Travels in Identity: Aspects of Place and Belonging in Novels by Elsa Joubert and Riana Scheepers/ Reise in Identiteit: Aspekte Van Plek En Hoort in Verhale Van Elsa Joubert En Riana Scheepers

By Meyer, S. | Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies, August 2006 | Go to article overview
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Travels in Identity: Aspects of Place and Belonging in Novels by Elsa Joubert and Riana Scheepers/ Reise in Identiteit: Aspekte Van Plek En Hoort in Verhale Van Elsa Joubert En Riana Scheepers


Meyer, S., Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies


Abstract

An investigation into the experience of place and its changing nature in the story "Bloed" [Blood] (from Melk, [Milk] 1980) by Joubert and some stories from Scheepers' collection Die ding in die vuur [The thing in the fire] (1990) serves to establish the role of the experience of place with regard to the development of identity in these stories. In "Bloed" [Blood] the dynamic way in which the experience of place influences identity is clear. on a single day trip the main character's experience of alienation in Africa is transformed into an identification with Africa; a process that is directly related to the radically changing experience of place in the story. All the core markers of identity construction--gender, class, race and sexuality--are involved in this process of re-orientation; and the simultaneous, intertextual appropriation and subversion of a classic Western poem occur in the portrayal of the powerful adaptive reaction in terms of the experience of place and identity within the post-colonial situation. Scheepers' stories: "Tweede kind" [Second child], "Drie sinvolle gesprekke" [Three meaningful conversations] and "Dom koei" [Daft cow] represent phases in the changing experience of identity that correlate with the joumey of identity in "Bloed" [Blood], but the identity changes more subtly and gradually--intratextually played out over three stories--as well as less completely. The changing nature of the experience of place, as portrayed by means of the topographic structure of the stories and the effect of the filter-focafisation, again supports the process of a change in perspective on, and identification with Africa.

Opsomming

Reise in idenlileil: aspekte van plek en hoort in verhale van Elsa Joubert en Riana Scheepers

'n Ondersoek na die belewing van plek en die veranderende aard daarvan in die verhaal "Bloed" (uit Melk, 1980) van Joubert en enkele verhale uit Scheepers se bundel Die ding in die vuur (1990) dien om vas te stel wat die rol van plekbelewing is ten opsigte van identiteitsvorming in hierdie verhale Uit "Bloed" blyk die dinamiese wyse waarop plekbelewing identiteit beinvloed: op 'n enkele dagreis verander die hooffiguur se ervaring van vreemdelingskap in Afrika na 'n identiteitsvereenselwiging met Afrika; 'n proses wat direk verband hou met 'n drasfies veranderde belewing van plek in die verhaal. AI die kernaspekte van identiteitskonstruksie--geslag, klas, ras en seksuafiteit--is betrokke by hierdie herorienteringsproses en die gelyktydige intertekstuele toeeiening en ondermyning van 'n klassieke Westerse gedig vind plaas in die uitbeelding van die kragtige aanpassingsreaksie in terme van plek- en identiteitsbelewing by die postkoloniale situasie. Scheepers se verhale "Tweede kind", "Drie sinvolle gesprekke" en "Dom koei" verteenwoordig fases in die veranderende identiteitsbelewing wat ooreenstem met die identiteitsreis in "Bloed", maar die identiteitsaanpassing vind meer subtiel en geleidelik--intratekstueel uitgespeel oor drie verhale--asook minder volledig plaas. Die veranderde aard van plekbelewing, soos uitgebeeld by wyse van die topologiese struktuur van die verhale en die effek van die filter-fokalisering, steun weereens die proses van perspektiefverandering op en identifikasie met Afrika.

1. Inleidend

'n Fassinerende waarheid wat spruit uit die skakels tussen ruimte en identiteit is dat soos wat ons belewing van 'n bepaalde ruimte aan verandering onderwerp word, ons identiteit deurgaans daardeur geraak word. Die ruimtes wat ons bewoon het 'n vormende invloed op ons identiteit, (1) en hierdie identiteit bepaal ons waarnemings en weergawe van daardie ruimtes asook ons wisselende ruimte-like ervarings (Viljoen et al., 2004:12).

Volgens Ashcroft (2001:125) draai die konstruksie van die gegewe van plek (2) altyd om die vraag: Waar hoort ek? Ook Hunter (1990:3) betrek die identiteitskwessie van hoort in haar omskrywing van wat sy noem "a sense of place": "The word place refers predominantly to the writers' shaping of a home-in-the-world--an individual, social, and cultural identity--for her protagonist(s).

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Travels in Identity: Aspects of Place and Belonging in Novels by Elsa Joubert and Riana Scheepers/ Reise in Identiteit: Aspekte Van Plek En Hoort in Verhale Van Elsa Joubert En Riana Scheepers
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