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The female colonizer and othered woman in isak dinesen's _out of africa_, jean rhys's _wide sargasso sea_, tayeb salih's _season of migration to the north_, and paule marshall's _the chosen place, the timeless people_
h [electronic resource] /
by Lindsay Sloan.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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ABSTRACT: The central issue of this thesis is the complicated relationship between the colonized individual and the constitutive as well as emblematic female colonizer in Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North, and Paule Marshall's The Chosen Place, The Timeless People. Each of these novels displays colonization by a female (or females) and relates back to historical colonialism, but each characterizes the relationship between the oppressors and oppressed differently. Dinesen's and Rhys's works stem from historical colonization in which European colonizers conquered and ruled other territories; Annette and her daughter Antoinette, females born into slave-holding families in Wide Sargasso Sea, are fictional but empowered as a result of an actual colonial past, while the colonizer in Dinesen's memoir is Dinesen (ne Karen Blixen), for she recounts her own autobiographical experience as a plantation owner living in Kenya in the early 1900s. Salih's and Marshall's novels are also based on the damaging effects of a colonial history, but simultaneously portray women who suffer from subordination and oppression within their own communities; Marshall details the relationship between an African-Caribbean woman and an American female colonizer, while Salih presents the tumultuous affairs between four European female colonizers and an African-Sudanese man. Additionally, Salih's novel focuses on Othered Sudanese women who are expected to adhere to the patriarchal laws of the tribe, but who prove themselves as agents by disavowing these laws. This thesis relies on postcolonial, feminist, and womanist methodologies.
Advisor: Hunt Hawkins, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Out of Africa Wide Sargasso Sea Season of Migration to the North and Paule The Chosen Place, The Timeless People by Lindsay L. Sloan A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Hunt Hawkins Ph. D. Shirley Toland Dix, Ph.D. Sara Munson Deats, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 12 2010 Keywords: subjugated, colonized, agency, androgyny, patriarchy Copyright 2010, Lindsay L. Sloan
Acknowledgements I thank my thesis committee members for their continual support and guidance in not only the writing of my thesis manuscript, but also my academic career. I truly believe that belief was further solidified after my introduction to African American, African, and Caribbean literature and subsequently inspired the work for this thesis. I thank Dr. Hunt Hawkins for directing my thesis and offering sound advice on my topic selection as well as engaging my interest in postcolonial works. I appreciate Dr. Shirley Toland and her detailed observations of my thesis. My gratitude is extended to Dr. Sara Munson Deats, a model schola r, professor, and person; I am thankful for her encouraging words and tireless efforts applied to polishing my writing skills. To my family, friends, and future husband, I love you all and would not have succeeded without your support throughout the years. Mom, you will always remain my rock and inspiration.
i Table of Contents Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... ii Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 1 Chapter One: The Female Colonizer and Discursive Colonization in Isak Out of Africa ................................ ................................ .............................. 8 Chapter Two: The Female Colonizer and Third World Woman Wide Sargasso Sea ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 24 Chapter Three: Season of Migration to the North ................................ ................................ ............. 38 Chapter Four: The Chosen Place, The Timeless P eople ................................ ................................ .. 51 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 66 Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 72
ii Out of Africa Jean Wide Sargasso Sea Tayeb Season of Migration to the North and Paule The Chosen Place, The Timeless People Lindsay L. Sloan ABSTRACT The central issue of this thesis is the complicated relationship between the colonized individual and the constitutive as well as emblematic female colonizer in Isak Out of Africa Jean Wide Sargasso Sea Tayeb Season of Migration to the North The Chosen Place, The Timeless People Each of these novels displays colonization by a female (or females) and relates back to historical colonialism, but each characterizes the relationship between the oppressors and nization in which European colonizers conquered and ruled other territories; Annette and her daughter Antoinette, females born into slave holding families in Wide Sargasso Sea are fictional but empowered as a result of an actual colonial past, while the c olonizer in autobiographical experience as a plantation owner living in Kenya in the early 1900s. hi story, but simultaneously portray women who suffer from subordination and oppression within their own communities; Marshall details the relationship between an African
iii Caribbean woman and an American female colonizer, while Salih presents the tumultuous af fairs between four European female colonizers and an African Sudanese to adhere to the patriarchal laws of the tribe, but who prove themselves as agents by disavowing these laws. This thesis relies on postcolonial, feminist, and womanist methodologies.
