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Unhomely Lives: Double Consciousness in Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay argues that Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother depicts how the indigenous colonized in Dominica are living ‘unhomely lives’ and that their experience is one of the double consciousness. i.e. when a person see the world through different "lenses." The person does not only have a dual personality but also feels the notion of having different roles in society, such as having a black identity and at the same time conforming to the stereotypical norms of the white society for a black person. Therefore, the person sees the world, and oneself, through one’s own “black” lens and the “white” lens at the same time. Subsequently, with a setting full of diversities, the novel depicts a colonial background where the characters have been ascribed certain features to their persona. Furthermore, the novel uses metaphors to show a futile endeavor of finding identity of the main characters in an ineluctable power structure. By utilizing the postcolonial theoretical framework; mainly Du Bois’s notion on ‘double consciousness’ and Bhabha’s term ‘unhomely lives’ which means to grow up between two cultures, to live on borders and in margins and not feel at ease in either sides, expands the readers understanding of the text. A central aspect of the novel is the alienation of an individual’s personal identity in the context of a postcolonial society. Therefore, the psychology of the novel’s characters will be a major theme of this essay. Nevertheless, the novel shows that it is hard for the characters Alfred and Xuela to break free from the bonds of society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 32 p.
Keyword [en]
Postcolonialism, colonial discourse, double consciousness, unhomed, hybridity
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-25858OAI: diva2:780706
Subject / course
2014-06-03, MA612, Södertörns Högskola, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2015-01-15 Created: 2015-01-15 Last updated: 2015-01-15Bibliographically approved

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