Postcolonial criticism

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Postcolonial criticism

Phases of postcolonial criticism
1. The first phase involved white representations of colonial countries and criticized these for their limitations and bias
2. The second phase involved a turn towards explorations of themselves and their society. At this stage the celebration and exploration of diversity, hybridity, and difference become central

- Rejectclaims to universalism made on behalf of Western literature and seek to show its limitations of outlook, especially its general inability to empathise across boundaries of cultural and ethnic difference
- They show how such literature is often evasively and crucially silent on matters concerned with colonization and imperialism
- They foreground questions of culture difference and diversity andexamine their treatment of relevant literary works
- They celebrate hybridity and “cultural polyvalency” this is the situation whereby individuals and groups belong simultaneously to more than one culture (i.e. that of the colonizer, through a colonial school system, and that of the colonized, through local and oral traditions)

1.Adopt: Writers from colonized countries use non-native forms ofwriting and attempted to gain recognition in foreign terms
2.Adapt: Attempt to adapt European forms to local ones.
3.Adept: In the final phase, there is a declaration of cultural independence whereby African writers remake the form to their own specification without reference to European norms.

A Passage to India and Orientalism

→ Remember that Europe, according to this vision, is so “cool”,whereas the Orient is “weak, passive, corrupt, licentious”

—Examples of Orientalism:
—--> Forster’s opening paragraphs: Colonial station a privileged space in comparison to Chandrapore near the river
—--> Narrator’s subjectivity (impartial third person)
—--> Connection between Aziz and Mrs. Moore
→ Explicitly seen in narrator’s description of India and of Aziz

Relationships in the story:* Fielding and Aziz: both want something from the other.
* Aziz wants India to modernize,Fielding doesn’t want to be a typical Anglo-Indian.
* Mrs. Moore and Aziz: mutually beneficial: modernization and spirituality

*Wasps → Mrs Moore loves wasps, so she thinks it is kind of unfair that they cannot enter in Heaven. So, her way of thinking is revealed: she wants to embrace bothcultures. Inclusion instead of exclusion.

→ Mrs Moore and Hinduism → remember her “illumination” in the Marabar Caves, and then the stages she goes through until she dies (kind of an Indian Goddess)
Hence...  it suggests that either Hinduism or Mrs. Moore herself are a source for harmony.
Mrs. Moore:
—-->Cult for the deceased Mrs. Moore
—--> Symbol like Queen Victoria of a worthy Englishperson whose presence bridges divisions in India

*Important: Does Forster oppose colonization?
He seems to oppose a particular kind of colonization: that of “rash emminence”
However, there is a sense of order that the narrator states only exists with British presence

* —Mrs. Moore a symbol of peaceful Anglo-Indian –Indian relations
* —Peaceful relations and equalitybetween Indians and Anglo-Indians not yet a reality but a future possibility

→ According to Said, Forster is Orientalist because: “Forster sees Indians with imperial eyes when he says that it is ‘natural’ for sects to dislike one another or when they dismiss the power of nationalist committees to last beyond the English presence”
→ But also, Forster exhibits contradictions in his world view →Liberal Humanism and British Imperialism.

How can we relate this to the novel?
* —Anglo-Indians have very little “Indian” in them at all; no inter-racial marriage and contact is limited and seemingly taboo.
* —Ambiguous ending reflects  tension between these competing value-systems at work in Forster’s period: liberal humanism (all men can be equal) and Social Darwinism (some people are...