1 Introduction The savage wars of peace Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease; And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought, Watch Sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hope to nought. At the height of the nineteenth century imperial resurgenc poem Kipling calls Americans to action and advises them to invade and institute colonial r ule over the Philippines poem accurately reflected the sentiments of many Westerners who lived at its time of publication in 1899. The colonizers often thought of themselves as al truistic individuals who attempted to civilize and improve the living conditions of foreigners meanwhile inundating the colonized with Christian beliefs and practices in hopes of turning them
2 away from their ancestral worship. Many colonizers found the co lonized t o be ungrateful and intransigent common beliefs also mirrored encounters the female colonizer in accounts of colonialism represented in fictional or historical literature If discussed, she often exists as an extension of her colonial husband a point to which Chandra Talpade Mohanty refers: her study of European women in colonial Nigeria, white women di d not travel to the Conversely, the focus of this thesis is to examine the merely empowered because of her relation to a male colonizer; however, there are certain caveats that apply to the degree to which each female colonizer enforces colonial rule, and these will be discussed later in the introduction. The central issue that I wish to analyze in th e thesis is the relationship between the colonized individual and the female colonizer. Additionally, I seek to investigate the ways in which each of the following four novels complicates this Out of Afr ica, Wide Sargasso Sea, Season of Migration to the North, and The Chosen Place, The Timeless People. I argue that each novel treats the female colonizer from a diffe rent perspective, yet similarly displays colonia detrimental to each behavior and/or psyche. Furthermore, each novel presents a similar treatment of man and woman as Other. Chapters two through four will particularly focus on females who are Othered because they have been stripped of agency in both colon ial and patriarchal societies. I am not only interested in the role of
3 colon ialism or the patriarchy in this process, but I also wish to explore how these subjugated women seek to regain agency. When defining and representing the marginalization of a Third World woman from a feminist perspective, one must acknowledge the complic ations implicit in this process. Many feminist/womanist female critics outline the dangers of assuming that all women, Th ird World and Western, are similar in their experiences and therefore can be uniformly labeled as oppressed women. However, as Cheryl J ohnson Odim insists the subordination based on gender differs from that of the Third Worl d woman; Johnson While it is true that the oppression of impoverished and marginalized Euro American women is linked to ge nder and class relations, that of Third World women is linked also to race relations and often ). Many Third World writers and scholars prefer the term womanist or womanism as opposed to feminist/feminism because they wish to eradicate the commonly held assumptions of some white/Western/women critics who only blame the inequality of the sexes for wo Mohanty women as an already constituted, coherent group with identic al interests and desires, regardless of class, ethnic or racial location, or contradictions, implies a notion of gender or sexual difference or even patriarchy which can be applied universally and cross Mohanty clarifies that to mak e s uch a presupposition would
4 undermine the Othered, postcolonial woman whose diminished existence results from the politics of imperialism; the Western woman often suffers from the effects of a patriarchal society that holds sexist views of women as infer ior to men, but this struggle is not equated to that of the Third World woman who is discriminated against as a result of not only her sex, but also her race and class. By delineating these differences, I do not intend ncy and validation; to do so would be counter intuitive to the thesis. Instead, I wish to discuss both feminism and womanism as necessary lenses through which to view many of the female colonizers and colonized individuals in the novels to be discussed. I rely on theories of Western feminist as well as Third World womanist critics because these arguments share the belief that women must assert themselves as agents in male centered power structures, whether these be patriarchies, colonies, or both. Each of the novels that I will discuss in the thesis display s colonization by a female (or females) and relates back to historical colonialism, but each characterizes the w orks stem from historical colonization in which European colonizers conquered and ruled other territories; Annette and her daughter Antoinette, females born into slave holding families in Wide Sargasso Sea are fictional but empowered as a result of an e Karen Blixen), for she recounts her own autobiographical experience as a plantation owner living in Kenya in the early 1900s. Salih damaging effects of a colonial history, but simultaneously portray women who suffer from subordination and oppression within their own communities; Marshall details the
5 relationship between an African Caribbea n woman and an American female c olonizer, while Salih presents the tumultuous affairs between four European female colonizers and an African Othered Sudanese women who are expected to adhere to the patri archal laws of the tribe, but who prove themselves as agents by disavowing these laws. In chapter one, I argue that Karen Blixen participates in discursive colonization by writing a memoir that romanticizes and mythologizes Africa and, more importantly, omits the nefarious roles of European colonizers who settled in Kenya. Discourse on Colonialism Out of Africa as it traces historical accounts of colonization and effect on the colonizer rather than the colonized. I also incorporate criticism by Ngugi wa Weep Not Child in response to Blixen I cite his book Moving the Centre : Th e Struggle for Cultural Freedoms to further expound on his powerful critique of that colonizes. views of op a language through which to name, Although theory refers to the Carib bean landscape, literary decolonization also applies to numerous descriptions of t he beautiful African landscape and complete disregard for the colonization that dehumanized the Kikuyu Chapter two engages with disparate criticism of Wide Sargas so Sea including that of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Benita Parry. The scholars debate
6 role as agent in the novel subject within the emerging norm of feminist individualism during the age of imperialism necessarily excluded the native female, who was positioned on the boundary between mission or soul Spivak qtd. in Parry 247 ). Spivak believes that Christophine is merely a subsidiary character central position as challenger to both imperial and patriarchal law, an assertion with which I agree and further de velop in this chapter. Moreover, I will analyze the character of Antoin ette according to Simone de Beauvoir feminist beliefs on marginalized women as Other s I argue that Antoinette, although born into a settler family and by legacy a female colonizer, is subjugated by the European patriarchal system that influences her ste pbrother and stepfather to sell her to Rochester in the arranged marriage. Chapter three provides Season of Migration to the North ; I lovers women who submit to the Western obsession with exoticism and thereby align themselves with colonizers. Furthermore, I the inlaw and outlaw feminine principles in order to solidify my argument for an androgynous woman as agent French maintains that the inlaw feminine principle aligns with the submissive, powerless woman, whereas the outlaw feminine principle is outlaw be cause it is subversive, undermin (23). Bint Majzoub and Hosna Bint Mahmoud represent the feminine outlaw principles; Bint Majzoub openly discusses her sexual prowess with her male friends, while Hosna
7 murders Wad Rayyes in se lf defense as he brutally attempts to rape her. Both women embrace an drogynous roles to gain agency; Toward a Recognition of Androgyny to fully expound on the definition of androgyny. For the final chapter, I examine t marginalized woman through the characters of Harriet Amron and Merle Kinbona, respectively. As Joy M. Lynch argues in The Chosen Place, The Timeless People Merle must face and accept her individual as well as collective colon ial past before she can establish a postcolonial identity her Self so that she can move forward with her future. By concluding the discussion of Chosen I attempt to end on a hopeful vision for the postcolonial female and male.
8 Chapter One : The Female Colonizer and Discursive Colonization in Isak Out of Africa In chapter one of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History exploitation of the [formerly colonized] landscape and its inhabitants whilst also seeking The difficulty to which Donnell the inh erent splendor of nature while concurrently acknowledging and paying tribute to a people, particularly those who were once colonized individuals. Donnell suggests that we must participate in literary decolonization, or a process that ev e lop[s] a language through which to name, affirm and cherish the beauty and sustenance of a [postcolonial] landscape without seeming to accrue those rhetorical structures that romanticis e or sentimentalise [this land scape ] within a e (58). Although Donnell primarily calls for the literary decolonization of the Caribbean, she also speaks for any group of people who have seen their land invaded and exploited by colonizers.
