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Ambiguity and Ambiguous Identities in Caryl Phillips's Crossing the River
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the first chapter of Crossing the River (1993), Caryl Phillips depicts the dilemma of a fluid identity for the peoples of the African diaspora and their descendants by using ambiguity to simulate feelings of contradiction, liminality and a double consciousness. The first character, Nash Williams, struggles with his cultural identity as an emancipated, black slave and missionary who is repatriated in Africa to convert the pagans of Liberia. A postcolonial reading of Nash’s hybrid position illustrates his experiences of unhomeliness, of religious doubt and realisation in the shortcomings of mimicry. The second character, Amelia Williams is divided by her dual identity as the wife of a slave owning-slave liberator in antebellum America. Via a contrapuntal reading of Amelia as the antagonist of the tale, her hostile manner supports the suggestion that she sought to control the peculiar situation which was threatening her livelihood, depreciating her social status and debasing her imperialist values. Her proslavery standpoint could not, however, be established unequivocally. Nevertheless, both Amelia and Nash are unmistakably troubled by inner conflicts engendered through slavery and polarised ideologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
African diaspora, ambiguity, double consciousness, unhomeliness, mimicry, postcolonial, contrapuntal, imperialist, slavery, ideologies.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23161OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-23161DiVA: diva2:1059897
Subject / course
English
Educational program
no programme (freestanding course)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-12-30 Created: 2016-12-26 Last updated: 2017-01-02Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf