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on Post-colonial period English Literature

Modelski's Globalization

In his article, Globalization, George Modelski contrasts his definition of globalization and the reality at the beginning of this process. He states, at the beginning, that globalization is a “process by which a number of historical world societies were brought together into one global system.” Continuing on briefly about how the dominant power carried away from the Moslem world, he brings up the factors that contributed to expansion of Europe onto the rest of the world. Shortly after Reconquista, where the Muslim forces were completely driven away from the European continent, the dominant forces at the time, Portugal and Spain expanded their territory by discovery and exploitation overseas. However, soon they were ousted out by the newly emerging forces, Dutch and English. Modelski points out that a successful expansion of its colony requires a government to have not only strong navy forces, but also efficient and powerful political unit, supplies industry, and especially commercial enterprises, which enabled the two groups to succeed over their predecessors. Moreover, he emphasizes that the prominent corporate trade enterprises of Britain and Netherlands, such as East Indies Company, were underlying factors for bringing together the world into one. He wraps up by discussing the outcomes of the European exploitation of the world that the Western community in most part benefited from globalization. Their governments became more powerful from their flourishing commerce, and productive lands had been taken over by large-scale migrations. On the other hand, people of the conquered lands for example, Central and North America, had gone through disasters; their population declined disastrously through disease, depression and war. Finally, Modelski again brings up the definition of globalization, yet the more realistic one this time, that it is “a process of incorporating external parts into the ongoing fabric of Western-centered world politics.”

Use of Stereotypes in Heart of Darkness

In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad defines stereotypes through examples and symbolisms that Marlow, the indirect narrator of the story; furthermore, he creates irony in the definition of stereotypes in order to criticize the idea of imperialism during its period. According to Stuart Hall, who specifically defined stereotypes in his publication In Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, “stereotyping reduces people to a few simple, essential characteristics, which are represented as fixed by nature.”

The central theme throughout the plotline, imperialism symbolizes stereotyping caused by power. Imperialism reflects justification of Europeans to themselves as directors who spread enlightenment ideals and bring civilization to the savage Africans. However, employees of the Belgian company other than Kurtz and Marlow are portrayed to be only interested in making a profit and getting promoted to a higher position within the company, which suggests Conrad’s view of enlightenment ideals and sentiments rather being rationalizations for exploitation. Furthermore, Marlow’s remark on England, when it used to be “one of the dark places of the earth” implies that once England was a savage wilderness to the Roman conquerors. Now that English people are repeating the same process as a colonizer, leads to an idea that stereotyping strongly binds to the power.
The other aspect of stereotyping, the construction of otherness and exclusion can be easily seen in the reflection Marlow gives. According to Marlow’s narratives, it is proven that the two groups, Europeans and native Africans are deeply segregated, where Europeans are all officials commanding natives to do harsh works. All the Europeans that Marlow comes across mention their view of the natives as savages and inhumane beings. Later, the contradiction to this belief is given by irony that natives are the ones actually doing all the actual jobs, and the fact that Europeans are indeed in the aid of Africans. Moreover, Conrad makes a contrast between Marlowe and employees as hard-working to incompetent and lazy, which implies those employees are no different compare to the savages.

National identity in Exile according to Julia

Definition Identity, as being and becoming, is clearly portrayed by the main characters in Exile according to Julia. As defined by Stuart Hall in his publication Cultural Identity and Diaspora, identity of being offers a sense of unity and commonality, while identity of becoming refers to “a process of identification which shows the discontinuity in our identity formation.” While Hall continues his arguments, supporting with Carribean identities and his own, Exile according to Julia provides great example with real life point of view.

Hall's second definition of identity, as becoming, can be easily realized when referring to the children with a different ancestry different from fellow mates. As the postwar migration boom started, mid-twentieth century saw a rising issue of questioning dual identity by the second generations of the migrants. Through an experience of migration to Paris and back to Guadeloupe, the narrative in the story faces a situation where she is not accepted in neither worlds. Growing up in Paris, she became too Cosmopolitan to fit into Guadeloupian society, although in Paris, she was distinguished from her fellow Parisians for having a darker skin and different ancestry. This shows that identity from the others' perspectives, that is when a person is looks at another, is mainly determined by how that person looks, talks and acts. Moreover, one needs to have all of those characteristics in order to belong to a society that behaves that way.

The other major theme in the story is integration and exclusion. The family's migration to France is triggered by the Marechal's patriotism toward France. Even though he has a strong admiration for Charles De Gaulle, it is ironic that he dedicates his service to the nation of France, while his home, Guadeloupe is part of French colony. Despite his strong sense of nationalism, the family is not accepted into the Parisian community for their identity. Issue of exclusion, which was first caused by the imperialism and slave trades, deals mainly with the differences in races, the color differences. Despite the family's will to assimilate in France by keeping their Creole legacy silent, the younger generation of the family is still not accepted into the new community for having a different looks although everything about them except for the color differences, fits into the Parisian standards.

Later in the century, integration of multiple cultures with the migration boom have caused the cities in Europe, especially Paris and London, become a community with variety of cultures and people. Today, people no longer see those cities as a place characterized by one etnicity with a single culture. Identity, when referring to a small number, it can be applied to exclude people, but it is a strong force which shapes the whole society when reffering to a large number.

Familiar tradition in Nervous Conditions

As the family tradition becomes one of the major topics when dealing with post-war period imperialism and immigration, changing family values between generations can be observed in various writings written in this period. In Nervous Conditions, written by Tsitsi Dangarembga, the two main characters depict how their generation find themselves caught between the two cultures, their native tradition versus incoming European superiority, and how they deal with those problems. Throughout the story, different approaches taken by the main characters show how colonial legacies and paradoxes of their familial tradition have defined their cause and effect for struggling through their situations.

