Martha's Unhomely Quest for the Homely : A Postcolonial Reading of the Protagonist Martha in Doris Lessing's Martha Quest
Sammanfattning: The protagonist Martha in Doris Lessing’s Martha Quest is born to white British settler parents and grows up in a British colony in southern Africa in the 1930s. Although officially the coloniser rather than the colonised, Martha tries to reject this role mentally, verbally, and physically. This essay aims to show that a postcolonial reading of Martha in relation to the colonial context helps in understanding her double consciousness and, more specifically, her inability to find a real or lasting sense of home. Using Homi Bhabha’s concept of unhomeliness, the essay argues that Martha does not truly feel at home anywhere, because the “unhomely” always disturbs the “homely.” Through close reading of the text, it shows how Martha tries to find a sense of home in four areas of her life: her physical home, nature, her body, and her mind. This essay finds that despite Martha’s efforts in moving from her family home to rented accommodation, from the bush to the city, from girlhood to womanhood, and from her individual thoughts to the solidarity of others, she still does not feel at home anywhere. Whenever she starts to feel comfortable in a place or situation, unhomely moments, such as reminders of her nationality, race, or class, always disturb the homely feelings of belonging. Ultimately, Martha cannot escape her unhomeliness.
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