9 In her 1937 memoir Out of Africa Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) 1 skillfully constructs an admittedly eloquently written narrative that recounts the seventeen years she lived in Africa. Upon purchasing a four thousand acre coffee plantation in the Ngong Hills, Blixen inhabitants of the farm. Blixen and the other Kikuyu and Somali tribe members who work on her farm, along with her various safaris, encounters with animals and other experiences w hile living in Africa. By her actions, Blixen appears to be the opposite of most heavy handed, abusive colonizers; she never admits to acting violent ly towards the workers and she describes herself as a kind and nurturing woman who takes great care in tend ing to their medical and physical needs. One gains the sense that, despite her role as a female colonizer, Blixen attempts to immerse herself within the culture of the colonized. Perhaps no critic better describes the Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedoms Out of Africa is one of the most dangerous books ever written about Africa, precisely because this Danish writer was obviously gifted with words and dreams. The racism in the book is catching, because it is persuasively put forward as love. But it is the love of a man f (133). t for this chapter, but also a critique that many have failed to acknowledge 2 1 Isak Dinesen is the pen name of the author; her given name was Karen Dinesen. After marrying M ost critics still refer to her by her married name, as I will henceforth. 2 ersion of Africa neglects to address the politics complicit with historical colonization. Furthermore, reviews of Blixen published as recent ly as 1989 describe
10 I suggest that Blixen ursive rather than corporeal colonization and I implicate Blixen for the way she refers to herself workers, Blixen like attitude while repeatedly employing animal imagery to describe the Kikuyu. In many instances, she sympathizes more with the animals of the African plains than with her own servants. She regrets that the oxen are the colonizers (including Blixen the novel, Blixen laments the loss of two giraffes that will travel by boat to a Hamburg ahead, Blixen believes the animals to have been seriou sly wronged. Ironically, she neglects to consider the colonized whose land has been stolen. Arguably, Blixen does much good for her employees (medical treatment, help in navigating government restrictions, negotiation of a piece of land for them to move to upon her departure from throughout the memoir ; Blixen envisions herself as an understanding, nurturing, mother figure to the tribe members, but fails to acknowledge h erself as a colonizer. She attempts to m ask her role with rhetoric that relays assimilating to the Kikuyu tribe. The Atlantic) The New York Times Book Review).
11 Additionally, I argue that Blixen even though her writing of documents and letters for the tribe members seems to please and empower the m She describes a particular tribe member as exultant over a document that bear s his name, and he often carries this letter on his person Blixen those of a mere epistolary existence a contradiction that I will fu rther investigate. I ultimately consider both Blixen discursive colonization as diminishing the Kikuyu to an Othered existence I submit to literarily decolonize Kenya by refusing to be seduced by Blixen prose and, ins tead, aim to expose as the language of the colonizer. In her chapter Annie Gagiano displays a certain ambivalence towards Blixen proposes a thesis to investigate the significance of Blixen Blixen and Thiong ors fight different adversaries, but both Blixen and Ngugi eloquently affirm that propose that Blixen land that European colonizer s stole fr a man born in Kenya under British Imperial rule, is illogical. Thiong soul; Blixen land a land to which she claims ownership despite her foreign status Gagiano acknowledges that Blixen Blixen ] considers herself naturally attuned and entitled, temporarily sojourning as if in the
12 through Blixen the Ngong Hills farm, she projects her Eurocentri while ignoring the exploitive nature of her expressive prowess. In her opening lines, Blixen describes Africa in relation ndscape had not its like in all the world. There was no of which was diff erent from that of the tree memoir, Blixen immediately juxtaposes Africa to Europe and thereby sets up the colonial power structure of the Other; she represents Africa a s Other to Europe because she believes that A frica cannot function Blixen must describe her new home through the creation of binaries since Africa is placed in opposition and as inferior to Europe Blixen continues her introduction to the Ngong Hills by asserting that [t]he views were immensely wide. Everything that y ou saw made for greatness or in i t, wa s the ing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be. (4) Ironically, Blixen and relishes the fresh outdoor air as validation of her place in Kenya, even though she achieves this liberty at the cost of the marginalization of the rightful owners of the land, the Kikuyu and Somali.
13 Immediately after admitting to Blixen y to romanticize her surroundings, Gagiano contradicts herself by positing that those who claim Blixen esquely unfair to the delicacy of feeling and (96). I struggle to locate an example from Gagiano that proves Blixen as anything more than a self righteous colonizer, and furthermore agree with the argument that her memoir As stated in my intro duction, Blixen does not acknowledge imposing bodily harm upon her workers but we the discursive colonization that pervades the novel particularly in the descriptions of the Africans Blixen her chef Kamante (when he is only a boy) leads her After attempting to treat Blixen allows the Scotch Mission to keep him for several months because she is unsure of how to properly heal him of the disease. The mission proves successful in curing Kamante, and, although slightly disfigured and of smaller stature tha n most other boys, Kamante develops into a healthy young man With Blixen bad (30). Blixen compares herself to Christ who, because He created each, must love His children
14 regardless of physical appearance; Blixen thereby aligns her status as resident farm ld be time with people, [and] will place a bone on the floor before you, as a In response to task a job, rather than the art Blixen transmutes it in Blixen and furthermore confirms her role as the colonizer who sees herself as the ruler over the colonized ( s introduction Discourse on Colonialism. Csaire aptly argues [wo]man 3 in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal, and tends objectively to transform himself ke much postcolonial discourse, Csaire refers not to the dehumanization of the colonized who is treated as the animal, but rather to the colonizer who, far more than his or her subordinate, exhibits animalistic rather than civilized behaviors. Blixen refrains from physically abusing her servants and in doing so excludes herself from the extreme brute categorization 3 woman in this distinction and implicate Blixen for her role as the female c olonizer who acts in
15 associated with many colonizers; however, she verbally abuses her workers through the colonizing language of her memoir and her treatment of Native as Other Blixen recounts an important conversation that sh e has with Kamante regarding her ability to write a novel. Kamante is skeptical because he compares Blixen to The Odyssey. one end to the other. Even if you hold it up and shake it strongly, it does not come to equates a book with its physical appearance rather than its words. Kamante then inquires as to what Blixen wil Unsure of this response, Kamante asks Blixen which part of him she will write about. himself as a whole ind ividual; Kamante knows that he is a whole person comprised of several parts only characterized by his deformity and ability to cook unawareness of how books are bound and published is of no importance when compared to his enlightened view of himself as a multi faceted, complex human being. Although the author of his story attempts to rhetorically diminish his existence to that of a poor, destitute animal who is taken in refuses to accept the role of Other through his attempt to establish him(S)elf. Another important issue in Out of Africa is that of Western modernization. Blixen speaks not only of Christian civilizing missions present in Nairobi during her years on the
