Hybridity in Arudhati Roy's the God of Small Things

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  • Topic: Postcolonialism, Homi K. Bhabha, Postcolonial literature
  • Pages : 9 (3718 words )
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  • Published : October 1, 2010
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Hybridity in Arudhati Roy’s The God of Small Things

Postcolonialism deals with the effects of colonization on cultures and societies. As originally used by historians after the Second World War in terms such as the post-colonial state, ‘post-colonial’ had a clearly chronological meaning, designating the post-independence period. However, from the late 1970s the term has been used by literary critics to discuss the various cultural effects of colonization. The term has been widely used to signfy the political, linguistic and cultural experience of societies that were former European colonies. In the present age we can say without any shadow of doubt that post colonialism has been primarily concerned to examine the processes and effects of, and reactions to, European colonialism from the sixteenth century up to and including the neo-colonialism of the present day. No doubt that postcolonialism possesses many characteristics and talks about Identity, Racial and social discrimination, Hybridity, etc, but here we are mainly concern with the question of Hybridity especially with reference to examine Arudhati Roy’s epoch making work named The God of Small Things (1997). Every human being, in addition to having his own personal identity, has a sense of who he is in relation to the larger community--the nation. Postcolonial studies is the attempt to strip away conventional perspective and examine what that national identity might be for a postcolonial subject. To read literature from the perspective of postcolonial studies is to seek out--to listen for, that indigenous, representative voice which can inform the world of the essence of existence as a colonial subject, or as a postcolonial citizen. Postcolonial authors use their literature and poetry to solidify, through criticism and celebration, an emerging national identity, which they have taken on the responsibility of representing. Ania Loomba is one the most remarkable writers on postcolonial discourse. Loomba states, "Perhaps the connection between postcolonial writing and the nation can be better comprehended by understanding that the 'nation' itself is a ground of dispute and debate, a site for the competing imaginings of different ideological and political interests" . Hybridity commonly refers to the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization. As used in horticulture, the term refers to the cross-pollination to form a third, ‘hybird’ species. Hybirdization takes may forms: linguistic, cultual, political, racial, etc. The word ‘hybridity’ has been most recently associated with the work of Homi K. Bhabha, whose analysis of clonizer/colonized relations stresses their interdependence and the mutual construction of their subjectivities. Bhabha contends that all cultural statements and systems are construced in a space that he calls the Third Space of Enunciation. Cultural identity always emerges in this contradictory and ambivalent space, which for Bhabha makes the claim to a hierarchical ‘purity’ of cultures untenable. For him, the recognition of this ambivalent space of cultural identiy may help us to overome the exoism of cultural diversity in favour of the recognition of an empowering hybridity within which cultural difference may operate: It is significant that the productive capacities of this Third Space have a colonial or postcolonial provenance. For a willingness to descend into that alien territory … may open the way to conceptualizing an international culture, based not on the exoticism of multiculturalism or the diversity of cultures, but on the inscriprion and articulation of cluture’s hybridity. It is the ‘in-between’ space that carries the burden meaning of culture , and this is what makes the notion of hybridity so important.I believe that this "dispute and debate" can be successfully joined and undertaken only with a knowledge of the work of Homi K. Bhabha, as it relates to the concept of "cultural...
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