Detoured, deferred and different: a comparative study of postcolonial diasporic identities in the literary works of Sam Selvon and Weng Nao
Lin, Tzu Yu
This thesis provides a comparative reading to selected writings from Anglophone Trinidadian writer Sam Selvon and Japanophone Taiwanese writer Weng Nao, demonstrating the link between these two authors’ specific representation of multiple diasporic models of Caribbean diaspora and Taiwanese diaspora respectively and its influence on diasporic identity narratives. This study provides a cross-linguistic/ cultural perspective on comparative postcolonial literary studies, which helps to move beyond the primary focus of Anglophone texts and contexts. Although the focused two authors Sam Selvon and Weng Nao come from different historical specificities and linguistic backgrounds that urge them produce their narratives in different ways and tones of tackling issues that they have encountered in each socio-political and cultural contexts respectively, their works provides outstanding examples of how contemporary diasporic routes—both geographically and metaphorically, have significant influence on literary productions that should not be categorised by its geographical or linguistic boundaries, and can only be fully understood by linking one to another from the legacies of colonialism and the triangle models of diasporic routes. The diasporic identity, as being illustrated in both of their works, has been evolved with geographical movements and transformed into an iconic concept that makes new forms of artistic production possible. Diasporic literature, therefore, should not be limited into traditional disciplinary compartmentalisation of national literary studies. By bringing the focus on the multiple diasporic journeys, the identity representation reflected in the literary work in this study helps to identify the complexity and boundary crossing within Anglophone literature and Japanophone literature, which have already transformed into literary works of being able to depict a more complex model of modern cultures—endless traveling and hybrid. By bringing forth the excluded Japanophone texts in the field of postcolonial studies to be compared with the texts from the prominent Anglophone postcolonial writer Sam Selvon, this thesis hopes to offer some insights into the reassessment of the literary status of Weng Nao and the significance of his works in the world literary stage, and, furthermore, to identify how Japanophone literary works might be compatible with postcolonial analysis.
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