Pacific Utopias and National Identities in the Twenty-first Century

Sina Va'ai


Abstract

Literary representations of the Pacific invariably present images of peaceful utopias/paradises especially in tourist brochures aimed at garnering the tourist dollar. These utopias are far removed from the tensions of a world haunted by the threat of terrorist activities and destruction which undermine global peace and security, especially since September 11th 2001. However, an examination of recent creative writing from writers of Oceania illustrate that these universal pressures and fears are evident in the local setting as well. Their fiction is full of the same angst, frustrations and dilemmas regarding cultural identities and cultural nationalism as those from their metropolitan neighbours in New Zealand and Australia. This essay will examine and analyse selected fiction from two such writers with a view to highlighting the conflicts emerging, especially in regards to the issues of political and cultural identities, indigeneity and the Pacific Paradise which is so much a part of the discourse of tourism, a major money earner for Pacific economies.

Keywords

Pacific Utopias, Paradise, National, Cultural, Identities; Oceania; writers; cultural identity and nationalism; Teresia Teaiwa; Albert Wendt

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