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His whole life and work tend to be the proof that he was a torn man, very much like me, all things considered. The break from the U. It was a break with my former attitudes as a Negro and a communist—an attempt to think over and redefine my attitudes and my thinking. I was trying to grapple with the big problem— the problem and meaning of Western civilization as a whole and the relation of Negroes and other minority groups to it.
For the emerging African elite, those years were marked by cultural and existential insecurity as African countries, transitioning from European colonies to modern states, had to broker new cultural values. The racial fears instilled in Big Boy find a psychotic outlet in Native Son whereas The Outsider attempts to transcend those irrational fears by raising philosophical questions about human freedom. I will discuss two different categories of hybridity: the creative or transcendental form of hybridity theorized by Homi K.
Initially associated with miscegenation and impurity, it was introduced in the postcolonial discourse to challenge the essentialist models of culture and identity.
Bhabha has made it a major concept allowing him to reject the validity of any idea based on cultural authenticity. Cultural identities come from somewhere, have histories. But, like everything which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. These novels stage two black intellectual characters who find themselves trapped by the ideological and moral forces of their social environment.
As we follow Cross Damon and Samba Diallo in their adventures, we realize that these forces are related to the dialectics of displacement, which leads to the dislocation of their individuality.
As for The Outsider , it should be underlined that thirteen years after the publication of Native Son , Wright made it clear that he wanted to move beyond racial issues to confront the world with a new vision of man.
Having written bitter novels indicting American racism, Wright was now trying to create a literary space through which he could translate and articulate his post-racial idealism.
The story unfolds in colonial times and we first meet Samba Diallo as a young man caught between two axiological systems.
When Samba Diallo migrates to Paris to pursue his studies in philosophy he ends up voicing scepticism about his identity. As displaced individuals, both characters are struggling to make sense of the materialistic ethics of Western society. This may account for their interest in philosophy though their constant involvement with metaphysical issues deepens their existential wounds, leaving them with the tragic sense of nothingness.
Indeed, the insight they acquire from their spiritual search does not open any doors to them other than those of solitude and dereliction. In Paris, he explains to his friends:.
I have become the two. There is not a clear mind deciding between the two factors of a choice. There is a strange nature in distress over not being two. While Senghor emphasizes the richness of the mongrelized self, Cheikh H.
Kane attempts to bring into the open its dark side. Samba Diallo goes on to meditate on the fate awaiting the postcolonial intellectual:. It may be that we shall be captured at the end of our itinerary, vanquished by our adventure itself.
It suddenly occurs to us that, all along the road, we have not ceased to metamorphose ourselves, and we see ourselves other than what we were. Sometimes the metamorphosis is not even finished. We have turned ourselves into hybrids, and there we are left.
Then we hide ourselves filled with shame. After miraculously surviving a subway accident in Chicago, Cross chooses a marginal life before turning himself into a nihilistic criminal. Indeed, Cross is given the chance to start from scratch. Once in Harlem, he visits a cemetery to select a name from a tomb.
Both men engage in a long philosophical conversation about the position of the Negro in American society. And when Cross Damon later commits a double manslaughter, Elly Houston is asked to investigate the crime. It does take him long to realize that the potential killer Cross Damon is a nihilist who lives in an isolated moral and metaphysical space:.
Could there be a man in whose mind and consciousness all the hopes and inhibitions of the last two thousand years have died? A man whose consciousness has not been conditioned by our culture? A man speaking our language, dressing and behaving as we do, and yet living on a completely different plane? A man who would be the return of ancient man, pre-Christian man? He has all the unique advantages of being privy to our knowledge, but he has either rejected it or has somehow escaped its influence.
And, by the nature of things, such a man sooner or later is bound to appear. Modern man sleeps in the myths of the Greeks and the Jews. Those myths are now dying in his head and in his heart. They can no longer serve him. When they are really gone, those myths, man returns. Nothing at all but his own desires, which would be his only values. But while Samba Diallo finds himself bogged down in pathological hybridity, Cross Damon rejects institutionalized values to assert freedom as an absolute staple of his existence.
Alienation and moral and psychological isolation give Cross a new lease on life. He enters a new temporality pre-Christian time after erasing his past and choosing his destiny for the first time. Joseph Conrad describes the way alienation or marginality provides man with a deep insight into human existence. At the end of their spiritual odyssey, Cross Damon and Samba Diallo acquire an ontological understanding of man.
Asked about why he chose to live as an outsider, Cross Damon is unable to provide any rational answer. There was so much and yet it was so little….
Darkness is closing on me. Another famous example on this issue is the allegory of the cave explored by Plato in Book 6 of Republic. At the heart of this myth lies the question of light and vision: the encounter with higher essences or truths depends on whether the inhabitants of the cave, living in darkness, can see real things in the light of day or as mere shadows.
For Plato, and for Western society, vision, knowledge and reason were inextricably tied to each other as they were considered the locus of truth. Those who have invented neither powder nor compass those who could harness neither steam nor electricity those who exploited neither seas nor the sky Vrin, Bhabha , Homi K. First ed. The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright. Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press, Bhabha, The Location of Culture , See Ania Loomba, Colonialism and Postcolonialism , My translation.
Paris, Editions du Seuil, American Studies Journal. Sommaire - Document suivant. Michel in the Diasporic Imagination. On the different categories of hybridity, Ella Shohat Paris, Editions du Haut de page. Suivez-nous Flux RSS.
Sheikh Hamidou Kane
Cheikh Hamidou Kane was born in into a noble, scholarly family from the north of Senegal. His father was educated in the Islamic sciences and familiar with the theological and philosophical thought of both the Islamic and European traditions. Cheikh Hamidou Kane later left Senegal to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. Ambiguous Adventure was written in the early s, but was not published until It has often been seen as a philosophical novel that deals with the social and intellectual dilemmas of an African Muslim society having to submit to secular cultural norms imported with French rule; but the story is actually about something much more fundamental.
ISBN 13: 9782850492396
National Library of Australia. Search the catalogue for collection items held by the National Library of Australia. Read more Moriceau, Annie.
His whole life and work tend to be the proof that he was a torn man, very much like me, all things considered. The break from the U. It was a break with my former attitudes as a Negro and a communist—an attempt to think over and redefine my attitudes and my thinking. I was trying to grapple with the big problem— the problem and meaning of Western civilization as a whole and the relation of Negroes and other minority groups to it. For the emerging African elite, those years were marked by cultural and existential insecurity as African countries, transitioning from European colonies to modern states, had to broker new cultural values.
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