Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Literature No. 4 October, 2016 Pp. 199-211
The New Diaspora and the Transformation of America in Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine(1989)
Abeer Abdulaziz. AL-Sarrani
College of Arts and Humanities
Taibah University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
The current research at stake on the notions of new diaspora, immigration, and the study of feminist postcolonialism no longer hold the essential homogenized stereotype of the third world victimized immigrant women but rather consider these women as agents of change and transformation who are capable of subverting traditional gendered roles both in their native lands and America. Therefore, this essay argues that Bharati Mukherjee’s novel Jasmine (1989) presents a strong immigrant female heroine who resists conscious and unconscious marginalization by mainstream white American society and who also transforms the lives of some of the Americans with whom she interacts while in America rather than a female character who is transformed by America and forced to shuttle between identities. Accordingly, despite the many names that Jasmine’s heroine is known by and that supposedly refer to the different identities she has shuttled between, this essay claims that only one identity of the heroine exists. This identity is presented through a third dimensional level that represents her true, single, and growing identity, through which she has shuttled only on a naming level. The essay first discusses how the heroine presents herself in a third dimensional level in the midst of the different names given to her. Then it investigates the reasons that have led the heroine to accept the different names assigned to her. Finally, it investigates from a feminist perspective, how the heroine is able to partially transform the lives of some of the American men with whom she interacts in America.
Keywords: identity, multi-ethnic literature, postcolonial-feminism, resistance, third world