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East / West: Salman Rushdie and Hybridity
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Copyright © 2011 by Jessica Brown An earlier version of Chapter 2, ―The Hybridity of History in Midnight’s Children‖ was published in the 2011 Sigma Tau Delta Review, a national undergraduate literary journal.
Brown 2 Mumbai
“How far did they fly? Five and a half thousand as the crow. Or: from Indianness to Englishness, an immeasurable difference. Or, not very far at all, because they rose from one great city, fell to another.” ---Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
East / West: Salman Rushdie and Hybridity Table of Contents
Title Page Copyright Page Preface Title Page Abstract
1 2 3 4 5
Part One 1. The Contexts of Hybridity 6
Part Two 2. The Hybridity of History in Midnight’s Children 3. Refusing National Hybridity in Shame 4.Migrant Hybridity in The Satanic Verses 5. The Hybridity of Language 21 32 43 51
Part Three 6. The Future of Hybridity Works Cited 61 70
Brown 4 Abstract The purpose of this study is to explore the ways in which the novelist Salman Rushdie advocates a hybrid world—a world in which difference and heterogeneity are not only tolerated, but are eagerly celebrated as a means of cultural newness. In the 21st century, instantaneous communication, global economics, and increasing migration of people across continents have drastically destabilized old views on the formation of cultural identities. In his novels, Salman Rushdie explores these questions which plague the postcolonial and cosmopolitan world—what is the migrant? How can a person survive between cultures? What do those grand ideas of home, culture, or nation even mean? This study endeavors to prove that Rushdie‘s works show that he strongly believes in mixing cultures and identities, rather than limiting identification to a singular place or idea. I focus on four different areas of cultural identity for which Salman Rushdie advocates hybridity: postcolonial history, national narratives, individual migrant identity, and the English language. To do this, I particularly examine three of his novels, Midnight’s Children, Shame, and The Satanic Verses. I also discuss the ways in which political and personal events have shaped his opinions and the impact that his writing has had on the larger field of postcolonial literature. This study ultimately argues that his novels illustrate that while cultural change and translation may be difficult or painful, the process is a beneficial one for all. Rushdie‘s collected work is clearly dedicated to the idea that cultural blending will create a better and more peaceful world in the future. Keywords: Rushdie, hybridity, postcolonial, culture, identity, India
Chapter One The Contexts of Hybridity
―It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately, to the notion that something can also be gained.‖ --Imaginary Homelands
Ahmed Salman Rushdie, Bombay-born and England-bred, has emerged during the last several decades as an extremely important voice in the field of postcolonial and world...
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Brown 70 Gorra, Michael. ―The Angrezi in Which I Am Forced to Write‖: On the Language of Midnight’s Children.‖ Critical Essays on Salman Rushdie. Ed. M. Keith Booker. New York: G. K. Hall, 1999. 188-204. Print. Gupta, Meenu. Salman Rushdie: a Re-telling History Through Fiction. New Delhi: Prestige, 2009. Print. Hanggi, Kathleen. ―Salman Rushdie: A Biography.‖ Postcolonial Studies at Emory. Aug. 2009. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. Hogan, Patrick Colm. ―‗Midnight‘s Children‘: Kashmir and the Politics of Identity.‖ Twentieth Century Literature 47.4 (2001): 510-44. JSTOR. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Interpreter of Maladies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print. Mardorossian, Carine. ―From Literature of Exile to Migrant Literature.‖ Modern Language Studies 32.2 (2002): 15-33. JSTOR. Web. 1 Feb. 2011. McCurry, Steve. INDIA-10237NF3. 1994. Steve McCurry Archive. Web. 20 Jan. 2011. Nehru, Jawaharlal. ―Speech on the Granting of Indian Independence, August 14, 1947.‖ Modern History Sourcebook. 1998. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. Reder, Michael. ―Rewriting History and Identity: The Reinvention of Myth, Epic, and Allegory in Salman Rushdie‘s Midnight’s Children.‖ Critical Essays on Salman Rushdie. Ed. M. Keith Booker. New York: G.K. Hall & Co, 1999. 225-44. Print. Rushdie, Salman. East, West. New York: Vintage International, 1994. Print. ---Fury. New York: The Modern Library, 2001. Print. ---. The Ground Beneath Her Feet. New York: Henry Holt, 1999. Print. ---. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta, 1991. Print. ---. Midnight’s Children. London: Vintage, 1981. Print.
Brown 71 ---. The Moor’s Last Sigh. New York: Pantheon, 1995. Print. ---. The Satanic Verses. 1988. New York: Random House, 2008. Print. ---. Shame. New York: Picador, 1983. Print. ---. Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction, 1992-2002. Westminster, MD: Random House Adult Trade Publishing, 2003. 145-158. Web. 4 Jan. 2011. ―Salman Rushdie.‖ Contemporary Writers. The British Council. 2009. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. ten Kortenaar, Neil. Self, Nation, Text in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight‘s Children. Montreal: McGill-Queen‘s University Press, 2004. Print.
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