16 Blixen explores the effects of Wes what appears to be her attempt at defending the Africans for their aversion to modernization, Blixen only succeeds in further Othering them, for she fails to acknowledge that Western progress i s also associated with Western imperial rule and that this would explain why most colonized individuals would not readily embrace these values. Blixen writes: The people who expect the Natives to jump joyful ly from the stone age to the age of the motor car s, forget the toil and labour which our own fathers have had, to bring us all through history up to where we are We can make motor cars and aeroplanes, and teach the Natives to use them. But the true love of motor cars cannot be made, in human hearts, in the turn of a hand. It takes centuries to produce it... (280 81) I n this selected passage, one first notices that Blixen think t hat the Africans live in that time period, but she obvious ly believes that their behavior Blixen implies that cannot fully appreciate the modern machine because their simplistic natur e does not allow for an understanding of the complexities that accompany inventions such as cars and airplanes. To conclude this section of her memoir, she proposes that the ught: that the
17 Africans can eventually comprehend Kipling, one of the most racist and tyrannical writers of the time, makes one seriously question her thought process, but also makes clear her role as a colonizer s theory that the Other is of lesser intelligence and therefore must be instructed in Western ideology. 4 Csaire also addresses Western modernization in Discourse on Colonialism and Notebook of a Return to the Native Land and his treatment of Western progression engages directly with Blixen views on the subject. Csaire cites M. Roger Caillois in Discourse Blixen That the West invented Science. That the West alone knows how to think; that at the borders of the Western world there begins the shadowy realm of primitive thinking, which, dominated by the notion of participation, incapable of logic, is the very model of faulty or belief predicated on the assumption that the East (the Other) is less capable than the West; Blixen shares this conviction in her statement regarding the Africans. Her treatment of t held view of as child like and inept. Still, Csaire makes perhaps the most convincing argument against 4 Gagiano posits that historicall eralization) and she asserts that the coloured races than we, of our Industrial Age, shall ever be. When the first steam engine was constructed, the roads of the races of the world parted, and we have never found one another gument. Here, Blixen is merely confirming that t he machine (ship, steamboat, etc.) allowed fo r exploitation and enslavement.
18 one of Blixen or Caillois in his poem Notebook of a Return to the N ative Land. With reference to the enslaved and colonized, Csaire writes: Those who invented neither powder nor compass those who could harness neither steam nor electricity those who explored neither the seas nor sky but who knew in its minute cor ners the land of suffering those who have known voyages only through uprooting (32 33) In this excerpt, Csaire commemorates the persecuted slaves and colonized individuals for their lack of contribution to Western progress; he does so not to demean, but point precisely He compares the Middle Pass age voyage of the slave to the exploration voyage of t he colonizer, as well as acknowledges the pain experienced by those who were fo rced from their land by these same enlightened Westerners. A colonizer such as Blixen does not take into account that Africans or other colonized peoples may refuse Western progress as remo ved the land from their ownership, a fact that Csaire so poignantly states. To make a final comment on the complications implicit with Western modernization in Blixen I point to the airplane accident of Blixen nd how it seems most ironic when one considers Blixen this intricate machine. Finch Hatton owns an airplane and, on one of his flights back to the Ngong Hills to stay with Blixen he collides with the trees ; the accident proves fatal for Denys and Kamau, an African who Blixen but to accompany Finch Hatton on
19 the trip Aside from the tragedy of both men dying in thi s accident, the plane crash symbolizes the destruction caused by the Western machine, a product of Western progress. denies the Africans of agency and reduces them to one dimension al, static characters devoid of complex human intellect and emotion subjugates and validates the Africans in certain instances Blixen presents the a cquiescent the love and support of his or her master. However, she also discusses Africans who seem to feel empowered by her writing. One such example is a man named Jogona Kanyagga whose son W amai is killed by another young boy in a shooting accident. Due to tribal custom, the death of Wam ai entitles Jogona to complications with the payment arise, Jogona asks Blixen to type up a report of the account so that he can take it before the District Comm issioner Blixen describes how Jogona appears to feel as if his existence is verified by the words on the page when she reads the report back to him : Such a glance did Adam give the Lord when He for med him out of the dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. I had created him and shown him himself: Jogona Kanyagga of life everlasting. When I handed him the paper, he took it reverently and greedi ly, folded it up in a corner of his cloak and kept his hand upon it. He could not aff ord to lose it, for his soul was in it, and it was the proof of his existence. (115)
20 She later describes how Jogona makes and wears a leather bead embellished pouch to contain his paper He has s valuable because it convinces the District Commissioner to award Jogona with what is rightfully owed him after the death of his son. Other Kikuyu members seek is logical father and therefore has no right to the money but the Commissioner believes the wr itten account over the testimonies of the prosecuting legal significance does not necessarily achieve the Again, Blixen compares herself to God and imagines that her rhetoric has somehow made Jogona self aware; she fails to consider that this document may be the first ever written for and about Jogona. Perhaps Jogona values the paper because he knows that it verifies the true account of th would keep a legal contract or document in a secure location, Jogona carries this paper on his person because he knows that others are out to sabotage him. He may also fe el empowered b In a time when one was forced to work his or her own land and expected to adhere to the laws enforced by white name, history, and fingerprint, became important 5 One could endlessly speculate on 5 Perhaps for the Africans, the written word, especially their own letters to one another, reminded them that they owned a voice that could still be heard through the form of writ ing. For this reason, they interpreted letters literally and refused to believe that any words might have been mistakenly transcribed by the Scribes who wrote them in Swahili. Blixen often had to read the letters to her workers because many of them were il literate, and on one such occasion she
21 e document as well as on the motivations for his behavior, but to considering that the words of her memoir serve to mute the African voice. Still, I find it refreshing that B helpful rather than harmful In the final chapter of the memoir entitled Blixen recounts the proces s of selling her plantation and aiding the squatters in securing new land on which to liv e: had bought the farm were planning to take up the coffee trees, and to have the land cut up and sold unforeseen and bewildering determination, for they had lived in the illusion that the land 357). I need not dwell on the hypocrisy of this statement since the l and in fact did rightfully belong to the Kikuyu; however, Blixen appeals to several government officials and eventually secures a plot of land on which the squatters can relocate after the purchase of the coffee farm. In an unprecedented observation than their land that you take away from the people, whose Native land you take. It is their paradoxically functions on two levels: first, it confirms tha t Blixen realizes the significance of seizing land and, in turn, str ipping that individual of agency, identity and livelihood Second, this statement concurrently implicates Blixen for actively participating in caught (118). The recipient becomes angry when Blixen insists on the error, but Blixen dismisses the incident. By attempting to interpret the letter differently than the words written on the page, unc that he and his friends and family have as colonized individuals, and he refuses to accept that this voice could also be diminished.
