A BHABHAESQUE APPROACH TO HYBRIDITY IN JEAN RHYS’S WIDE SARGASSO SEA AND CARYL PHILLIPS’S THE FINAL PASSAGE
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This dissertation reads the main characters in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Caryl Phillips’s The Final Passage (1985) as hybrids, owning a hybrid identity and experiencing in-betweenness. Employing Bhabha’s postcolonial concepts of hybridity, the Third Space, in-betweenness and mimicry, this dissertation argues that these novels depict a variety of characters as representations of postcolonial hybrids. As a result of colonisation, both the colonised and the coloniser end up as hybrids. In the introduction of this dissertation the concepts of hybridity, the Third Space, in- betweenness and mimicry as defined by Homi Bhabha are introduced, and the issue of hybrid identity is explored in relation to postcolonial identity. The first chapter deals with Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys in order to explore how hybrid identity is depicted through Antoinette, a white Creole heiress, living in a Bhabhanian Third Space, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage with the English husband and relocation to England. In this chapter her hybridity and the transformation of her identity are examined. The second chapter focuses on The Final Passage by Caryl Phillips in order to examine the concept of hybrid identity through Leila, a 19 year-old girl with a lighter skin who is neither black Caribbean nor white European, living in a Bhabhanian Third Space. In the conclusion, it is argued that these novels question and challenge the naturalisation of the complexity of hybridity and hybrid identities. The hybrid characters in both Wide Sargasso Sea and The Final Passage inhabit a Bhabhanian Third Space where they experience in-betweenness, challenge, question, negotiate and offer alternative solutions to redefine their hybrid identities. While Rhys deals with the hybridity in the nineteenth century, Phillips focuses on the hybridity in the mid-twentieth century; as a result, the differences between the two generations can be seen while the nature of hybridity keeps on evolving.