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Hybridization, Third Space and Language in Salman Rushdie’s short story “The Courter” (pp. 41-58)

Carmen Hidalgo Varo

University of Granada


Salman Rushdie’s works have been widely examined under the lenses of magic realism and hybridity. East,West, one of his main short story collection, has been studied mainly as a whole and in relation to the two previously mentioned concepts. The short story analysed in this article belongs to one of the three sections in which the collection is divided, called “East, West”. In this part, Rushdie makes evident the juxtaposition of these two parts of the world in order to present to readers with the problematisation of self-alienation due to hybridity and what Homi Bhabha calls “third space”. In the present paper, the focus if given to just on one of the stories, “The Courter”, to analyse how hybridity and the concept of third space are portrayed, by means of language, in the depiction of the two main characters. These two main characters, the narrator, a teenager from India studying in a London boarding school, and his family’s ayah, who has always been taking care of the children, serve Rushdie as the exemplification of that problematisation he creates around diasporic characters. In order to do so, the analysis relies on three critical frames: hybridity, third space and imagined communities. The first two were mainly theorised by Homi Bhabha in relation to political discourse. However, they will be applied within the scope of literary discourse. The third one was developed by Benedict Anderson for the explanation of the origins of nationalism. One aspect which is relevant for the analysis is the absence of magic realism in the story, since Rushdie is known for its use in his works. As a conclusion, this lack of magic realism enhances the problematisation of self-alienation, to which Rushdie offers two different solutions: one related to the concept of third space and the other to the concept of imagined communities.

Keywords: Salman Rushdie, hybridity, third space, The Courter, (magic) realism, imagined communities.


Carmen Hidalgo Varo is currently enrolled in a master degree on English Literature at the University of Granada. She graduated from English Studies last year at the same university, with distinction in her final dissertation. Her research interests are Feminism, Disability Studies, Postmodernism and Humour. She is currently carrying out research across a range of fields such as Postcolonialism, Disability Studies, Irish Literature and Cultural Studies.

e-mail addresschidalgova@correo.ugr.es


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