Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Language, Literature and Media Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr Susan Ash

Abstract

In this thesis I demonstrate how a notion of decentred subjectivity better describes marginal subject positions than the concept of unified subjectivity which depends on a discriminatory binary conceptualisation. I identify the migrant position as an aporia from which to deconstruct such concepts as unified subjectivity, as the migrant refuses classification according to dichotomous structures. I use Derridean metaphors to show the falseness and unexamined essentialism inherent in binary oppositions. I use a combination of theorists, and especially Helime Cixous, to augment my primarily Derridean reading of migrant subjectivity within the texts: The Crocodile Fury by Beth Yahp and The Mule's Foal by Fotini Epanomitis. Cixous' model genders the decentred subject, and situates subjectivity as a discursive process. This theory also helps account for the notion of movement integral to migrant identity evident in the texts' characters. I examine the importance of cultural effects on migrant subjectivity and the vital role that a recognition of the past plays for migrants, both in terms of identity construction and as a stategy of resistance to the phallocentric and Eurocentric bias of the dominant culture. Lastly, I look at the way the novels transcend binary categorisation and present a more fluid, multiple way of viewing the world. This ideal of a more equitable system for marginalised people is the goal of my feminist and postcolonial project of resistance.

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