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  • 1. FINAL PROJECT ENGL 2310 WORLD LITERATURE Michelle Davis
  • 2. Overview  Summary of postcolonial theory  Reflection – How specific literature is representative of postcolonial theory  The Epic of Gilgamesh  The Tempest  Heart of Darkness  Things Fall Apart  Ballad for the New World  The Tractor  Analysis – Literature as a mediator  Recommendation – Least useful
  • 3. Post-Colonial Theory – Brief Summary  Founder (Postcolonial Discourse) – Edward Said  Orientalism (1978)  Definition  Controversial  Post-Colonial  Postcolonial*  Defined – “discussions about experience of various kinds: migration, slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, race, gender, place, and responses to the influential master discourse of imperial Europe such as history, philosophy, and linguistics, and the fundamental experiences of speak and writing by which all these come into being” (Aschroft, Griffiths, &Tiffin, 2002).
  • 4. Summary Cont.  Difference from common-wealth literature  Common-wealth  Humanistic – canonical type works (English Literature)  “Great Tradition” – find value in the study of these works  Postcolonial  Focus – Historic, Literary, Aesthetic, and Political Conditions  Objective Critiques  Colonial imposition on indigenousness people  Two approaches  Decolonized response  Does the literature support or challenge colonialism
  • 5. Summary Cont.  Traditional Postcolonial Themes  European Colonialism and Aftermath  Language  Identity – Reputation  Discrimination – Racism/Class/Gender  Gender – Feminism/Sexism  Imperialism  Resistance  History  Philosophy  Culture
  • 6. Summary Cont.  New Forms of Colonialism  The Nation – Population Scattering (diaspora)  Westernization – Cultural Imperialism  Globalization  Neocolonialism
  • 7. Summary Cont.  Postcolonial Theory and Literature as a Mediator  Advocating v. Reflecting (or Rebelling)  Participation v. Regurgitation  Critical analysis  What literature should do  “Postcolonial theory does not provide a set of tools for analysis…it challenges us as readers to see the world differently, to look at history, literature, language, and culture in new ways” (Baldwin & Quinn, p.18).
  • 8. Reflection The Epic of Gilgamesh  Not a true critique of imperialism despite some representation of post colonial theory  What are some of these representations?  Imperialism  Giglamesh as a rule is harsh to the men, making them fight for sport  Fights God’s and other men to show strength  "I will go in front of you, and your mouth can cry out: 'Go on closer, do not be afraid!' Should I fall, I will have established my fame. (They will say:) 'It was Gilgamesh who locked in battle with Humbaba the Terrible'" (Mason, 2.228-237)!  Sexism  Exploits women as objects of sex  “Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother(?)" (Mason, 1.59-74)!
  • 9. Reflection The Tempest  Initial literary critics viewed Prospero in hero fashion (Bhoraskar, 2012).  How does this view differ utilizing postcolonial theory?  Imperialism, Language, Class  Prospero’s colonialist attitude and actions towards Caliban  “Abhorred slave, Which any print of goodness wilt not take, Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee, Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage, Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes With words that made them known. But thy vile race, Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou Deservedly confined into this rock, Who hadst deserved more than a prison” (Shakespeare, 1.2.422-36).  More language…  Caliban’s retort to Prospero about what he has learned  You taught me language; and my profit on't Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you For learning me your language” (Shakespeare, 1.2.437-39)!
  • 10. Reflection The Tempest  More imperialism…  Caliban is willing to go from one form of servitude to another  “I'll show thee every fertile inch o' th' island; And I will kiss thy foot: I prithee, be my god” (Shakespeare, 2.2.154-55).  Gender  Patriarchal and Sexist towards Miranda  He treats her as if she is HIS to protect representing ownership and inability for her to protect herself
  • 11. Reflection Heart of Darkness  Postcolonial critique of a colonizers writing  What post colonial themes are present?  Imperialism  Ownership of the lands from Kurtz’s frame of mind  "You should have heard him say, 'My ivory.' Oh, yes, I heard him. 'My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my—' everything belonged to him" (Ballard & Quinn, p.141).  Marlow acts as though his exploitation is sanctioned by a higher power  "It was like a weary pilgrimage amongst hints for nightmares" (Ballard & Quinn, p.113).  The Nation (diaspora) – the lands were divided up by the colonizers  "[…] on one end a large shining map, marked with all the colours of a rainbow. There was a vast amount of red - good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there, a deuce of a lot of blue, a little green, smears of orange, and, on the East Coast, a purple patch, to show where the jolly pioneers of progress drink the jolly lager-beer. However, I wasn't going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre. And the river was there—fascinating—deadly—like a snake" (Ballard & Quinn, p.110).
