Caribbean hybridity: Language and identity in John Agard's poetry
LE3 .A278 2017
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis will examine various poems by the British-Caribbean poet John Agard in order to consider his manipulation of language as a way to understand the fluidity of identity. The thesis will argue that Agard’s poetry calls for a rethinking of identity; instead of referring to identity as a fixed state, it should be looked at as a process. In this way, the identity of any group of individuals cannot be rooted to a single influence, but rather a myriad of cultural authorities. Theorist Stuart Hall and his essay, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora,” will provide the framework for the exploration of the major influences on Caribbean identity. Like Agard, he positions identity not as “an already accomplished fact, we should think, instead, of identity as a production which is never complete” (Hall 222). Hall’s image of identity as a production suggests that the respective influences on identity are a representation of its fluidity. The three influences outlined in Hall’s essay will be analyzed thematically to prove that the ‘roots’ of an individual’s identity can better be explained in terms of ‘routes’ of movement and change. Within each influence there is a key transformation of the linguistic culture of the individuals which, therefore, acts as a signifier of the evolution of identity. As a result, the language and consequently the identity of Caribbean individuals are best represented in terms of hybridity.
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