The Social Distancing of Edwidge Danticat's "New York Day Women"

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  • Title: The Social Distancing of Edwidge Danticat's "New York Day Women"
  • Author(s): Julia Kadlec-Wagner
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literary Humanities
  • Keywords: Edwidge Danticat, Homi Bhabha - Hybridity Theory, Cultural Criticism
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2015
  • ISSN: 2327-7912 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8676 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v13i01/58298
  • Citation: Kadlec-Wagner, Julia. 2015. "The Social Distancing of Edwidge Danticat's "New York Day Women"." The International Journal of Literary Humanities 13 (1): 11-17. doi:10.18848/2327-7912/CGP/v13i01/58298.
  • Extent: 7 pages

Abstract

This paper examines the tenets of Homi Bhabha’s post-colonial theory of Hybridity which asks us to accept the “Third Space of Enunciation” as our ultimate destination, the point of arrival in current cultural studies that “eludes the politics of polarity”. This paper examines how Bhabha’s hybridity theory comes in and out of focus in Edwidge Danticat's short story “New York Day Women”. Do any of Danticat’s characters achieve the “other of themselves”? A contrast character to that of Danticat’s Suzette is “Girl” written by Jamaica Kincaid. Kincaid’s “Girl’ is examined to help this query. Additionally, this paper will examine Danticat’s “Day Women” from a cultural perspective and question the meaning of the plural title “Day Women” in present day American society. Using hybridity as a frame, what are the inter- and intra- racial dimensions created within the story, and what are the possible thematic messages there? Danticat uses the terms “shame and fear” within the story from a psychosocial perspective, and therefore, the terms cannot be ignored. This paper also attempts to draw conclusions about the severe tensions of Pan-African relocation which permeate the story derived from those terms. Whether or not Bhabha’s theory of Hybridity is attained in Danticat’s characters will be the main query here. And like his concept which itself is vast, compelling, at times enigmatic and optimistic; there is evidence of the concept in some characters examined here, but not all of them.