Faith and Identity in Stephen Crane’s “In Heaven” and Taufiq Rafat’s “This Blade of Grass”: Linguistic Relativity Leading to Worlds Within Words

  • Sajid Ali
  • Huma Batool
  • Maria Farooq Maan


This study revolves around the idea that literature which comes from different social and cultural backgrounds often flags the differences between faith and identity and thereby extends the debates surrounding them. It attempts to analyse two works by two different poets: “In Heaven” by Stephen Crane and “This Blade of Grass” by Taufiq Rafat. Both bring a diversity of ideas into their works while writing about faith since they are from two different social and cultural backgrounds. This study approaches both texts from the perspective of linguistic relativity, which helps us understand the conceptualisation of textual meaning in relation to semantic relativity (Casasanto 174). The argument here focuses on the close reading of the texts while foregrounding their lexical and contextual meanings. Descriptive, interpretive research techniques are used for textual analysis to look at both works contrastively in order to extract their linguistic relativity vis-a-vis their subject matter and to extract elements of faith and identity embedded within them. At the same time, this study finds that despite dealing with similar subject matter, setting, character, and language, the two poems reflect two distinct identities because of the linguistically relative meaning of words. The difference in identities was evident because of the differences in faith where Crane’s blade of grass is portrayed through biblical references while Rafat’s blade of grass is situated in the context of Sufism and fana.
Keywords: Faith, identity, darvesh, linguistic relativity, world within words