Le Passé Simple's and Things Fall Apart's Attitudes toward the Colonial Discourse (a Comapative Study)
Le Passé Simple and ThingsFallApart’s Attitudes towards the Colonial Discourse( A Comparative Approach).<br />Elhassan Rouijel<br />
Outline<br />Introduction.<br />The Colonial Discourse.<br />Le Passé Simple and the Attitude towards the Colonial Discourse.<br />ThingsFallApartand the Attitude towards the Colonial Discourse.<br />Conclusion.<br />
Introduction<br /><ul><li>The question of identityis not original in Le Passé Simple, but itisrecurrent in a number of Post-Colonialworks of fiction.
The recurrence of the theme of identity, and the question: « Who are we? » is not a matter of intertextuality, but itwas a reply to the colonial discourse.</li></li></ul><li>The Colonial Discourse<br /> Jules Harmand: “It is, then, necessary to accept as a principle and point of departure the fact that there is a hierarchy of races and civilizations, and that we belong to the superior race and civilization, still recognizing that, while superiority confers rights, it imposes strict obligations in return. The basic legitimation of native peoples is the conviction of our superiority, not merely our mechanical, economic, and military superiority, but our moral superiority. Our dignity rests on that quality, and it underlies our right to direct the rest of humanity.”(qtd in Said: 1993. 17)<br />
K. Marx: “ They cannot represent themselves; they must be represented.” (Said: 1978)<br /> E. Said: “The Orient was almost a European invention” (ibid)<br /> The colonizer created the ‘suitable’ identity for the colonized.<br />
Le Passé Simple and the Attitude towards the Colonial Discourse.<br />The implications of the title:<br />Le Passé Simple:<br /><ul><li>Historygoes in linearmovement: Past –Present- Future. (Neutral attitude, no nostalgia for the past.)
Ignoring the pre-colonial culture, «Farewell to the past. »</li></li></ul><li>« Mon père s’appelait Roche, mes frères Berrada, Lucien, Tchitcho. Ma religion était la révolte. Jusqu’à cette mère dont je savais les glandes desséchées et les tendresses monstrueuses. » (p. 78.)<br />The protagonist’salienation from his own indigenous culture and identity.<br /> Hybrid identity.<br />Unhomeliness.<br />
<ul><li>« A l’école coranique, si j’avais des réflexes, sensations, sentiments, idées, ils n’étaient les uns et les autres que premiers. Victor Hugo, Kant et les faux-monnayeurs les ont dérivés. Si bien dérivés qu’ils m’ont aidés, moi qui m’étais révolté et candidement considérais ma révolte comme une délivrance- à me délivrer de cette révolte. » (P. 202)</li></ul> The influence of the Europeanthinking on his attitude towards the pre-colonial institution; (divertinghis reflexes).<br />
<ul><li>« … nous avons besoin d’une jeunesse capable d’être entre notre léthargie orientale et l’insomnie occidentale, capable aussi d’assimiler la science actuelle et de l’enseigner à nos futures générations. » (p. 23.)</li></ul> The conservative fatheraccepts to learnfrom the colonizer, but heinsists on keeping a part of the pre-colonialidentity.<br />
ThingsFallApartand the Attitude towards the Colonial Discourse.<br />The implications of the title:<br /><ul><li>There is mention of the breaking down of the pre-colonial culture.
Thingsfallapartdoes not soundneutral: The tone of the titlesoundsregretful.</li></li></ul><li>“ As Okonkwo sat in his hut that night, gazing into a log fire, he thought over the matter. A sudden fury rose within him and he felt a strong desire to take up his machete, go to the church and wipe out the entire vile and miscreant gang.” (Chapter 17)<br /> Refusal of the colonizer.<br /> Hostility towards the morality of the colonizer.<br />
“ Okonkwo … knew that he had lost his place among the nine masked spirits who administered justice in the clan. He had lost the chance to lead his warlike clan against the new religion, which, he was told, had gained ground. He had lost the years in which he might have taken the highest titles in the clan. But some of these losses were not irreparable. He was determined that his return should be marked by his people. He would return with a flourish, and regain the seven wasted years.” (Chapter 20)<br /> The Protagonist represents the local pre-colonial institution.<br />
Conclusion<br />Aren’t the languages of the two fiction worksforeshadowings of the attitudes theyadopttowards the colonial discourse?<br />Achebe: “For me there is no other choice. I have been given the language and I intend to use it.” (Morning Yet on Creation Day 62)<br />"We speak English with a Xhosa accent and a Xhosa attitude," Veteran actor John Kani to BBC. (Newsweek: March 2005 )<br />Le Passé Simple waswritten in the colonial language in spite of the existence of a local pre-coloniallanguage; the Lingua Franca of the local culture (Arabic).<br />
References<br />http://www.newsweek.com/id/49079<br />Said, Edward. Culuture and Imperialism. New York:Vintage Books, 1993.<br />Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York : Vintage Books, 1978.<br />