2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Hybridity and Agency in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses
Trevor A. Grizzell
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses (1988), the characters Saladin and Gibreel are stark opposites in how they define themselves. At the beginning of the novel Gibreel aligns himself wholly with the Indian culture in which he operates, whereas Saladin reactively defines himself in complete opposition to India, abjecting his native culture in order to see himself as a "pure" British citizen. The transformation of these men into personifications of the divine (Gibreel into an angel and Saladin into a devil) seems to imply that Gibreel's essential Indian self is inherently better and more true than Saladin's constructed British identity. I argue, however, that as the men maneuver through their postcolonial landscapes, the only identities that are successful are those that do not simply adhere to either essentialism or constructivism, but rather become hybridized, marked by fluidity and the recognition of both traditional roots and contemporary postcolonial realities.

Keywords: postcolonial, Salman Rushdie, India, England, agency, identity, hybridity

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 13-4
Location: VH 1304
Time: 8:45

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