Belonging-in-difference: negotiating identity in Anglophone Caribbean literature

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Faulkner, Marie-France (2013)

Through the critical discourse analysis of Anglophone Caribbean literature as a\ud polyrhythmic performance, this research sets out to examine the claim that, in a\ud world in a state of constant flux, emerging Caribbean voices are offering a\ud challenging perspective on how to negotiate identity away from the binary constructs\ud of centre and margin. It argues that the Caribbean writer, as a self-conscious\ud producer of alternative discourses, offers an innovative and transcultural vision of the\ud self.\ud This research consists of three stages which integrate critical discourse and literary\ud analysis with colonial/postcolonial and socio-cultural theories. Firstly, it investigates\ud the power of language as an operation of discourse through which to apprehend\ud reality within a binary system of representation. It then examines how the concept of\ud discourse, as a site of contestation and meaning, enables the elaboration of a\ud Caribbean counter-discourse. Finally, it explores the role, within the Caribbean text,\ud of literary techniques such as narrative fragmentation, irony, dialogism,\ud intertextuality, ambivalence and the carnivalesque to challenge, disrupt the\ud established order and offer new perspectives of being.\ud My study of Anglophone Caribbean texts highlights the power of language and the\ud authority of the ‘book’ as subtle, insidious tools of domination and colonisation. It\ud also demonstrates how, by allowing hitherto marginalised voices to write themselves\ud into being, Caribbean writers enable linear narratives and monolithic visions of\ud reality to be contested and other perspectives of understanding and of meaning to be\ud uncovered. It exposes the plurality and the interweaving of discourses in the\ud Caribbean text as a liberating, dynamic force which enables new subject positions\ud and realities to emerge along the lines of similarity and difference. \ud At a time when the issue of identity is one of the central problems in the world today,\ud the research argues that this celebration of the plural, the fluid and the ambivalent offers new ways of being away from the stultifying perspective of essentialist forms.
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