  • 12. Reflection Heart of Darkness Cont.  Racism  Marlow refers to the indigenous people as savages and slaves needing to be chained up.  “but these men could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies. They were called criminals and the outraged law, like the bursting shells, had come to them, an insoluble mystery from over the sea. All their meager breasts panted together, the violently dilated nostrils quivered, the eyes stared stonily up-hill. They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages" (Ballard & Quinn, p.1114-115).  Identity  Marlow identifying the African land as a blank – as is to say no one is there.  “I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, 'When I grow up I will go there.' […] But there was one yet—the biggest, the most blank, so to speak—that I had a hankering after"(Ballard & Quinn, p.108).  Sexism  Marlow depicts women as naïve and idealistic  "It's queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there has never been anything like it, and never can be. It's too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up it would go to pieces before the first sunset. Some confounded fact we men have been living contentedly with ever since the day of creation would start up and knock the whole thing over" (Ballard & Quinn, p.112).  Language  Marlow insults the brick maker by dictation, not even what is written is his own.  "Now letters went to the coast every week. . . . 'My dear sir,' he cried, 'I write from dictation.' I demanded rivets. There was a way – for an intelligent man" (Ballard & Quinn, p.125).
  • 13. Reflection Things Fall Apart  Postcolonial critique of a colonized writers perspective - a response to Heart of Darkness?  What post colonial themes are present?  Imperialism  As a retort to the uncivilized, Okonkwo is seen as a distinguished person from the start  “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino” (Achebe, p.3).  Identity  Okonkwo is respected through his possession of material goods  “Okoye …was not a failure like Unoka. He had a large barn full of yams and he had three wives. And now he was going to take the Idemili title, the third highest in the land” (Achebe, p.6).  Okonkwo is respected for his hard work  “Many young men have come to me to ask for yams but I have refused because I knew they would just dump them in the earth and leave them to be choked by weeds…But I can trust you. I know it as I look at you…I shall give you twice four hundred yams. Go ahead and prepare your farm” (Achebe, p.22).
  • 14. Reflection Things Fall Apart  Gender  In the Igbo tribe women are considered weaker  “Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate had told him that his father was agbala. That was how Okonkwo first came to know that agbala was not only another name for a woman, it could also mean a man who had taken to title” (Achebe, p.13)”  Despite the death of his son, Okonkwo shows no emotion for fear of being seen as a woman  “When did you become a shivering old woman,” Okonkwo asked himself, “you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed” (Achebe, p.64).  Distinction between male and female crimes suggesting women were less violent  “The only course open to Okonkwo was to flee from the clan. It was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land. The crime was of two kinds, male and female. Okonkwo had committed the female, because it had been inadvertent. He could return to the clan after seven years” (Achebe, p.124).
  • 15. Reflection Things Fall Apart  Culture  The Igbo people had customs and traditions as depicted here…  “At such times, in each of the countless thatched huts of Umuofia, children sat around their mother’s cooking fire telling stories, or with their father in his obi warming themselves from a log fire, roasting and eating maize. It was a brief resting period between the exacting and arduous planting season and the equally exacting but light-hearted month of harvests” (Achebe, p.34).  A messaging system to share news suggests a customer of the culture  “Okonkwo had just blown out the palm-oil lamp and stretched himself on his bamboo bed when he heard the ogene of the town crier piercing the still night air. Gome, gome gome, gome, boomed the hollow metal. Then the crier gave his message, and at the end of it beat his instrument again” (Achebe, p.9).  Language  Okoye utilizes a beautiful stylistic proverb to relay a message  “Having spoken plainly so far, Okoye said the next half a dozen sentences in proverbs. Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm- oil with which words are eaten. Okoye was a great talker and he spoke for a long time, skirting round the subject and then hitting it finally” (Achebe, p.7).  The notion of speaking is hierarchal, gods before man  “The priestess screamed. “Beware, Okonkwo!” she warned. Beware of exchanging words with Agbala. Does a man speak when a god speaks? Beware” (Achebe, p.101)!
  • 16. Reflection Ballad for the New World  Postcolonial critique by a onlooker of colonialist threat to Trinidad.  What post colonial themes are present?  Identity  Dressing as the American’s, searching to fit in.  “The snapshot shows hi in white T-shirt, beige slacks. Were they T-shirts then? And slacks? We called them pants. They called them pants too. (The Americans.) He was slim with short hair like young guys now: fresh-faced, frightened, looking brave and startled; looking for a new world” (Baldwin & Quinn, p.493).  The physical appearance fades as if to suggest a loss of identity  “We weren’t American or English. We were French creoles. But-that was fading away. That was fading away fast in the yellow and wrinkled faces of the aunts and uncles embayed in the wickerwork chair on the wide verandahs who talked of the “good ole days” (Baldwin & Quinn, p.493).  Imperialism  The dismay of authoritarian rule  “We were in the shadow of America a long time, a long time. Luke under a big umbrella. “….rum and Coca-Cola…working for the Yankee dollar” (Baldwin &Quinn, p.494).
