Abstract

In Pacific literature, theorizing madness in fictional narratives encourages a reexamination of the notion of "deviancy" that supports the western colonial differentiation between the powerful and the disempowered. Fictional accounts of madness often reveal how such bipolar ideology is inadequate to address individual identity in Pacific Island societies, which include variegated expressions of ethnic or racial diversity, sexuality, and gender. Not surprisingly, many Pacific writers use "disturbed" characters to disrupt social conventions and challenge thetendency of the mainstream toward two-dimensional, black and white portrayals. In an attempt to understand the prevalent use of madness to deconstruct colonial polarity in Pacific literature, this paper traces the depiction of insanity in the works of James Norman Hall, Albert Wendt, Subramani, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, and Sia Figiel, authors who move beyond simplistic notions of identity and rethink the Pacific on their own terms.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 59-85
Launched on MUSE
2004-01-23
Open Access
No
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