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Date of Award

9-2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

lmre Szeman

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of the emergence and development of a new cosmopolitan ethic of belonging in three of Salman Rushdie's novels that speak most effectively to the reality of being a "global soul". In warning of the dangers inherent in binaristic and fundamentalist thinking, emphasizing the necessity of creating alternative hybrid spaces of cultural contact, and re-inscribing notions of "self' and "home," Rushdie articulates a global citizenship that accounts not only for the recognition of a universal human condition, but also for the valuing and preservation of multiple and diverse cultural localities.

Chapter One offers a theoretical framework for examining pertinent, contemporary considerations of issues of identity, alterity, history, authenticity, and belonging. It also addresses the rise of a reclaimed and redeployed form of cosmopolitanism that diverges from a traditional, Stoical vision of world citizenship and challenges the assertion that the global and the local are distinct, unrelated entities. Chapter Two focuses on The Satanic Verses as a novel that, far from exclusively imagining the birth of Islam, addresses significant questions about the nature of the migratory self and the trials and opportunities presented by postmodern uncertainty and the entrance of "newness" into the world. Chapter Three examines The Ground Beneath Her Feet as a testament to the need to establish moorings and create "home" in unexpected places in times of fragmentation and disorientation. Finally, Chapter Four turns to Fury, Rushdie's most recent novel, to explore the loss and redemption of self, and the need for basic human interconnectivity in an age of simulated realities and mass consumer culture.

McMaster University Library

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