Reading Allegiance, Hybridity, and Decoloniality in Harriet Martineau's The Hour and the Man (1841) and Emeric Bergeaud's Stella (1852)Show full item record
|Reading Allegiance, Hybridity, and Decoloniality in Harriet Martineau's The Hour and the Man (1841) and Emeric Bergeaud's Stella (1852)
|The French colonization of Haiti allowed for the creation of an environment defined not only by binary ideas of colonizer/colonized but also by what exists in the intermingling of these spaces. Applying Homi Bhabha's terminology of the Third Space, which contends that the collision of disparate cultures creates a new liminal space for its inhabitants, I posit that many Haitian citizens exist in a "third space" informed by both their ties to French colonial forces and their own Black and Haitian identities. In applying this theory, I argue that the protagonists of Harriet Martineau's The Hour and the Man (1841) and Emeric Bergeaud's Stella (1859) offer a representation of transcendental, revolutionary figures. These figures' responses to the liminal spaces that they inhabit then complicate the novels' themes concerning the decolonization of French Haiti. Each novel's protagonists provide a nuanced perspective on the assimilation and ensuing resistance of this time period. In analyzing these two novels in tandem, I will first offer context surrounding their publication, particularly where it concerns relevant biographical information of the authors' differing national perspectives. I will then move into a discussion and definition of Bhabha's "Third Space" theory as it relates to these two novels. Harriet Martineau's central character -- Toussaint L'Ouverture -- inhabits a liminal space equally informed by both nationalities where he cannot conform to either side. This conflict of identity, complicated by his ties to French Christianity and the absolute power that L'Ouverture eventually gains, places Martineau's L'Ouverture as a character who resists assimilation even amid a social milieu that expects it. Similarly, Emeric Bergeaud's work Stella provides a perspective on ideas concerning the Third Space and the theme of resistance to assimilation. Unlike The Hour and the Man, Bergeaud fictionalizes a perspective on the Haitian Revolution, allowing for the three¿central characters to experience the violence in a manner that relies on magical and clear abolitionist influence. Stella's companions -- namely young brothers Romulus and Remus -- though not otherworldly, are seemingly educated to a French standard. Simultaneously, they are characterized by their relationship to their African royal heritage. I will explore the boys' roles as former slaves and revolutionaries and will detail the manners in which the three central characters transcend the borders of age and race.
|Modern Language Studies
|Ireland, Benjamin Hiramatsu
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- Undergraduate Honors Papers