ENGL 157 - take home exam 1

ENGL 157 - take home exam 1 - Carlson 1 Mallory Carlson...

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Carlson 1 Mallory Carlson Professor Hawley ENGL 157 – exam 1 22 October 2007 Postcolonial Resistance A common way to define postcolonial theory is in terms of its conceptual otherness. Edward Said’s ground-breaking work, Orientalism , set forth the means by which the Western world could understand this concept of otherness, one that proposes its theory from the perspective of the colonizer. Said paints a picture of the Orient as exotic, irrational, feminine and evil; basically, we can understand the East in terms of how it differs from the West, whose self-perception is grounded in everything that the Orient supposedly lacks, such as order, intelligence, masculinity and goodness. Naturally, this divisive and narrow scope of postcolonial discourse/perspective has been met with criticism. Of particular interest is the criticism that Said tends to ignore resistance by the colonized, as he focuses primarily on the active West moving in one direction towards the passive East, a focus that subverts the effects of colonization as experienced by the colonized (McLeod 48). It is therefore of particular importance to take into account the human forces that actively resist the immediate and long-term effects of colonization; through resistance, we can understand how colonized peoples gain an understanding of their own agency, whether political, cultural, or artistic. Since postcolonial theory is also built around the concept of resistance – of resistance as mimicry, intellectual radicalism, or cultural defiance – it is necessary to understand how resistance functions in the formation and recognition of personal agency. The dilemma of postcolonial discourse is therefore its inability to recapture the truth of any one native culture, as all forms of native expression
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Carlson 2 have been limited to the expressions of resistance that keep the colonized bound within the scope of postcolonial discourse. Touching once again upon Said’s construction of otherness, McLeod asserts that “every definition of identity is always defined in relation to something else” (74). This assertion acts as a precursor to understanding the myth of the nation , a myth that aims to unite peoples of an oppressed society. In the face of cultural tyranny, the colonized attempt to “gather together many individuals who come to imagine their simultaneity with others; this unified collective is the nation’s ‘people’” (74). In Jorge Amado’s Tent of Miracles , the main character, Pedro Archanjo, is a member of Brazil’s mestizo culture, a culture that celebrates its many African influences despite the extreme poverty and disease that devastate the area known as Bahia, the central hub of mestizo culture. As the non-linear plot of the novel begins with the death of Archanjo, the reader immediately sees the effect that this character had on his native community. Although he was without “a penny to his name,” Amado tells us that “listening to Archanjo was one of the
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course ENGL 157 taught by Professor Hawley,john during the Fall '07 term at Santa Clara.

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ENGL 157 - take home exam 1 - Carlson 1 Mallory Carlson...

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