Edward Said Identity

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Being classified as the “other’ is an idea that was first coined by Edward Said in his text titled Orientalism. In this text Said critiques the cultural representations of Orientalism written and performed by a western, biased view of the eastern hemisphere. In western writing and media, the people who hail from the eastern hemisphere are seen and depicted as the ‘other’. They are viewed as uncivilized, lesser, terrorists and opposites of everything on the western side of the world. They are judged based on race and other factors and displayed in a negative way that greatly impacts how they are viewed and treated in other countries. This idea of ‘otherness’ is central to sociological analyses of how majority and minority identities are constructed.…show more content…
After World War II, the question of the “other" became a critical and prominent theme in the relation of self and the other. The theme of identity is one of the most common themes found in post-colonial literature. This is due to the crisis in the search and formation of a self-identity of the newly freed nations in the post-colonial era. The new found freedom that had been given resulted in the need for a new identity to separate the countries from their previous colonizers, resulting in the subject of identity became unclear and unfixed. Kobena Mercer argues “identity only becomes an issue when it is in crisis, when something assumed to be fixed, coherent and stable is displaced by the experience of doubt and uncertainty"(Mercer, 43). In Dreaming in Cuban the focus is on the character of Pilar Puente’s as she attempts to navigate her American identity while attempting to bridge it together with her Cuban heritage. She is the ‘other’ where she is neither fully American nor Cuban, but both. In comparison in Cereus Blooms at Night both Tyler and Otoh are attempting to navigate their respective identities, that while different from Pilar’s can equally be described as hybrid identities and ‘other’ than. This paper will use the idea of the ‘other’ and analyze the text, Dreaming in Cuban by Christina Garcia, in an attempt to explore the idea of hybrid-identity that is seen in the character of Pilar, who is both Cuban and American. In addition this paper will analyze the novel Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo and theorize that Mootoo uses the concept of a hybrid identity, which she displays in the sexual identities of characters of Tyler and Otoh to subvert the ideology of a nationalism and heterosexual normality. Finally after examining the idea of the ‘other’ in these three characters, this paper will attempt to show how in the end the characters are

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