The Wretched of the Earth | Study Guide

Frantz Fanon

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The Wretched of the Earth | Character Analysis


The native

Fanon always represents the native as male. Initially, everything about the native is the product of the settler's views: the native is criminal, lazy, and evil. The native is seen as an animal. When the native realizes he is not an animal, then everything else the settler has taught him about himself is revealed as a lie.

The settler

Fanon always represents the settler as male. The settler uses violence to uphold colonial rule. The settler considers settlers to be human and natives less than human. The settler believes settlers are the source of moral values and natives are evil.

The native intellectual

Fanon always represents the native intellectual as male. In the course of the native intellectual's education, he has had European values "deeply implanted" in his mind. Thus there is the possibility the native intellectual will be on the settler's side and not the native's side in the nationalist uprising. However, during the struggle the native intellectual gets back in touch with the natives, and his pro-European prejudices are "turned into dust." From this point on the native intellectual supports the uprising.

The peasant

The peasant receives no benefits from the colonial system—an education, a salary. The peasant remembers the anticolonial period, the period when the settlers first arrived and natives resisted them. Because the peasant has nothing to lose, spontaneous uprisings against colonial rule begin with the peasant.

The national bourgeoisie

Fanon calls this class the "national bourgeoisie" because they are for national independence from colonial rule. Bourgeoisie is a French word for the middle class and is often used in Marxist discussion. Although the national bourgeoisie favor independence, they do not want things to change. They would like to retain the current structures of domination and exploitation, but with themselves as the main beneficiaries. Therefore, Fanon believes the struggle for nationhood must be carried out by the peasant and the native intellectual, working together.

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