THE CONSTRUCTION AND POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN ANDREA LEVY’S SMALL ISLAND Cover Image

THE CONSTRUCTION AND POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN ANDREA LEVY’S SMALL ISLAND
THE CONSTRUCTION AND POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN ANDREA LEVY’S SMALL ISLAND

Author(s): Ksenija Kondali
Subject(s): Cultural history, Fiction, Studies of Literature, Ethnohistory, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949)
Published by: Bosansko filološko društvo
Keywords: Caribbean literature; Britishness; identity; belonging; colonial legacy; imperial power

Summary/Abstract: Informed by Stuart Hall’s critical insight into identity and Ashley Dawson’s theories of the “mongrel nation”, this paper analyzes Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island (2004) and the complex aspects of construction of identity and the related politics of identity. This novel by the black British-born writer of Jamaican immigrant parents echoes the profound ramifications of British imperial control and history through the intersection of different first-personnarratives of protagonists struggling with ideas of belonging and the metanarrative of the British nation. The analysis explores how the British colonial power’s legacy, manifest in an erroneous and idealized view of the British Empire as superior territory and identity, influences the characters’ identity related to the inexorable shift in post-WWII British consciousness. Within the context of these circumstances in Britain, including the diminishing imperial supremacy due to U.S. leadership as the world’s leading nation, this paper investigates the fate of Caribbean migrants who arrived in London, the capital of the “Mother Country”, on the Empire Windrush in 1948, and the ensuing process of building an alternative, diasporic identity. These migrants face constraints due to the country’s colonial legacy, its waning imperial power and British resentment towards post-WWII arrivals from the colonies.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 14
  • Page Range: 163-179
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: English