Thank you to my friend Dr Rajnish Dhawan for presenting a paper on my first novel The End of the Dark and Stormy Night at the South Asian Literary Association (SALA) Conference in January 2013 at Boston, MA.
SALA 2013 Race and the South Asian Diaspora
The 13th Annual Conference of The South Asian Literary Association
January 2-3, 2013
CONFERENCE PAPER ABSTRACTS: RAJNISH DHAWAN, UNIVERSITY OF THE FRASER VALLEY, ABBOTSFORD, CANADA
Spatializing Cultural Hybridity in Canada: A Study of Race Relations in Rajni Mala Khelawan’s The End of the Dark and Stormy Night
“If postmodern hybridity emphasises not fusion, but multiple and mobile positionings created by the performative transgressions of national grand naratives – what Homi Bhabha has refered to as ‘shreds and patches’ of many and diverse national voices,” then is there a possibility in the contemporary hybrid literature to provide a unifying centralized fabric where these ‘shreds and patches’ can be turned into a homogenous collage where every patch keeps its identity while being a part of the unified whole? Canadian multiculturalism thrives upon the concrete identification of these ‘shreds and patches,’ viewing them as an essential part of a heterogeneous fabric, often searching in them for the lure of the exotic – be it the first nations, the Indo-Canadians, the African-Canadians or the Chinese-Canadians. The essentialization of the hyphen has been the hallmark of Canadian multiculturalism and the hyphen has been strengthened by denying or shying away from the discomfort associated with the inter-racial discourse. Rajni Mala Khelawan’s debut novel The End of the Dark and Stormy Night tries to redefine the hyphen by embracing the discomfort, and by using humor as her primary medium of inter-racial discourse she tries to move towards the comfort zone where inter-racial relations could afford to laugh with each other rather than laughing at each other. This paper will focus on the study of the use of humor in the depiction of inter-racial relationships in the novel and the novel’s attempts at diluting the hyphen despite strong voices within the text advocating its retention.