The intercultural Bildungsroman as a platform for a hybrid feminist epistemology in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy (1990): The (im)possibility of a unified feminist movement

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Giorgia Scribellito

Abstract

This article analyzes Lucy (1990) by Jamaica Kincaid in terms of the intercultural Bildungsroman basing on Mikhail Bakhtin’s characterization of the coming-of-age genre. Focusing on the relationship between the characters, it highlights the tension between contrasting feminist views. Seeking to emphasize how an intercultural vision contributes innovative perspectives on society, this paper argues that the eponymous protagonist of the novel has to find a way to reconcile the American culture with her Antiguan culture in her own feminist and postcolonial terms -an intercultural perspective. On the one hand, the relationship between Lucy and Mariah—her employer—reflects a tension between second-wave and third-wave feminism, which, the heroine eventually reconciles opening up the path for a unified vision of the feminist movement. Lucy’s postcolonial vision, in particular, is similar to that articulated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. On the other hand, the strain between Lucy and her mother is related to the heroine’s endorsement of second-wave feminist views as articulated by Betty Friedan and other feminist theorists of the 1960s and 1970s. In general, this novel develops an important vision for the global feminist movement.

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Scribellito, G. (2019). The intercultural Bildungsroman as a platform for a hybrid feminist epistemology in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy (1990): The (im)possibility of a unified feminist movement. Journal of Gender and Power, 12(2), 9-24. https://doi.org/10.14746/jgp.2019.12.001
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