Hybridization of the Self, Colonial Discourse and the Deconstruction of Value Systems : A Postcolonial Literary Theory Perspective of Literature inculpating Colonialism

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för humaniora

Abstract: The aim of this essay is to provide a perspective on literature inculpating colonialism using postcolonial literary theory and method. The subject material incorporates four novels studied during the literature modules for the English course at Högskolan Gävle (HIG). The four novels combine to highlight various issues that affect the Self-identity through hybridization and colonial discourse as well as the detrimental nature of the colonial project for indigenous value systems during the period of colonialism. There is also application of theories and concepts raised in academic literature from within and outside the curriculum of HIG. The use of the postcolonial literary methodology provides a critical perspective of the aforementioned literature while implementing theories associated with that movement such as hybridity and the redefining of borders as well as focusing on the social, cultural, political and religious impact of the coloniser’s activities in the colonies as raised in the novels.  The most significant findings of this essay include the roles of isolation and disconnection within the colonial project and the subsequential effects on the colonised and their descendants. There are findings and observations of the level of strategic application of universalistic colonial discourse and the intrinsic application of the language used in the objectification of the indigenous and the subjugation of their value systems. The role of perception is also highlighted including findings on the social implications for the colonies inhabitants, both dissident and conformist, raised within the chosen literature and this essay. The essay also examines the application of various strands of literary theory incorporated within postcolonialism including poststructuralism and psychoanalytic criticism as well as anthropology material.  The conclusion of this essay culminates with the conflicting interpretations of progress as a universalism that counters the theories of postcolonialists and poststructuralists and their subsequent refusal to succumb to literature’s prevalence. The subjectivity of the postcolonial literary theorist and the self-imposed parameters restrict the interpretation of the colonial and postcolonial literature. The aforementioned progress defined by improved standards of health, education and social justice is lacking in presence in both the postcolonial literature and the accompanying literary theory counterpart. Subsequently, the disconnected voice of isolation and the split/double identity take precedence over higher standards of living and the appreciation of access to improved human rights and social justice within postcolonial society.

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