Identity Crisis and Displacement in Malouf’s Remembering Babylon: A Postcolonial Critique
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This research paper highlights the sufferings of Australians in colonial and postcolonial eras. The study mainly focuses on the dehumanizing effects of colonial exploitative regime on the colonized. It is a critique of British colonial enterprise and its psychological repercussions on the psyche of the colonized people. It further explores the concepts of displacement, identity crisis and hybridity in Australian society. In David Malouf’s novel Remembering Babylon, the protagonist Gemmy experiences the dilemma of identity crisis and displacement when he dares to cross the boundaries that separate the civilized world from the uncivilized. He lost his true identity in this process and became an alien within his own community. He is not accepted by the native people and the white settlers both so it raised a question mark on his real identity and his sense of belongingness. After living for sixteen years with the Aboriginal Australians and adopting their ways and means of living, he looks more like them than the people of his own white race. Therefore, he is not accepted by the colonizers and they make him a victim of oppression and subjugation. Not only Gemmy but there are also many other characters in the novel who are suffering from the same situation. The characters’ sense of affinity has been eroded by dislocation with which identity crisis emerges. The basic concepts of Ashcroft et al’s place, displacement and identity crisis and Bhabha’s hybridity under postcolonialism help understand the suffering of native people in Remembering Babylon by Malouf.
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