2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Performing Englishness and Resisting Assimilation: An Examination of the Migrant in The Satanic Verses and White Teeth
James T. Estes
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The juxtaposition of cultures and the erosion of cultural borders is at the center of the postcolonial novel, especially in the case of the immigrant from the "third world" to a "developed country." The immigrant is stuck in between the cultures of their home country and their adoptive country. I will compare immigrants in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Characters can either chose to assimilate into the new country or resist. Those characters who wish to assimilate usually give up the religious beliefs of their country of origin, or are not adamantly religious. Those who wish to resist assimilation do so by becoming fervently religious. The anti-assimilation migrant paints their new country as "godless," and their old country as "pious." In both cases, the migrant believes there is a causal relation between the performance of religious and national identity; however, both novels subvert this belief.

Keywords: Postcolonial, Immigrants, India, Pakistan, Identity, Nationalism


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 49-2
Location: OP 2113
Time: 3:00

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