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Salman Rushdie’s "Hybridity" Discourse

Author WangYang
Tutor FangHanWen
School Suzhou University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Rushdie Midnight Children hybridity
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
Downloads 258
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The British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie is a marvelous one among contemporary British novelists and a pioneer in post-colonial literature as well, and is acclaimed as“Godfather of post-colonial literature”. As an immigrant writer who was born in former European colonies, then migrated to the western world, he adheres to cultural pluralism in his literary creating and comments, opposes to the concept of purely national, condemns at the old-fashioned racial awareness, advocates a global multi-national culture of mutual integration, peaceful coexistence. The novel Midnight’s Children is the best one of his works with literature value, which was awarded Booker Prize, the highest awards of British literature. The novel is a grand and all-inclusive classic, and the writer through the art of magical realism approach, based on his personal and family history, demonstrates 60-year long broad political and social reality before and after the independence of the Indian subcontinent. In the novel, historical fact and fairy tale, reality and fiction co-existing, the specific ancient Indian culture combining with western modernist approach, which all demonstrates to us a multi-mixed literary world.This paper, combining Said and Homi Bhabha’s post-colonial theory, intends to make a study and analysis on the "hybridity" discourse constructed by Salman Rushdie in Midnight Children from perspective of cultural identity. The paper consists of five parts: in the introduction, related studies on Salman Rushdie both abroad and at home would be discussed, and the aim and significance of our research is also brought out. It is emphasized that on today’s growing multi-cultural world, it is conducive to building a harmonious multi-culture co-existing world with the use of post-colonial theory to research Midnight Children and of advocating cultural exchange and integration between eastern and western world. In chapter one, Rushdie’s cultural identity as an immigrant is analyzed in detail. It is this special cultural identity enables him to have the dual perspectives to look at the world, which was consciously shaped in his literary works in which eastern world and western world are both employed. Furthermore ,post-colonial theorists Said, Homi Bhabha’s theory of "hybridity" and "the third space" is expounded in this chapter , which is demonstrated that the Rushdie and his own literary creation have done a precise expression and a strong response on Bhabha’s "hybridity" theory. On the basis of Said and Homi Bhabha’s“hybridity”theory, in chapter two and three, textual content and narrative pattern of Midnight’s Children are further employed to elaborate, analyze and demonstrate Rushdie’s“hybridity”discourse. In chapter two, three aspects of characters, image and textuality are discussed to verify the“hybridity”in content, which reflects that Rushdie tries to break the boundaries of Eastern and Western culture to construct a literary text that can be beyond cultural differences. In chapter three, through the analysis on language, narrative pattern and magical realism approach, the“hybridity”in narrative pattern of Midnight’s Children is verified. In the conclusion part, points further indicated are as a post-colonial immigrant writer, Salman Rushdie has a lingering sense of anti-colonial and global awareness, he subverts the unified and single Hegemony pursued by imperialism and colonialism by his“hybridity”discourse on the one hand, meanwhile avoids the limitations of ultra-nationalism in the former colonies, that is, sticks to the local culture, refuses foreign cultural influences. In the era of multi-cultural coexistence, how do people adhere to local culture and deal with foreign cultures has become an important topic. In this context, study on Rushdie’s work undoubtedly is crucially significant, in which lies the value of this paper.

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