A Home in This World: the Representation of Location and Identity in the Prose Fiction Texts of Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde and Janet Frame
There is no home in this world for colonising peoples, but the desire for a place or a state to call home permeates their literature. The act of colonising is an act of dispossession, not only for the autochthonous peoples, but for the colonising peoples too. The colonising peoples can never regain their relationship of autochthonicity to their imperial nation, but neither can they ever gain a truly autochthonous relationship to the colonised land, because the founding act of dispossession stands in their way. The loss of autochthonous identity and location is one which can never be fulfilled. There is no longer a home to go to. The anxiety about identity and location which this loss produces is a basic condition of coloniality which cannot be escaped. This anxiety about identity and location can be tracked through the prose fiction writings of Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde and Janet Frame. Although the founding loss of autochthonicity cannot be undone or supplemented, it can be displaced, denied, disavowed or seized and interrogated. Although this condition of coloniality is produced by a founding moment in history, the way in which that condition is manifested in the texts is not fixed and transhistorical. Coloniality is displayed differently in each of the three groups of texts examined here. The dynamics of disavowal characterise the texts of both Mansfield and Hyde, but the products of this disavowal differ. Whilst the texts of Mansfield produce the colonising subject as a discriminated subject, the texts of Hyde produce the colonised subject as a discriminated subject. Frame's text interrogates its coloniality rather than disavowing it and attempts to articulate the foundering moments of individual and national identity rather than their founding moments. Under the hegemony of multinational consumer capital, the permanent nostalgia, which is the condition of coloniality, has become, also, the condition of the world.