“I Want To Be Nothing”. Challenging Notions of Culture, Race and Identity
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This article tackles the issue of “hyphenated identities” in Heidi W. Durrow’s novel The girl who fell from the sky (2010), whose main topic is growing up as a girl of mixed race in a dominant black culture. This article examines how Rachel Morse, the main character in the novel, challenges racism and the essentialist notion of identity. Firstly, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy’s approaches to that issue are introduced and discussed. Then in relation to their theories an interpretation of Durrow’s fictional character is delivered. As the third part of the article, elements of Danish culture appearing in Durrow’s are presented and analyzed as well as the novel’s explicit intertextual references to Nella Larsen’s authorship, another mulatto woman writer of half-Danish origin. In accordance with Gilory’s theory, the article’s aim is to show that Rachel’s identity is born in the process of self-reflection where Danishness becomes her ‘crossroads’ and thus to confirm that such phenomena as culture, ethnicity and identity are constantly constructed and altered.
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