Tag Archives: Identity

Under The Spell of Amazon: Exploring the Structures of Race and Class in John Updike’s Novel Brazil (Published)

This paper is an attempt to examine how John Updike (1932-2009) a prominent American novelist, constructs in Brazil (1994) scenarios that reveal to his readers, moment by moment, the rich complexity of Brazilian race relations. I also seek to point out how Updike sets forth the complicated racial issues in modern-day Brazil through the hardships his two main characters, Tristão and Isabel, undergo. In a way, Updike seeks to identify parallel selves in individuals of other nations; individuals whom one would typically categorize as “Others”. The paper also discusses how Updike attempts to de-emphasize racial differences and suggests that humans are all connected to one another as mixed combinations of color. I argue that in a society where racial identities are not clearly definable and where miscegenation is commonplace, interracial unions are more easily accepted. Updike, however, sees that behind this admixture there is a bias linked to skin color and social class. Meanwhile, I argue that Updike’s text is stronger in his sense of place than his sense of people. In other words, though Updike poses the problems of race and identity, he falls short of that, because the main ideas of the novel—the questions of race and class—are never deeply explored or illuminated.

Keywords: Brazil, Classism, Corruption, Identity, Miscegenation, Racism, Updike

Pictures of Persuasion: Hong Kong’s Colonial Travel Posters (Published)

Hong Kong Baptist University recently purchased one of the world’s finest collections of vintage Hong Kong travel posters. The collection, which includes approximately one hundred posters dating from 1930-1980, is significant in many ways. These pictures of persuasion “offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand”. The posters provide a glimpse into evolving mid-century commercial art and the visual languages of Western modernism. Perhaps more importantly, however, they offer a valuable historical and social perspective on Hong Kong’s self-conception and its image in the West during the city’s late colonial period. The posters touch on many important historical themes, including a defence of colonialism, Hong Kong’s local and overseas identities and the ways people shared a now-lost urban environment. Hong Kong’s colonial travel posters belong to the collective memory of Hongkongers and the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Keywords: Colonialism, Commercial Art, Hong Kong, Identity, Travel Poster

Memory, Exile and Identity: A Negotiated Post-Apartheid South Africa in John Kani’s nothing But the Truth (Published)

Memory, exile and identity are part of the psychical configurations that embody the experience of man within the spatial location he occupies and that in which he achieves rigmarole of the performances of different activities akin to the idea of the ‘Waiting for Godot’. Exile has precipitated memories which invariably mould and reconstruct identities, rendering them fluid and malleable. This paper examines the invention and reinvention of memory in John Kani’s Nothing But the Truth (2002) as it affects how justice is perceived and how reconciliation and forgiveness are issued. It also investigates how Kani’s characters navigate the murky waters of a conflated experience in dual identities, informed by exile, and how shifts and adjustments are made to accommodate the products of crossed borders to achieve a resounding reconciliation, having  blurred, repressed, or better still, obliterated the dictates and vestiges of the wounded past. It is inferred, therefore, that the reconstruction of the unpalatable past will engender concrete cohesion beyond all existing divides in a new South Africa provided remorse is shown for past deeds and individual identity subsumed under the national identity.

Keywords: Identity, Memory., New South Africa, Remorse, Spatial Space

LEARNERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHER WRITTEN FEEDBACK COMMENTARY IN AN ESL WRITING CLASSROOM (Published)

The purpose of the current study is to examine Arab learners’ perceptions of teacher written feedback commentary in an ESL writing classroom. This study used a Think-Aloud Protocol (TAP) to examine learners’ perceptions of teacher WCF comments, involving fifteen native Arabic speaking ESL learners (11 male, 4 female) in three TAP interviews. The results of this study reveal that participants: 1) had a very high level of interest in teacher comments, 2) appreciated feedback that praised their good work, 3) complained about marginal comments that were not linked to specific errors with no line or arrow, 4) misinterpreted some teacher feedback comments.

Keywords: Identity, Investment, feedback commentary, praise

DO NICKNAMES CREATE THE LANDSCAPE OF A CHAT ROOM? EXPLORING NICKNAME TRENDS IN KUWAITI CHAT ROOMS (Published)

It is necessary for social media platforms to keep up with technological advancement to enable its users to engage in highly interactive settings. This is especially true of chat room settings where users nowadays use computer video cameras to transform virtual mixed-gender chat exchanges into more real and believable experiences. The increase in camera-based chat exchanges means that making up online identities specifically in the form of selecting ‘fantasy’ chat room screen names or nicknames (a common expression of identity among users in chat room communities) may no longer be possible. The present study compares changing trends linked to chat room user nicknames within two different time frames: 2009 and 2015, and in two different settings: Kuwaiti chat rooms and an international chat room. Utilizing quantitative as well as qualitative sociolinguistic methods, this comparative study demonstrates the effect of technological evolution on online chat room interaction. This study also aims to reveal how and why elements of power and status are assigned to chat room nicknames by their users.

