Caught Between Two Worlds

Pataki, Éva
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In this paper I intend to provide an insight into the current position and state of mind of British Asians through three landmark novels of the contemporary British Asian writers Hanif Kureish, Zadie Smith and Monica Ali. After a theoretical introduction to key terms such as cultural identity, hybridity and multiculturalism, this paper will outline the position and problems of British Asians in Great Britain and their manifestation in arts. The second section will cover South Asian literature on migration, assimilation and identity, followed by an introduction to the life and works of Kureishi, Smith and Ali, in terms of their experiences of being ’other’, motivations to write about as well as their thoughts on immigrant issues and the introduction of the three novels I chose to represent the confusion of cultural identity of British Asians in contemporary British literature: The Buddha of Suburbia, White Teeth, and Brick Lane. Finally, the third section will concentrate on the characters of the three novels, classified according to generations and gender, starting with the analysis of the first and second generation, followed by British Asian women. In conclusion, I will present how several contemporary writers and scholars tend to accept hybridity as a phenomenon of cultural identity and a possible answer to the confusion of cultural identity, and how multiculturalism can be a new hope for immigrants and natives alike for the new millennium.
hybridity, cultural identity, multiculturalism, South Asian diaspora