22 colonization despite her apparent knowledge of its effects on the Africans, as well as perpetuating the European munificent colonizer myth. If her memoir had addressed the exploitive enterprise of colonialism, an imperial force in which she was not complicit, then one could understand Out of Africa as a work worth c ommemorating for its revelatory and revolutionary purp the brutal and unjust effects of colonization 6 and her narrative is thus still celebrated in the literary canon for its moving accounts of lif e within the African culture. This celebration is discussed in argues that particularly imaginative literature, is one of the most subtle and most effective ways by which a given ideology is passed on and received as the norm ... So where there is racism, o develops his point by emphasizing the large amount of writing that circulated during the slave trade : and se rious works of poetry and fiction were written carrying and reinforcing the images e Out of Africa. To 6 servant named Kitosch whose master has him flogged to death for riding a horse when instructed otherwise. After the flogging, the settler ties up Kitosch and leaves him to die. The case goes to court, and the prosecution relies on the cause of death relating to sustained from the flogging, while the defense claims that Kitosch willed himself to die, based on the account of another servant who was present when Kitosch claimed he wished to die and then did such. Of the three charges, murder, manslaughter, or grievous hurt, the colonizer and two servants responsible for the actual flogging are found guilty on grievous hurt. Blixen finds it ns should not, in Africa, have power to throw the African out of figure of Kitosch] is embodied the fugitiveness of the wild things who are, in the hour of need, conscious of a refuge somewhere in existence; who go when they like; of whom we can never get instead focuses on how extraordinary it must be to have the powe r to do so.
23 Africa. Her endless tales of exciting safaris lure the reader into believing in a commercialized Africa that only exists as a home to exotic animals compliant content n in a primitive, foreign l and, and the tragic loss of her lover and eventual loss of her farm allows readers to empathize with Blixen and appreciate her plight as a woman who only wishes to bring p A European audience, particularly at the tim e of its off East; they might have even likened her work to a modern day fairy tale complete with savage beasts, adventure, timeless romance, etc. For these reasons, it is a pparent why Thiong remain vigilant against literature that colonizes. Thus, Blixen must be remembered for her role as a female colonizer rather than a s a literary heroine.
24 Chapter Two : The Female Colonizer and Third World Woman Wide Sargasso Sea In the introduction to her seminal manifesto The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir c ites classic misogynistic sentiments from both Aristotle and St. Th omas. Aristotle he female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities; we should regard the female nature as afflicte (qtd. in de Beauvoir De Beauvoir posits that, by submi tting to Other who, in defining [herself] as the Other, establishes the One [man]. The Other is missive female allows man to establish himself as the constant, or the One, and since she cannot be equal to him, the female is the variable, the opposite: the Other. It is this concept of woman as Other that I wish to further investigate in this chapter subjugated by the patriarchal male but also to the colonized and oppressed Third World woman I wish to examine Wide Sargasso Sea and demonstrate that
25 Rhys presen t s her a s a woman who, although a descendant of a slave holding family, is portrayed as an Othered wom an forced into an arranged, patriarchal marriage Antoinette resists the marriage, but eventually must concede because she realizes that her desires are not valued by her domineering step brother. In this chapter, I will dual role as colonizer and oppressed female, as well as her st ruggle for agency. Antoinette feels ostracized because she is a white Creole in a former slave holding family inhabiting a Jamaican estate Additionally, Antoinette is forced to relinquish command over her life and the narrative; s he begins as the narrator or the Self of the novel, but becomes the object and Other, while her husband asserts control over the narrative and, into imperialism but a victim of oppression herself, Antoinette seeks to recover agency in a society where she has little; however, her reclaiming of the narrative at the close of the novel suggests that Antoinette also reclaims her Self. Additionally, I argue that Christophine, the formerly enslaved and t herefore Although a servant to Christophine asserts agency through her actions and final speech to the Rochester figure. One must especially consider her forthright speech to Rochester confused status as white/woman/Other. Christophine tells Rochester that A not b k like you, but she is b k that Christophine refers to Antoinette as b k (white) bec and remarks that Antoinette is unlike Rochester because Christophine clearly dislikes
26 him, whereas she cares deeply for Antoinette. However, Christophine might also use the word b k to imply that Antoinette is neither white nor black, again reinforcing Antoi I contend that Christophine is a strong woman and agent despite her servant status in the colony and explore how she defines her colonial identity Based on historical colonization and slavery in Jamaica during the ninete enth century, Wide Sargasso Sea As a young girl, Antoinette cannot fully understand the effects of colonization. She wonders why her family receives no visitors, and asks her mother why many of their servants have left the plantation. Antoinette also worries that Christophine, her nurse and surrogate mother, will leave like m any of the other former slaves, for Christophine is outraged over the apprenticeship system 7 that replaced slavery : laugh thing. They got magistrate. They got fine. They got jail house and chain gang. They got han old ones more cunning, 8 Despite her lack of full comprehension of the effects of colonialism, 7 were not paid for their labor. Enslaved under this new form of slavery masked as an apprenticeship, slaves worked for free and their owners still received compensation (9). the Jamaicans feel animosity towards the Coswa ys, as well as why they eventually riot and set fire to the Cosway estate. 8 came to the West Indies to take advantage of the depressed sugar market and to buy the est ates and plantations being cheaply sold were often tortured and punished worse than when they were slaves, which accounts for as well as for her description of the tread machine. The treadmill machine, one such torture device, consisted of frame that held a wooden cylinder with steps carved in it (resembling a larger and elongated
27 Antoinette is well aware that her family members as former slave owners and white Creoles, remain perpetual outsiders in the land and t o its inhabitants any strange negro. They hated us. They called us white coc kroaches. Let sleeping dogs lie. Growing up in a liminal state proves confusing for Antoinette because she cannot define her Self in relation to her family or her black caregivers and friends. When playing with her Jamaican friend Tia one day, Antoinette lo ses three pennies in what she de ems an unfair bet. Upset and embarrassed over her loss Antoinette calls labeling people nothing but white nigger now, and b dress home that day. The contrast between s crisply starched, new dress and as wel compared response to her win ning makes clear the class and race chasm between the two friends. Although Tia is corr ect with regards to the Cosway family than her friend Antoinette. By forcing Antoinette to literally wear a symbol of poverty, Tia simultaneously challenges Antoinette to consider her status as a white Creole and daughter of a former slave owne r amongst the colonized Jamaicans and European colonizers. Wide Sargasso Sea paddle wheel on a steam boat). With their hands tied to a bar above their heads, laborers were forced to turn the wheel of the treadmill by walking on the steps (Raiskin 96).
