The Social Sciences

Year: 2011
Volume: 6
Issue: 2
Page No. 81 - 86

The Outsider Within: The Expatriate Writer in Malaysia

Authors : Jamaluddin Aziz and M.M. Raihanah

Abstract: Pennsylvania-born Robert Raymer moved to Malaysia >25 years ago (1985) and since then has written several stories by using Malaysia, especially Penang as the major setting. The proximity through matrimony that is claimed by the author in the introduction of the anthology on the surface ideally provides him a closer perspective of the society as the access through marriage entails openness to the details and nuances of the culture and people of the land. However, using narratology as an approach, this study problematises Raymer’s claim and argues that instead of revealing the Malaysian society as an insider, the narrator and narration ironically expose the author’s point of view as an outsider. Indeed, the narratological space constructed in this anthology is self-conscious, illusory and ironic. Instead of creating spatial proximity, the narratological space functions as a conduit for imposing the author’s masculine American gaze on the vision of what he thinks constitutes Malaysia or Malaysians, especially as epitomized by the female characters. It is within the American expatriate position and his mythos that the journey West symbolizes the promised frontier of hopes and dreams. Raymer’s journey East, however is filled with nightmares and xenophobia thus, undermining the validity of his claim of a connected through marriage insider.

How to cite this article:

Jamaluddin Aziz and M.M. Raihanah, 2011. The Outsider Within: The Expatriate Writer in Malaysia. The Social Sciences, 6: 81-86.

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