  • 17. Reflection The Tractor  Newer postcolonial themes present in The Tractor  What post colonial themes are present?  Imperialism  Human’s colonizing mother nature v. people groups  Humanistic view of mother nature, knowing what’s best  Sexism  Femininity of Ann who cares for earth  Masculinity of Ken who cares for business gain  Globalization  Technological advancement = inevitable destruction of earth
  • 18. Analysis Literature as a Mediator – Heart of Darkness  Difficult choice between Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart  Mediation means… “literature does not simply reflect these issues but participates directly in them by advocating point of view, opposing other points of view, or critiquing the situation” (Baldwin & Quinn, p.13).  Heart of Darkness advocates the colonizers point of view namely through opposition and a critique of a pre-colonized nation.
  • 19. Analysis Literature as a Mediator – Heart of Darkness  Advocate  Ownership, exploitation, and boundary setting  Oppose  Racism, Identity, and Sexism  Critical analysis of the situation  Pre-colonized worse off as evidenced by the colonizers initial reaction to the land  "A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting right and left, immense double doors standing ponderously ajar. I slipped through one of these cracks, went up a swept and ungarnished staircase, as arid as a desert, and opened the first door I came to" (Ballard & Quinn, p.109).
  • 20. Analysis Heart of Darkness  Advocate  Imperialism  Ownership of the lands from Kurtz’s frame of mind  "You should have heard him say, 'My ivory.' Oh, yes, I heard him. 'My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my—' everything belonged to him" (Ballard & Quinn, p.141).  Marlow acts as though his exploitation is sanctioned by a higher power  "It was like a weary pilgrimage amongst hints for nightmares" (Ballard & Quinn, p.113).  The Nation (diaspora) – the lands were divided up by the colonizers  "[…] on one end a large shining map, marked with all the colours of a rainbow. There was a vast amount of red - good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there, a deuce of a lot of blue, a little green, smears of orange, and, on the East Coast, a purple patch, to show where the jolly pioneers of progress drink the jolly lager-beer. However, I wasn't going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre. And the river was there—fascinating—deadly—like a snake" (Ballard & Quinn, p.110).
  • 21. Analysis Literature as a Mediator – Heart of Darkness  Advocate  Ownership, exploitation, and boundary setting  Oppose  Racism, Identity, and Sexism  Critical analysis of the situation  Pre-colonized worse off as evidenced by the colonizers initial reaction to the land  "A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting right and left, immense double doors standing ponderously ajar. I slipped through one of these cracks, went up a swept and ungarnished staircase, as arid as a desert, and opened the first door I came to" (Ballard & Quinn, p.109).
  • 22. Analysis Heart of Darkness Cont.  Oppose  Racism  Marlow refers to the indigenous people as savages and slaves needing to be chained up.  “but these men could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies. They were called criminals and the outraged law, like the bursting shells, had come to them, an insoluble mystery from over the sea. All their meager breasts panted together, the violently dilated nostrils quivered, the eyes stared stonily up-hill. They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages" (Ballard & Quinn, p.1114-115).  Identity  Marlow identifying the African land as a blank – as is to say no one is there.  “I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, 'When I grow up I will go there.' […] But there was one yet—the biggest, the most blank, so to speak—that I had a hankering after"(Ballard & Quinn, p.108).  Sexism  Marlow depicts women as naïve and idealistic  "It's queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there has never been anything like it, and never can be. It's too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up it would go to pieces before the first sunset. Some confounded fact we men have been living contentedly with ever since the day of creation would start up and knock the whole thing over" (Ballard & Quinn, p.112).
  • 23. Analysis Literature as a Mediator – Heart of Darkness  Advocate  Ownership, exploitation, and boundary setting  Oppose  Racism, Identity, and Sexism  Critical analysis of the situation  Pre-colonized worse off as evidenced by the colonizers initial reaction to the land  "A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting right and left, immense double doors standing ponderously ajar. I slipped through one of these cracks, went up a swept and ungarnished staircase, as arid as a desert, and opened the first door I came to" (Ballard & Quinn, p.109).
  • 24. Recommendation Least useful – The Epic of Gilgamesh  All works useful, especially because of time gaps  Length of course makes it difficult to cover enough  The age of the work suggests it was written completely independent of the ideal of colonialism, with the exception of imperialistic actions.  Despite postcolonial themes the relation is mediocre  Sexism – this is a prevailing though throughout history not unique to colonialism  Imperialism – the argument can be made for exploitation and harshness but it is only vaguely tied to a colonizing ideology.  Lack of: conquering, enslavement, dispersion of people  Little if any use of the following themes:  Language  Identity  Discrimination – save sexism discussion above  Culture
  • 25. Conclusion  Postcolonial Theory provides the reader with a way in which to view literature.  The application spans the entire aperture of time  Historic events often shape the realities of postcolonial applications  Possible future postcolonial themes for critique  Entrenched thought of imperialism  Apathy
  • 26. Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print. Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2002. Baldwin, Dean R., and Patrick J. Quinn. An Anthology of Colonial and Postcolonial Short Fiction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Bhoraskar, Ravi. "A Postcolonial View of The Tempest and Its Afterlives." (2012). Retrieved from:http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~bhora/doku/lib/exe/fetch.p hp?media=tempest-report.pdf Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970. Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tempest. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1994.