Representation of Cultural Hybridity and Migrant Aesthetics in Salman Rushdie's Three Novels
|Keywords:||移民書寫;文化雜揉;遷徙美學;記憶與想像的故國;重複的母題;文化翻譯;羊皮紙的隱喻;migrant writings;cultural hybridity;migrant aesthetics;memory and imaginary homelands;leitmotif;cultural translation;metaphor of palimpsest||Issue Date:||2006||Abstract:||null
This dissertation attempts to explore how cultural hybridity and migrant aesthetics are represented in Salman Rushdie’s three major novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, and The Moor’s Last Sigh. The three texts are sequential in the sense that they embody the symbolic trajectories of Rushdie’s migration. Besides, they are interrelated by the emerging postcolonial agendas in his writings. The Introductory chapter gives a brief review of current Rushdie scholarship and then foregrounds significant topics concerning Rushdie: his mixed cultural background and ambivalent positionality, his configuration of cultural hybridity, as well as his migrant aesthetics specific to his postcolonial writings.
Chapter One reads Midnight’s Children as a postcolonial novel, laying emphasis on the importance of memory to Saleem Sinai’s representation of Indian history and to his exilic re-imagination of homeland. Then I discuss key leitmotifs Saleem employs in his narrative—a perforated sheet, a silver spittoon, a fisherman’s pointing finger, as well as the metaphor of “chutney.” These leitmotifs reflect Rushdie’s cogent critique of contemporary “postcolonial India”—the complicity of the postcolonial bourgeoisie with British colonial legacy, the partition of Pakistan with India, as well as Indira Gandhi’s suppression of the “midnight’s children” during the period of Emergency. Chapter Two, which discusses The Satanic Verses, focuses on the metaphor of “translation,” which is culturally and symbolically performed by postcolonial immigrants in London. Rushdie deliberately invokes the issues of transgression and transformation that confront his migrant characters to negotiate between continuity and discontinuity, tradition and modernity, Englishness and Indianness. elucidates how Rushdie invokes the issues of transgression and transformation that confront his migrant characters to negotiate between continuity and discontinuity, tradition and modernity, Englishness and Indianness. Chapter Three examines The Moor’s Last Sigh by exploring the postcolonial metaphor of palimpsest and its multi-layered representations of postcolonial India. Especially, it is through Aurora’s paintings that Rushdie’s privileging of cultural hybridity finds the most elaborate and original expressions. Her palimpsestic canvases represent a politico-aesthetic commitment, which aims at re-collecting the pluralist values destroyed by the monolithic claim of the Hindu fundamentalism. The Moor’s Last Sigh proves to be Rushdie’s swan’s song of cultural hybridity, whose decay can be re-deemed only through an undying hope of aesthetic re-imagination.
In the Conclusion, I consolidate the major arguments presented in the preceding chapters and reiterate my argument about of reading Rushdie’s writings through his configuration of cultural hybridity and through the lens of migrant aesthetics. Against the narrow spectrum of racism, nativism and nationalism, Rushdie’s novels, I contend, clear a postcolonial space which foregrounds impurity, mongrelization, mélange, hybridity. In addition, the thematic concerns in Rushdie’s later works will be briefly explored. With a particular emphasis on the transnational effects of global cultures and the anxiety over Islamic terrorism, there is a “global turn” in Rushdie’s post-fatwa fiction, which displays not only the writer’s attempt to “open up the universe a little more” but also a critical dialogue with the world.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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