28 set up the barrier of racial hatred between herself and her friend, Antoinette loses Tia 440 41 next (and last) encounter oc curs on the night that the protestors s et fire to the Coulibri estate. Scared and refusing to believe that she must leave her home forever, Antoinette I saw th e jagg ed stone in her hand but I did not see her throw it. I did not feel it either, tears on hers. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak s (250). Both Fayad and Spivak focus on Tia as Other, and both seem to suggest that Antoinette consciously subjugates her companion as Other; certainly Tia as well as the other servants, represent Othered individuals, yet I contend that cannot (and is not intended to) compare to the brutal op pression of the Jamaican slaves; nonetheless, Rochester will establish himself as the Self and Antoinette as the silenced Other after they marry, and perhaps Antoinette glimpses her future role as an Othered Neither Engl ish nor Jamaican, Antoinette, as maintained by Benita Parry, is In addition to no sense of place, Antoinette lacks a defined identity; while her home, the Coulibri estate, becomes
29 dilapidated because the Cosways have no money to repair the leaks and other damages, lso deteriorates. Antoinette has no recollection of the plantation during times of slavery, and only remem post E mancipation anxiety Of Annette, Antoinette writes, [S]he pushed me away, not roughly but calmly, coldl y, without a word, as if she had decided once and for all that I was useless to her. She wanted to sit with old enough to lo after I knew that she talked aloud to h erself I was a little afraid of her. (11) Distance continues to grow between Antoinette and Annette, for Annette dotes on mentally and physically challenged. After Annette remarries Mr. Mason, a wealthy E nglish colonizer who owns estates in Trinidad and Antigua, A n nette continues to express concern over the Jamaican former slaves who ster e otypical and the myth of the mother country prove destructive, for the Jamaicans eventually protest against the colonizers Pierre dies as a result. Only a short time prior to the attack, Ant oinette holds her brother failing to recognize that England is ironically responsible for the strife within her family By
30 marrying plantation owners, Annette continues the cycle of colonialism within her own family and exposes Antoinette and Pierre to the harsh rea lities of colonized individuals who rebel against the colonizers for both their rights and land In part one of the novel, Antoinette only repeats what others say of Cosway, her prior to drinking himself to death (17). figure and, as such, asserts himself as the patriarchal head of th e family. Fayad contends us into the basic problems of the self ( 438 ily as the point when Antoinette begins to feel subjugated. Mason, along with his son Richard, will eventually arrange for Antoinette to be married to the English Rochester figure, even though Antoinette objects to the union. After Antoinette becomes a young woman of seventeen while living in a convent, her stepfather removes her from the care of the nuns and assures her that some claims, Antoinette asks whether he tr uly believes that the visitors will come, to which he may have been After the conversatio n, Antoinette dreams of following a man into the forest. She ing ] with difficulty, following the man who is with me and holding up him, sick with f
31 looks at me, his face black with hatred hat they must stop evolves i nto a demand. When speaking to one of the nuns the following day, Antoinette re calls the dream as a vision of h ell. For Antoinette, the man in the dream represents her betrothed and she follows him to her nuptial bed, and subsequently to her loss of inn oce nce. The white dress symbolizes both a wedding gown and a sign of chastity; Antoinette insists on keeping the dress clean until eventually she allows it to drag on the ground and become dirty 9 the man, which represents her realization that she has no choice in the arranged marriage. She likens the marriage to h ell, an image that foreshadows the fire that will eventually As noted by many critics, Antoinette is not only forced into submission through the arranged marriage, but she is also silenced after marrying Rochester, for he takes c ontrol of the narrative for the majority of part two of the novel. Lee Erwin aptly argue s narrative is now ended, having reached i t s proper nineteenth 146 ). An retelling of her history becomes the only means through which she can maintain her identity; 9 After their marriage, Rochester is particularly fond of a white dress that Antoinette owns. On the night that Rochester confron over one shoulder and seemed to o and Antoinette are strangers to one another, and this strained relationship only worsens after Daniel reveals that he is an illegitimate child former relationship s with a Jamaican slave and thereby brother. The whit secret past.
