Cultural Hybridity In Anita And Me

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The matters of migration, diaspora, cultural hybridity and identity, which are interconnected, have become the important concerns of Meera Syal, an important contemporary Asian – British writer. In her novel, the complimentary as well as the clashing relationships between the white Britons and Indian diaspora in postcolonial British society are focussed. Interracial connections are inherent to the background of the novel and crop up in incidents that concern the protagonist, who shares a common Indian ancestry. Meera Syal represents the dialogues of British and Indian cultures and selves in great detail. In this paper, an attempt has been made to approach the diasporic/ multicultural dimensions in her acclaimed novel Anita and Me (1997) and…show more content…
The Webster Dictionary in 1828 defined the word “hybrid” as an animal or plant produced from the mixture of two species. The idea of racial hybridity was widely used until the 19th century. The Oxford English Dictionary in 1861 defined hybridity as a crossing of people of different races. In 1862, the word was firstly used to refer to a philological phenomenon connected to a complex word formed of elements belonging to different languages (Young 95). Cultural hybridity is not limited to the physical features of the human beings such as the colour of skin, hair and eyes, but goes beyond these. Hybridity exhibits redefinition and reformation of culture and identity. Homi Bhabha argues that “hybridity is the revaluation of the belief of colonial identity. It shows the required deformation and displacement of all sites of discrimination and domination” (Bhabha 84). In this belief, Bhabha seems to stress the redefinition of identity within colonial space in which dialogue between who has dominated and who has been discriminated, occur. It is worth observing that blending cultural practice within diasporic and multicultural society causes the redefinition of one’s identity. The theory of cultural hybridity is considered apt to the issues represented in Anita and Me. Meena, the main character in the novel is an example of an individual with a background whose identity is influenced and formed by the multi…show more content…
Her moment of final awareness and choice coincides with her rite of transition, a classic device in the childhood narrative wherein the formal literary system is complete “at the point at which the immature self of childhood is conscious of its transformation into the mature self of the adult who is the narrator of the early experience” (Coe 56). Three events in Meena’s tenth year are central in this aspect. The first is her grandmother’s visit from India. The relationship the child and her Nanima generate makes her long for their country or origin, makes her wish she spoke Punjabi, and makes her understand the deepest aspects of her cultural possibilities. The second event is her eight-week stay at the hospital with a broken leg, when she meets Robert, her first “boyfriend”, who gives her the confidence she needs to just be herself. The final contributing event is the criticism of her friendship with Anita, when the latter chooses to take sides with a gang that threatens Indians. Meena realizes that she can and must reject Anita’s way of life, and, more importantly, realizes that she no longer needs Anita’s approval, as she is able to see beyond the English girl’s confident face to the helpless child who, in her turn, longs for acceptance and status but is too glad to admit

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