While both protagonists, Tambudzai and Nyasha are both struggling through their native tradition where male dominancy and European superiority exist, they find that cultural tradition is the obstacle they have to get over, and take their own approach. For Nyasha, it is the difference boundary between the two cultures, English and African, that puts her into misery. As a black person, she is not accepted in English society, while getting also rejected from her native tradition for being English inside. Especially at the missionary school, where his father, Babamukuru is a headmaster, she becomes excluded from her classmates. This whole situation she ends up in is caused by the continuity of colonial legacy that moves onto natives of her generation. Although imperialism had caused a great impact on colonies, cultural beliefs held by others put her to get lost between the two cultures. On the other hand, Tambudzai faces male superiority that overwhelms her desire for success. While she tries to reject her mother’s advice on male superiority in African society, her aunt Maiguru also suggests that education will not bring women success, instead the only way to success is marrying a powerful man. As she comments out her disappointment with her previous obstacles in her education caused by male dominancy, “The needs and sensibilities of the women in my family were not considered a priority, or even legitimate. That was why l was in Standard Three in the year Nhamo [the brother] died instead of in Standard Five, as l should have been by that age(12)” It brings her to a firm determination for further education.

Contradictions in familiar tradition can be observed mainly in other members of Nyasha’s family. Babamukuru, Nyasha’s father, holds a strong pride for his country and tradition, but he is a big supporter of male supremacy as a household. Although he took his wife, Maiguru to England to get a university degree in England, he still looks down on her, and demands his full control over the members of the family. In result, Maiguru comes to acknowledge the fact that her master’s certificate is no good in home country. She was the one who accepted the fact that as a female African, they are inferior, suggesting Tambu not to move on to missionary school. At last she changes her mind, and goes to her brother without telling Babamukuru. Her changing behavior as an uprising against her husband signifies changing traditions even in upper generation as a result of younger generation struggle. In effect, Babamukuru also changes too. The whole changes are mainly started by Nyasha’s personal beliefs and values, which also has a big impact on Tambu as she figures her own way out. “She turns against Babamukuru and punches him on the eye”(115) As a result of Nyasha’s rebelling reaction to her native tradition, the other characters see themselves changing, moving away from their close-minded traditional beliefs.

As a result of what happens to Nyasha, and changing values within Tambudzai, a shift in cultural values within Nyasha’s family are observed. Although Nyasha ends up in a miserable ending, it is she who has to get credit for setting others to stand up for what they believe. Not only it resulted her parents to accept the equality, she helped Tambu see where she should be heading toward and how her approach be taken.

Key Moments in Metamorphosis of Jasmine

In Jasmine, the narrator Jasmine follows complex paths with violent encounters in her journey toward self-knowledge. Throughout her long path of metamorphosis, she faces changing identities in terms of her wants and view on herself. The stages of her transformation can be noticed by changing names and key moments that are followed by her symbolizing actions. Born as the unwanted fifth daughter in a poor and displaced family in India, she begins her life as Joyti with a cursed destiny. It was predicted by an astrologer that she shall not escape the widowhood and exile for lifetime, and eager to disapprove the prophecy, Joyti starts learning English. For her, “to want English was to want more than you had been given at birth, it was to want the world.” As her efforts to change her life began, the first event that starts her transformation is her marriage with Prakash Vijh. The fact that he was a student with a modernized thought enables Joyti to escape from the traditional beliefs on male superiority and duties of the wives. At the same time, she is given a new name, Jasmine, as well as hopes for American dream as they plan to start a new life in America.

Like it was predicted, a sudden loss of her husband from Sikh extremist’s bomb was tragic for her, but indeed gives her a chance to move to the United States, and search for answers to her identity on her own. Death of Prakash and rape immediately after her arrival in United States leads to another transition in her life. The brutal experience she faces as a first incident in America turns her into the goddess of destruction, Kali and leads to a murder. Also, act of burning Prakash’s suit symbolizes her desire to forget the past as Jyoti or Jasmine and move onto the new way of life, distant from her Hindu culture. Her hatred for Indian culture is again observed when she decides to move out from the Vadhera household, and meets Taylor Hayes. It is the moment that she has completely replaced her Indian culture with American dream, when Taylor renames her as Jase. When she falls in love with Taylor, she realizes the pleasant state she is in, and phrases it, “I bloomed from a different alien with forged documents into adventurous Jase.” However, Jase’s happy days does not last long, when she spots the killer who murdered her husband, she runs off to a rural town in Iowa and restarts her life as a wife of banker, Jane Ripplemeyer. During her stay in Iowa, Jane and her husband adopts a Vietnamese boy, who gives her a reflection of her past. While adapting to the American culture fast, her adopted son, Du tries hard not to lose his original heritage. He joins the local Vietnamese community in order to keep the language skill, and resists from the idea of the melting pot. In contrast to Jane, who tried to burn her past as a woman born into Indian society, Du thinks becoming an American does not require replacement of one’s ethnic identity. Living with Du as a family provides her a time to look back on her past, and at last, she is saved by Taylor and they form a happy family with their adopted son and a daughter.

Throughout the bildungsroman of Jasmine, gradual transition of her identity takes place as she moves to different places, and it is especially lifted when she marries Prakash, gets raped in Florida, and by her interaction with Du Thein. As the changing name signifies, her transformation takes in four stages, and her viewpoint on identity, the melting pot, and American dream changes accordingly. In contrast to other postcolonial literary works written at this period, this novel portrays how assimilation into American society was perceived at last, and also suggest that assimilation takes long term efforts with help from the surrounding people.