Postcolonial Theory- Extended Definition Essay
During the late twentieth century, many literary critics had an important focus on understanding cultural power. They began investigating a more multicultural canon, and discovered the lack of perspectives from the formerly colonized people on European colonization. European colonialism was centered on racial inferiority and extreme otherness. In history the colonized people are seen as the losers and the colonizers are the winners. Postcolonial critics are trying to restore the culture, dignity, identities, and history of the colonized. Colonizers believed they were sophisticated, civilized, and metropolitan. They defined the colonized people as being savage, backward, and undeveloped. Furthermore Europeans believed their culture was highly advanced and they tried to implement stereotypes against the colonized people. Postcolonial theory assumes that the colonized people are being treated as the "Other". Postcolonial theory examines how the colonized people are voiceless and how they are inferior to the colonizers. Postcolonial critics are mainly concerned with literature written in the Anglo-European culture often distorts the experiences of the colonized people, and attempts to articulate more pride in the face of colonization. Postcolonial theory focuses on conveying the complete story of colonization specifically by Europeans, rather than blaming them for their wrong doings in history. Postcolonial theory states that Anglo-European countries created the dominant ideology that served to “other” the colonized people by making the same them seem inferior and dependent. Postcolonial critics question the legacy of Western influence in their colonized countries because of the negative aspects of discrimination towards the natives. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the white missionaries created division within the most basic element of Ibo society, their religion and made it easier for them to establish themselves and their government in Umuofia. When the missionaries arrived in Mbanta the village people gathered around them and the white man said “All the gods you have named are not gods at all” (146). The white man is claiming that the Umuofians worship false gods and they are nothing at all. Their religion was the foundation of their society and kept them together with a strong faith. The Christians argue that the village people are ignorant because he states that their gods are merely “pieces of wood and stone” (146). The white man’s words are significant because he emphasizes that their society is based on false gods made out of wood and stone. His words also indicate that since their gods are made by stone and wood, they are completely harmless and cannot do anything to stop the missionaries. The goal of their early colonization is to tear apart the fundamental reason that keeps the Ibo society together, which is their religion and strong faith in their ancestors. Therefore they can control the natives easily because they are not united, and implement their religion and culture. The white man continues with his speech and states “They are gods of deceit who tell you to kill your fellows and destroy innocent children” (146). The white man is making a statement accusing the natives of being savages that go through life killing each other. The natives are undeveloped because they have un-human like traditions and customs. The white man is making a crucial statement to the village people that they are significantly different and have worthless gods, traditions, and customs. In other words the white men believe in the master narrative that he is superior and has the right to colonize them. European colonizers used extreme othering through criticizing their religious beliefs and attacking their traditional beliefs in order to successfully colonize “the Other”. Upon Okonkwo’s return to Umuofia he talked to Obierika on the presence of the Christian people and he...
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