32 relinquish her physical life to the demands of her stepfather and stepbrother but must furthermore abandon the only aspect of existence over which she has control: her writing. Still, Rhys simultaneously presents the character of Rochester as a man with reduced itics have labeled Rochester in Charlotte Bront Jane Eyre but Rhy s purposefully never gives a name to (Rhys qtd. in Raiskin 38). Fayad believes husband is free from objectification by naming and also by not being named he becomes omnipotent, the god 443 ). However, I also suggest that Rhys gives the Rochester figure no identifying name because she wishes to subvert the traditional colonizer/colonized and patri archal male/submissive female roles; as a representation of the English colonizer and dominant husband Rochester would be expected to exert power over the Jamaicans and his new wife. He attempts to do so by his sexual fantasies with both Antoinette and one of the servant girls Amlie represent the ma t). Although Rhys makes clear the struggle for agency experienced by both the Jamaica n ex slaves and the colonial Creole, she also Wide Sargasso Sea focuses primarily on the woman er need for validation in a colonial society; male characters appear minor in relation to the women in the novel. Cosway, dead before the novel begins, only receives recogniti on through the gossip of
33 others; h is family members (with the exception of Daniel) scarcely acknowledge him. Similarly, both the Mason men all but disappear from the narrative and are only mentioned in passing after part one Rochester, although given authority over the vanishes once Antoinette reclaims the narrative. O f course, he also has no true identity beca use he has no name and no past, a point Antoinette, and I saw Antoinette drifting out of the window (106 07). Rochester is a static emblematic chara cter who merely encompa sses the stereotypical attributes of the European colonizer and patriarchal male. In the same way that Mason refers to the as child like, Rochester views Antoinette as a (56). Conversely, Antoinette and Christophine, Jamaican slave turned servant respectively, remain at the forefront of the text and prove t hemselves to be strong women despite the oppressive societies in which they must live Conversely, critics such as Spivak contend that Christophine appears subsidiary because, after her final speech to Rochester, she vanish es from the remaining entirety of the narrative. Spivak of the story, with neither narrative or chara Furthermore, Spivak refers to Wide Sargasso Sea as a novel which rewrites a canonical English text within the European novelistic tradition in the interest of the whit e Creole (253). Spiv ak perspective critical of imperialism can turn the Other into a self, because the project of imperialism has always already historically refracted what might have been the absolutely Other into a domesticated Wide
34 Sargasso Sea claims and Parry conversely female, individual Self who defies the demands of the discrim inatory discourses her as domesticated Other, and asserts herself as articulate antagonist of patriarchal, (248). With regards to Christophi from the novel, Parry judges the exit both natural and commonsensical, relying on the ( 249). I hesitate to fully agre e or disagree with either scholar in the novel. The narrative structure of Wide Sargasso Sea readers only gain the perspectives of Antoinette and Rochester. Furthermore, Rhys construction since the novel rewrites (or, in effect, writes) the story of the madwoman in s novel. However, I do agree with Parry in t self by the end of her honeymoon with Rochester. As n oted by Parry, Christophine, in her oppressor, as well as his money inspired motives: come to your house in this place England if ul house to beg you to marry house
35 beg her to marry. And she love you and she give you all she have. Now love her and you break her up. What you do with her money, eh? Her vo ice was still quiet but with a hiss in it when she said handsome dowry of 30,000 pounds. Knowing the amount of money at stake, Christophine exposes the unjustnes s of the arranged marriage; Antoinette never had a choice in the matter and, even after forcing herself to love Rochester, h er unrequited love forces her to leave, mockin gly assuring her that she can write to Antoinette. Upon her (97). A formerly vision of woman as Object and Other, and perhaps her last statement refers to this white Creole in a Jamaican society married to an Englishman Antoinette further loses who is also neither entirely black Jamaican nor white In his narrative, Rochester reduces Antoinette to a mere m ad woman, but fails to concede that his own imperial attitudes have caused specifically reveal her understanding of what Rochester calculatedly ignores. te returns as the narrator and fi nishes her story as the captive Thornfield Hall. In
36 mad. She takes notice of s mall details in her attic room, such as the absence of any mirrors, and carefully observes the behaviors of Grace Poole, the woman who oversees Antoinette and guards against her escaping the attic prison. Aside from bouts of temporary amnesia, Antoinette appears acute, for she is aware of her surroundings and circumstances. She visits Antoinette, but o Rochester, to which Antoinette responds by attacking Richard with a knife (109). and the patriarchal arrangement is clear, for he interfered with h er life when he sold her to Rochester in the arranged marriage, but he refuses to aid her According to Fayad his tory of patriarchy, the well being of man depends on the reduction of woman to a ghost 43 8 ). Both Richard and Rochester succeed in reducing Antoinette to a ghost who becomes invisible The visitors to the house also refer to her as a ghost because, after Grace Poole fall s momentarily escape her secluded prison. By this same means, Antoinette sets forth to end which Antoinette sees herself setting fire to Thornfield Hall, Antoinette takes u p a candle brought here and what I have to do. There must have been a draught for the flame flickered and I thought it was out. But I shielded it with my hand and it bur ned up again
37 s home and thus undermine his power over her. Additionally, she will free herself from oppression, e ven if through proves that the sanity of institutionalized patriarchy is self destructive, for repression and suppression will burn it up from withi She is a representative of our constant, long struggle against suppression in a Fayad 450; 452 ). In her final vision before the close of the novel, Antoinette dreams of calling out to helped. There was a wall of fire for Antoinette could have asked for help from a number of relatives or friends from the past; however, she calls to Christophine, the mother figure and savior who has shared in Antoinette seems to also see herself in Christophine. Although their relationship began as a result of colonization, Ant oinette and Christophine both experience the life altering effects of colonialism and marginalization. Additionally, both attempt to reestablish themselves through language, as Christophine exposes Rochester and Antoinette reclaims her story. To close, I r the inessent ial, Antoinette resolves to change her circumstances. Although she dies in the process, Antoinette, if only briefly, regains agency and becomes the essential, the agent, and the Self rather than Othered woman.
