Constructing Postcolonial Migrant Identities in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
Abstract: This essay looks at how the identity of the modern postcolonial migrant is articulated across the coordinates of the postcolonial nation, the imperial center and cultural and personal consciousness. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the condition of the migrant self, its representations and misrepresentations as thematized by Salman Rushdie’ s The Satanic Verses. It seems that Rushdie proposes a demonic state of the migrant as a man fallen from grace, someone who has willingly severed his ties with the “paradise” of unbroken and unquestioned national identity and has entered a state of “rootlessness”, of not belonging. Therefore, it might be argued that the novel resolves to kill the essence of the pure, “untranslated” self only to reassert it as hybridity and mongrelization. A postmodern novelist like Rushdie is bound to reject as mere fiction the integrity of both the communitarian and the migrant subject. In his view, the self is necessarily fragmented – a construct of bits of ideals, perceptions, desires and beliefs, cultures, histories, and traditions, in one word, a hybrid. Moreover, the novel shows that the migrant, in the very process of moving, of crossing over, redefines the old traditional territorial boundaries, maps and divisions, especially the cultural ones. Therefore, both the location of culture (in Homi Bhabha‟s terms) and the location of the migrant identity are now to be found in the interstitial and the global.
Keywords: migrant, identity, hybridity, postcoloniality, metropolis
To cite the article: Mariana Boeru, (2012) “Constructing Postcolonial Migrant Identities in Salman Rushdie‘s The Satanic Verses”, International Journal of Cross-Cultural Studies and Environmental Communication NO. 1 2012, Vol. 1 Iss: 1, pp.7 – 25
Mariana Boeru is Head of the Foreign Languages Main Center within the Foreign Languages Department at Mircea cel Bătrân Naval Academy, Constanţa. She teaches general English and ESP courses for adults. She is currently a student at the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Letters, Ovidius University, Constanţa. Her research interests are postmodernism, postcolonialism, cultural discourses and the relationship between history and literature.