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Hybridity and National Identity in Postcolonial Literature Essay

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Hybridity and National Identity in Postcolonial Literature  
   

 Every human being, in addition to having their own personal identity, has a sense of who they are in relation to the larger community--the nation. Postcolonial studies is the attempt to strip away conventional perspective and examine what that national identity might be for a postcolonial subject. To read literature from the perspective of postcolonial studies is to seek out--to listen for, that indigenous, representative voice which can inform the world of the essence of existence as a colonial subject, or as a postcolonial citizen. Postcolonial authors use their literature and poetry to solidify, through criticism and celebration, an emerging national identity, which they have taken on the responsibility of representing. Surely, the reevaluation of national identity is an eventual and essential result of a country gaining independence from a colonial power, or a country emerging from a fledgling settler colony. However, to claim to be representative of that entire identity is a huge undertaking for an author trying to convey a postcolonial message. Each nation, province, island, state, neighborhood and individual is its own unique amalgamation of history, culture, language and tradition. Only by understanding and embracing the idea of cultural hybridity when attempting to explore the concept of national identity can any one individual, or nation, truly hope to understand or communicate the lasting effects of the colonial process.

Postcolonialism is the continual shedding of the old skin of Western thought and discourse and the emergence of new self-awareness, critique, and celebration. With this self-awareness comes self-expression. But how should the i...


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...nial institution--one voice which would articulate their own sense of national identity. But exploration of these societies, and the literature produced by postcolonial authors and poets illustrates that there is a veritable infinite number of differing circumstances inherent in each postcolonial society, and, consequently, in each piece of literature produced by postcolonial writers. If one is to read this literature in a way which will shed some light on the postcolonial condition, one must understand and adopt the theory that we are all walking amalgamations of our own unique cultures and traditions. We are all always struggling with our own identities, personal and national. We must understand that there is no "one true voice" representing an easily identifiable postcolonial condition, but, instead, each author is his or her own voice and must be read as such.


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