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Multiculturalism and magic realism? Between fiction and reality von Hadjetian, Sylvia (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 14.04.2008
  • Verlag: GRIN Publishing
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Multiculturalism and magic realism? Between fiction and reality

Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Regensburg (Anglistik), 190 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Since the 1970s, there has been an increasing concern with the impact of colonialism and postcolonialism on British identities and culture and the influence that the former British Empire had and still has on people in the former colonies and in Britain today. Novels like Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children' or 'The Satanic Verses', Hanif Kureishi's 'The Buddha of Suburbia', Meera Syal's 'Anita and Me', Timothy Mo's 'Sour Sweet', Sam Selvon's 'The Lonely Londoners' and Monica Ali's 'Brick Lane' along with films like 'Bend it like Beckham' or TV series like 'The Kumars at No. 42' and 'Da Ali G Show' exemplify this rather new phenomenon and its world-wide success. They are representative of a large group of multicultural novels and productions created during the last few decades. Although multiculturalism is not new in the media, there has been a special boom of writers of the 'empire within' during the last ten years.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 136
    Erscheinungsdatum: 14.04.2008
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783638035996
    Verlag: GRIN Publishing
    Serie: Akademische Schriftenreihe Bd.V89208
    Größe: 379 kBytes
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Multiculturalism and magic realism? Between fiction and reality

2. Great Britain and Immigration

Immigration to Great Britain is not a new phenomenon. The flow of ethnic groups, from which the present British population originates, has a long history and the country has seen waves of immigration of different ethnic groups for centuries. Invaders like the Anglo-Saxons and Normans successively populated the country as well as the Irish, for example, as a result of the famines in Ireland in the 19th century. This has to be kept in mind when talking about immigration to Britain – the population as it is composed today is the result of centuries of immigration.

The success of the novel considered in this thesis cannot be understood without any knowledge of the history of immigration and certain ethnic minorities [35] in Britain, especially since the end of World War II [36] , as the themes dealt with in the book are closely interlinked with that period of British history. This chapter will give an overview of selected aspects of this phenomenon [37] .

2.1 Britain and Colonialism

Because of its period of colonial expansion, Great Britain has had, for several centuries, a tradition of immigration which is nowadays shown in its multicultural population [38] . But what happened during the period of colonialism so that it resulted in cultural pluralism in Britain?

Colonialism refers to the seizure of foreign territories by imperial powers like Britain. The inhabitants of these countries are either expelled or suppressed, the land populated with colonisers and the economy exploited. The political power of the colonisers expands to their colonies and the colonisers decide on political issues, the education system and culture. The traditions of the local people are often forbidden or alienated.

Britain expanded its territories and colonies overseas from the 16th century with a climax at the end of the 19th century [39] . Independence began mainly after World War II when most British possessions were decolonised and founded their own states afterwards [40] . As a consequence, the Empire [41] came completely to an end in the 1960s [42] . But most of the former colonies now belong to the Third World [43] and are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 49 independent states which has evolved from the former British Empire [44] . Its aims are to aid these countries, the promotion of international understanding, mutual co-operation and consultation among governments and scientific co-operation [45] . Although there are no obligations concerning the education systems in the former colonies, there is a common tradition of the English language instruction at school [46] .

2.2 White Teeth and Immigration

As White Teeth is mainly the story of immigrants from the former colonies Bangladesh and Jamaica, which are both today Commonwealth member states, and of Jews from Poland, the following chapter deals with a short overview of the history of these countries and Jews in England as relevant to the novel.

2.2.1 The History of Jamaica

Irie, one of the main characters of the novel, is half-Jamaican and half-English. Her Jamaican mother Clara, the island, its history and people play a crucial role in White Teeth . Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea with approximately 2.6 million inhabitants and its capital is called Kingston [47] . The island became independent on August 6 1962 [48] . Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in

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