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Postcolonial Literature - Essay Example

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Postcolonial Literature

Not all of the hierarchies are so clearly drawn, nor are they so firmly entrenched as one might believe.
Postcolonial critics such as Said, Loomba, Bhabha and Fanon address and describe the principal features of postcolonialism's intellectual inheritance. Edward Said Orientalism (1991) unveils an uneasy relationship with Marxism, a specifically poststructuralist and anti-humanist understanding of two opposite worlds: Western and colonial ones. In his works, Said states that while all texts are 'worldly', great texts reflect the greatest pressures and preoccupations of the postcolonial world. In contrast to Said, Fanon depicts resistance and anti-colonial ideas typical for the society of this period of time. In his works, Fanon pays a special attention to French colonialism and collective violence. Fanon claims that the most important thing for citizens is total liberation and freedom, liberal ideas and self-understanding. He writes: "Colonialism wants everything to come from it. But the dominant psychological feature of the colonized is to withdraw before any invitation of the conqueror's" (Fanon 63). In contrast to said, Fanon pays a special attention to grievances and problems of black population, slave and master relationships.
B.
B. Achebe Things Fall Apart focuses on the debilitating consequences of colonialism in the traditional African society with the sacrosanct male protagonists at the center of that society. Since the woman's voice is, as it were, muted and the man's accented, many a feminist reader, nettled by such gross marginalization of the female gender, has relent- lessly flayed Achebe's masculinist bigotry. Indeed, things fall apart because women have not been recognized as a potential dynamic force. Achebe makes no bones about delineating a woman as a slave rather than a partner to her spouse. A woman set in this cultural milieu, such as Nwakibie's wife, accepts a horn of wine from her husband and goes down on her knees before drinking it. One could argue that Achebe is simply portraying African tradition, but the authorial voice seems to condone such sexist mores. Again when Okonkwo beats his second wife, "Neither of the other wives dared to interfere beyond an occasional and tentative, 'it is enough, Okonkwo,' pleaded from a reasonable distance." (Achebe 27). Throughout the novel, the female gender is derided. In the wake of the murder of Ikemefuna, Okonkwo asks himself: "When did you became a shivering old woman . . . Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed." (Achebe 45) The new converts are described as "effeminate men clucking like old hens." (Achebe 108) Yam, the king of crops, stands for manliness, while the less important crops such as coco-yams, beans, and cassava are grown by women. Achebe has treated female subjects in these novels with levity portraying that women's reactions to colonialism and Christianity are hardly documented. Women are as muted as their men are made vocal.
In contrast to Achebe, Roy's the God of Small Things (1997) is based on political themes and portrays Inian family relations and values, colonial power and opposition of the society. In Roy's the God of Small Things, there is a great deal of realistic description of how things worked in ...Show more

Summary

A. Postcolonial literature represents a unique combination of Western fiction features and colonial literature influences. With the emergence of a vast body of postcolonial literature, many issues have surfaced: questions of the role of tradition, the nature of the new literary discourses, and the relationship of the postcolonial era to colonialism and neocolonialism, among others…
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Postcolonial Literature essay example
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