The Hybridity of the Asian American Subject in Cynthia Kadohata’s The Floating World

In: Reconstructing Hybridity

This article examines the novel The Floating World (1989) by the Japanese American author Cynthia Kadohata. I will read Kadohata’s novel in the context of post-colonial theory. The article will argue that the novel seeks to redefine America as a space of hybridity in a manner that is not merely celebratory. Rather, Kadohata’s novel shows that the process of constructing hybrid identities is also one of violence, trauma and unease. In my reading I will show that the novel’s representation of hybridity is constructed in the framework of memory and ghosts. In my discussion of the novel, I will address its representation of in-betweenness by using the concepts of Homi K. Bhabha and Walter Benjamin. Furthermore, as the novel’s protagonist’s identity is redefined through notions and problematizations of movement, mobility, and home, the novel is interpreted as an instance of the formation of a new, diasporic identity seeking to challenge the discourse of fixed origins.

Reconstructing Hybridity

Post-Colonial Studies in Transition

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