Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Trauma and the repressed memory of Jewish Holocaust survivors and African-American slaves are issues that require the notion of 'authenticity' in fictional representation. The Zionist discourse demands that Holocaust fictions be written by true witnesses of the genocide and with respectful seriousness, for the Holocaust is a sacred, incomparable phenomenon in Jewish history. In the same manner, the Black American narrative needs authenticity to articulate the Black's own voice, which has been predominately constructed by White Americans since the early history of America. David Grossman's See Under: Love (1999) nevertheless deals with the problem of 'authenticity' in describing the Holocaust, despite the fact that the writer never experienced the Holocaust directly and even wrote it in a postmodern, humorous, and fantastic manner. Likewise, Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987) introduces a new way to write an authentic African-American narrative, i.e. magical realism. This essay explores the problem of authenticity by applying Howmi K. Bhabha's cultural theory to analyse it in four parts. The first part investigates the causes and the culturally specific backgrounds of the Zionist and the American Africanist's views towards 'authenticity' in literary representation. The second part clarifies the argument by situating 'authenticity' in Bhabha's framework of the pedagogical. The third part furthers the argument by detailing the performative use of the fantastic and magical realism to render the effect of liminality. The last part concludes the notion of 'authenticity' by pointing out the supplementary aspect of Bhabha's theory when applied to the two novels.

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