Hybridization of Home: Development of Diasporic Domesticity in the Contemporary Literature of Britain’s Bangladeshi Diaspora
I want to break tradition—unlock this room where women dress in the dark Discover the lies my mother told me. The lies that we are small an powerless that our possibilities must be compressed to the size of pearls, displayed only as passive chokers, charms around our neck. Break tradition. –Janice Mirikitani1 Corsets. Drawing rooms. Parties. Family. Letter writing. Marriage. These motifs are the features of traditional domestic fiction. At its height in the Victorian era, domestic fiction allowed women writers and female protagonists to find their literary voice for the first time. The genre affirmed the self-realization of women in the space of their home. And although novels like Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, and Mrs. Dalloway are still beloved today, novels that celebrate an idealized domestic space are scarcely written in modernity. With suffrage, access to education, the feminist movement, and overall female empowerment, women writers seem increasingly to “find their voice” outside of the domestic tradition. When domestic novels are written today the traditional notions of female identity, family, and home are deconstructed and defined anew.