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The Literatures of the French PacificReconfiguring Hybridity$
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Raylene Ramsay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380376

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380376.001.0001

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date: 19 October 2018

The Hybrid Within

The Hybrid Within

The First Kanak Novel, L’Épave [The Wreck], and the Cannibal Ogre

(p.209) 6 The Hybrid Within
The Literatures of the French Pacific

Raylene Ramsay

Liverpool University Press

The return of the past poses questions in Déwé Gorodé's daring first Kanak novel (2004) in the omnipresent figure of ‘the wreck’ as this stages both colonial destruction and the repressed, the unspoken within Kanak society. Sexual desire, possession, revenge and the abusive incestuous power of the ‘maternal uncles’ or older men over young girls, are played out in the figures of’ Old Tom, the ogre and his complicitous ogress; the sorceror/hypocritical tribal orator and the witch, over generations. Pre-empting the ‘Metropolitan ‘reward systems for oppositional projects’ of which Huggan speaks, the shifting positions in Gorodé's work, valuing the Kanak view of the world yet refusing ready-made or idealised assumptions about Kanak community, create dissonance. This is a ‘case not yet closed’, as in the title of her disturbing 1996 short story of colonial revenge, metamorphosis, and magic power, “Affaire classée”. The cannibal ogre is an avatar of Julia Kristeva's ‘monster at the crossroads’, of the hybrid within.

Keywords:   Wreck(age), Return of the repressed, Sexual possession, Incest, Ogre, Cannibal, Dissonance, Hybrid (Monster) within

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