Keywords: Chat rooms, Identity, Kuwaiti online users, changing trends, nicknames

THEME OF ALIENATION IN MODERN LITERATURE (Published)

Alienation is the basic form of rootlessness, which forms the subject of many psychological, sociological, literary and philosophical studies. Alienation is a major theme of human condition in the contemporary epoch. It is only natural that a pervasive phenomenon like alienation should leave such an indelible impact upon the contemporary literature. Alienation emerges as natural consequence of existential predicament both in intrinsic and extrinsic terms. The theme of alienation has been variously dealt with persistently and unflinchingly in modern literature. The alienated protagonist is a recurrent figure in much of the twentieth century American and European fiction. Alienation in its various forms, has been dealt with in the existentialistic literature. Owing to its historical and socio-cultural reasons, the Indo-English literature also, could not remain unaffected by it. Alienation is the result of loss of identity. The dispossessed personality’s search for identity is a common place theme in modern fiction. Man fails to perceive today the very purpose behind life and the relevance of his existence in a hostile world. Edmund Fuller remarks that in our age “man suffers not only from war, persecution, famine and ruin, but from inner problems ——— a conviction of isolation, randomness, meaninglessness in his way of existence “.The paper will discuss and analyze theme of alienation in modern literature in general and Indo-English literature in particular from different angles. It will be contextualized by referring profusely the works of renowned writers. Nuances of the word alienation will also be discussed thoroughly

Keywords: Alienation, Existence, Existentialism, Identity, Isolation, Predicament, Randomness, Rootlessness

AN EXAMINATION OF MULTICULTURALISM AND RACISM IN EDGAR MITTELHOLZER’S A MORNING AT THE OFFICE (Published)

This paper is examines Mittelholzer’s depiction of the multicultural and multiracial character of the West Indies in his novel, A Morning at the Office. It unfolds that the West Indies is inhabited by various peoples, from different parts of the globe and who had no indigenous link or ancestral claim on the islands. The paper further traces the roots of this multiculturalism in the West Indies and how it has engendered racism to the various colonial ideological onslaughts on the Islands, the importation of millions of African captives as well as the presence of Chinese and East Indians who served as planters and overseers on the newly established mines and plantation. Indeed, it is this conglomerate of peoples with diverse cultures that has made the Islands to be described as “A Stew Pot’. It is the submission of this paper that in a multicultural society, the issues of racism and racial segregation abound. The paper particularly uses Edgar Mittelholzer’s A Morning at the Office to project this view. At the end it asserts that the West Indies can only maintain its genuine national identity if all racial barriers are removed and the various races learn to appreciate the cultural and racial diversities of the Islands without prejudice to skin pigmentation.

Keywords: Identity, Multiculturalism, Racism, Stew Pot

Fantasy versus Authenticity in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child (Review Completed - Accepted)

Doris Lessing, the Nobel Laureate, is known as one of the most prominent British novelists. Adorned with many achievements she focuses on the identity as a major issue though here both the protagonists (Harriet and David) fail to build their own identity. The aim of this paper is to show the importance of dreams or fantasies in our practical life. In The Fifth Child the novelist has merged reality and imagination altogether. David and Harriet have fantasy or earlier dreams to have a big (traditional) family. Though in the era of sixties the bulk of society had changed its mind in relation to women and the family but Harriet and David neglect the drawbacks of a big family. And they also feel good with their family until they get the fifth child, Ben, who is abnormal. Even with the pregnancy of Ben Harriet feels much trouble and unnatural. Due to this child the relation between Harriet and David becomes bitter and troublesome. They feel the reality of life that is quite different from their imagination. Ben is sent to an orphanage but Harriet takes him back to home that is more problematic. Neither of the parents can love Ben because they are afraid of him and his monstrous activities. Thus this paper relates subconscious state of mind to the consciousness through the fantasies or dreams.

Keywords: Abnormal, Consciousness., Drawbacks, Fantasies, Identity, Problematic, Reality, Sub Consciousness, Unnatural