PostColonial Literature Essay
3. With reference of at least two short stories from the course, consider in what ways either Desai, Munro, Galgut and Rushdie’s stories are Postcolonial texts. You may consider issues such as home and homelessness, absences in the text, place, positionality or anything you feel is relevant to your attempt at decoding postcolonial identities.
Post-colonial literature can be considered as a body of literary writings that reacts to the discourse of colonization. Post-colonial writers focus on issues such as de-colonization and the political and cultural independence of people formerly subjugated to colonial rule. However post-colonial literature cannot be described only by the definition above, many other issues have to be considered in order to fully understand post-colonial texts. In order to understand post-colonial texts, one has to focus on two post-colonial writers: Anita Desai and Damon Galgut. To begin with, Anita Desai is an Indian novelist and short story writer, especially noted for her sensitive portrayal of the inner life of her female characters. Desai prefers the concerns of Westernized, middle-class characters rather than those facing the majority of India. Desai has comments on her work “My novels are no reflection of Indian society, politics or character. They are my private attempt to seize upon the raw material of life.” “Diamond Dust”(2000), a second Desai’s short story collection, features a selection of tales set in North America and India, Indian characters and concerns figure in all of them, illuminating Desai’s thematic preoccupation with the psychological effects on multiculturalism. A short story called “Five Hours to Simla or Faisla” was written by Desai. Shubha Tiwari in “Critical responses to Anita Desai” argues that “Five Hours to Simla Or Faisla is one of the most successful stories in this collection because of the clarity of the motives in it. It is a humorous story about the adamant attitude of a Sardarji causing a good deal of tension to the travelers on the way to Simla.” In my opinion, “Five hours to Simla or Faisla” can be called as a post-colonial text for many reasons. First of all, I think that key character is a crucial thing while talking about post-colonial texts. A key character in this text is really important as short stories tend to be more interesting in characterisation. In this story the key character is the mother’s character as it shows tradition-bound patriarchal culture in India: mother’s responsibility to take care of children and not having a say in the family, being less important than the father / husband. At that stage Desai tries to focus on middle-class women in contemporary India as they attempt to overcome social limitations. Writers’ qualification is also very important in post-colonial texts as it reflects why the author chose to talk about this particular subject in their text. Desai’s qualification is feminine and we can see why mother’s ( the wife’s) character is such an important thing in this short story. Her qualification is also somehow engaged in as to why her daily life is occupied with the complexities of modern Indian culture from a feminine perspective, while highlighting the female Indian predicament of maintaining self-identity as an individual woman. Being an immigrant, Desai sees differences between her culture and Western world. Talking about the mother’s character, she tries to show the limited opportunities for women in Indian society; she tries to find the dissolution of traditional Indian values and Western stereotypes of India. Talking about central characters, we can consider family as central characters in this story as Desai focus on family relationship so much in this text. She talks from a third person perspective “she”, “he” and she never mentioned family member names, so she place very long distance between readers and family-unnamed characters makes a little bit difficult to talk about them...
References: Anita Desai (2000). Diamond Dust, “Five Hours to Simla or Faisla”.
Damon Galgut (2010). In a Strange Room, “The Lover”.
Hart, Jonathan; Goldie Terrie (1993). “Post Colonial theory”. In: http://books.google.com/books?id=CTJCiLG9AeoC&pg=PA155#v=onepage&q&f=false
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