Abstract


GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 1, Issue 1, May, 2015

Poisons and Perversions: Toxic Modes of Self-Othering in Season of Migration to the North

Author: Mookerjee, Rita

Category: Research

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Abstract:

Though TayebSalih's Season of Migration to the North is delivered through an unnamed narrator, the story revolves around Mustafa Sa'eed who capitalizes upon images of Otherness projected onto him. Sa'eed adopts a pluralized Otherness wherein the identities he assumes do not blend together in hybridity, but instead clash, rendering him forever unknowable. While it is easy to compartmentalize Sa'eed as a postcolonial subject exacting vengeance upon the colonizer, many scholars have felt that this is a myopic reading of the text. Salih uses this character to call attention to the myriad of sociohistorical, economic, racial, gendered, and sexual issues that plague the postcolonial subject. Salih makes instances of self-Othering obvious on Sa'eed's part (his use of alternative names, for example), while some are much more nuanced,

like his presence as the narrator's double. Sa'eed is able to shapeshift in and out of cultures. This awareness in shapeshifting creates fissures in his existence; in this way, Sa'eed moves beyond a conflict of double consciousness and into a state of multiple identity fractures. Existing scholarship has commented on the use of the supernatural within Salih's work, yet it has not closely inspected shapeshifting as a trope. The current body of criticism surrounding the novel is too concerned with Western tropes such as the doppelganger.

Keywords: Sudanese, hypermasculinity, Otherness, hybridity, violence

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