Postcolonial Literary Criticism (The postcolonial critic aims: (•to read a…
Postcolonial Literary Criticism
–It concerns itself with literature written in English in formerly colonized countries.
–European colonialism did occur.
–The British Empire was at the centre of this colonialism.
–The conquerors not only dominated the physical land but also the hegemony or ideology of the colonized people.
–The effects of these colorizations are many and are still being felt today.
•Said wrote Orientalism (1978) which is the key text in
the establishment of postcolonial theory.
•Orientalism is the creation of non-European stereotypes that suggested so-called Orientals were indolent, thoughtless, sexually immoral, unreliable, and demented.
•Said notes that the European conquerors believed that they were accurately describing the inhabitants of
their newly-acquired lands in “the East.”
Homi K. Bhabha
Bhabha is one of the leading voices in postcolonial studies.
•He raises the concerns of the colonised.
For him, Unhomeliness, a concept refers to as double consciousness
by other postcolonial theorists, is the agonizing sense of homelessness, of being caught between two clashing cultures.
He is against the tendency to essentialise third world countries into a homogenous identity.
•Bhabha suggests that postcolonial writers blend or integrate their own culture along with that of the colonizers. (Hybridity)
The postcolonial critic aims:
•to read a text in its fullest context, not to remain caught within academic dissection.
•to give texts a close reading, noting particularly the language of the text.
•to question the taken-for-granted positions held by the Western mind-set.
•to become more interested in how truth is constructed rather than in exposing errors.
•to vary the approach for each text, letting the text itself establish our critical agenda.
•to be forever on guard against ascribing cultural ideas into postcolonial works, realizing that any attempt to completely understand a subaltern
group will be impossible and can lead to another form of repression.
Postcolonialism: Critical Questions
•Examining colonizers/colonized relationship in literature :Is the work pro/anti colonialist? Why? – Does the text reinforce or resist colonialist ideology?
•Explore the dynamics of colonization through literary works
: How did it come about? – How did it end? – How does the text explain this?
•How does the literary text, explicitly or allegorically, represent various aspects of colonial oppression?
•What does the text reveal about the problematics of post-colonial identity and such issues as hybridity?
•What person(s) or groups does the work identify as "other"? How are such persons/groups described and treated?
•What does the text reveal about the politics of anti-colonialist resistance?
Some of Postcolonial
Reading of Cinderella
•Cinderella as conquered individual, under the tyrannical rule of stepmother.
•The stepmother is an unnatural maternal figure who “conquers” Cinderella’s family house.
•There is a shift in the balance of power. One gets off better than the other.
•Cinderella is pretty much "colonized" by her stepmother and stepsisters.
•Stepmother and stepsisters do nothing but look down on Cinderella.
•Cinderella could likely be a personification for the struggling, colonized.