
  • Saadat Ali Khan Lecturer, Department of English, Language and Literature, Govt. Post Graduate College (Boys) Satellite Town, Gujranwala, Pakistan
Keywords: Diaspora, Felony, Honor Killing, Subaltern, Social Learning Theory, Turkish Culture


The present study focuses on investigating the behavioral psychology of the protagonist, Iskender as a killer from the text Honour by Elif Shafak, a renowned Turkish novelist. Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory (1977) presents the importance of Observational Learning, Imitation, and Modeling in an individual's social learning and personality development. He propounds that behavior, cognition, and other environmental influences: all operate as interacting determinants to influence the development of an individual. Hence, by taking the cognitive framework of Bandura, and by tracking the factors behind the felony committed by Iskender in the name of honor, the researchers have analyzed Iskender’s behavioral psychology and guilt-oriented self. The study showed that Iskender was not criminal by nature but had been forced to act on honor ideology. Honor serves as a social code in Turkish Islamic culture and the analysis shed light on the moral principles or ethos in Turkish society implying that moral degradation and honor-killing practices are an everyday phenomenon in Turkish Islamic culture. The arguments in the study provided a lens to the readers to understand the psyche of the accused; Iskender was a victim of culturally transmitted ideology. Society, culture, and immediate relations served as the powerful influences on him in instigating him to commit this felony. Besides, the analysis exposed the subaltern position of women in Turkish culture. The study is a positive addition to Turkish literature and literature on honor killing.