38 Chapter Three : The Female Colonizer and Androgynous Agent in Tayeb Season of Migration to the North In her introduction to Season of Migration to the North, Laila came into being in Egypt starting in the late nineteenth Nahda were usually men who had gone on their own migrations to the north and return ed Season differs from other Nahda novels not only in its depiction of the dangers of European modernity, but also in its presentation of sexually u ninhibited characters: eas Nahda writers might have shied away from discussing sexuality openly, Salih lets his male characters gossip about their sexual escapades, and includes a woman in the In addition to diverging from Nahda novels, Season differs f rom the novels analyzed in this thesis because it inverts the traditionally depicted pattern of a European oppressing an African ; manipulates and controls four European women when he travels to E ngland to purs ue an education However, these women must also be implicated for their willingness to Unlike the female colonizers in Out of Africa and Wide Sargasso Sea the European women based colonization; yet Ann Hammond, Sheila Greenwood, Isabella Seymour, and Jean Morris all participate
3 9 in the ex ploitation of Mustafa and emulate rather than constitute colonizers who act upon despotic desires of exoticism. Season is the only one of the four novels that I discuss of women. Salih might seem disparate in relation to the other works in this thesis since they are authored by women and focus on colonizing or subjuga ting practices of women ; to this discussion for several reasons. First, Season inverts the conventional role of colonizer/colonized individuals by showing the devastating effects of colonization through an African as he all ows and encourages sexual exploitation by four separate European women. I they allow Mustafa to elicit their dangerous obsession with the non European or the exotic, but they are also made to be and hence Othered ) in his ability to utilize their European to his disturbing advantage. Each woman ic ritualistic suicide) due to her psychological despair over her role as a female colonizer of Mustafa. Second, Season exposes the Sudanes e female tribe members as women who are Othered by fellow tribesmen; the se women are expected to submit to arranged m arriage and male dominance of the patriarchal tribe. However, two Sudanese women, Bint Majzoub and Hosna Bint Mahmoud, claim agency in this male centered society through their ability to capaci ty to kill, etc.), and I argue that these androgynous women serve as agents even though their culture certainly disavows empowered women. I find this discussion significant because, from a feminist
40 perspective, androgyny is one of the key components to dec onstructing stereotypical male and female gender roles, as well as the objectified, Othered woman. In recounting his life story to the unnamed narrator, Mustafa admits to seducing his European lovers by calculatedly eliciting their colonizing desires re ferring to these desires as still pool [s] in the depths of every woman that I knew how to stir (27). When spe aking of Ann H ammond, a young college student Mustafa labels her as his prey who and further adds, In her eyes, I was a symbol of all her hankerings (27). Through his manipulative speech and cunning design of his bed chambers, Mustafa leads Ann into a fantasy world surrounded by African incense, statues, and other purposefully pla ced decorations and, in this fabricated realm, Ann fulfills the role of slave to her male master. When retelling his story to the narrator, Mustafa remembers Ann though inton smell of you in full the smell of rotting leaves in the jungles of Africa, the smell of the mango and the pawpaw and tropical spices, the smell of (118). Ann Mustafa proves too disturbing, for she eventually commits navet ; she is young and susceptible to the influence of an educated, attr active, older man such as Mustafa. Certainly, these factors could logically account for playing and perverse to the defense argument when he goes on trial for the murders of not only Ann Hammond, but also Sheila Greenwood, Isabella Seymour, and Jean Morris. Professor Foster Keen maintains
41 germ of a de Through his reference to an age old disease, the professor implies that European colonization and the quest for power relat ionship with a man who served as a physical manifestation of their mental fixation on the taboo of the East. 10 Still, argument Mustafa believes himself to be responsible for the deaths of the women, and he compares his mind that serves as a metaphor to describe the ways in Mustafa knows that his s the one responsibl e for seducing them into embracing their obsessions Nouha Homad not an act of tenderness but one of Certainly, one can not based on love or even lust. As Homad arg ues, Mustafa seeks to free himself and his people from the colonial ties of their pasts. Perhaps Mustafa believes that, as a member of 10 Paradoxically, Mustafa later describes how Professor Foster Keen show ed prejudice towards Keen was a member of the Supreme Committee for the Protestant Missionary Societies in Africa. Mustafa quotes the best example of the fact that our civilizing mission who b brutality. Mustafa never explains why the professor comes to his defense in court, but implies that the professor is a hypocrite who only wishes to win the case rat her than one who cares about his client.
42 a formerly colonized Sudanese tribe, his mind is the only part of his identity that remains whole; as an African man livi ng in and attempting to assimilate to Western European colonizers wit h the only weapon that he owns : his cunning, his mind. a knife becomes manifest when Mustafa pursues Jean for three years and during that time suffe rs from her violent verbal and physical attacks; Based on an abusive and tumultuous relationship shared between the couple, the marriage lacks love or companio nship. Jean lies to her husband, while committing adultery frequently and blatantly. She also denies Mustafa any sexual pleasure, an act that places her in direct en (134). Unlike previous three girlfriends, Jean refuses to submit to h er control. Instead, she seemingly holds the power in the marriage, for Mustafa reversal that places him as the colonized, abused individual, Mustafa resorts to mur der with an extant rather than emblematic knife: Here are my ships my darling, sailing towards the shores of destruction. I leant over and kissed her. I put the blade edge between her breasts and she twined her legs round my back. Slowly I pressed down. Sl owly. She opened her eyes. What
43 thought you would never do this. I almost gave up the dagger with my chest until it had all disappeared between her breasts. (13 6) of the invading culture, which had taught him to look up to it, to venerate it, while this very deed liberates him in the eyes of Jean Morris, making him at last worthy of her I n a final symbolic act representative of his revenge against the colonizer, Mustafa murders his wife in a perverse sexual encounter that seemingly fulfills a desire of Jean Morri s She appears to welcome her death and embrace it as if she has longed for Mustafa to prove himself by killing her. She kisses the dagger that will take her life, and at the climax of their final sexual act, Jean begs for Mustafa to come because she is ready now (136). The double entendre here is clear, bu t Jean seems to refer to being ready for death rather than pleasure for Mustafa proceeds to stab Jean through the heart after her request. Having used his mind and body to mentally and physically control four European women who represent the female coloni zer, Mustafa subverts the long held seat of power present in the West and female colonizers are the female protagonists of the novel, Bint Majzoub and Hosna Bint Mahmoud, the latter being marries after moving back to Africa and settling in the village of Wad Hamid. Both Bint Majzoub and Hosna represent Othered women who must submit to the laws of the patriarch y In the village, women are vie wed as property to be bartered and sold into marriages that are always arranged by the male suitor and father of the betrothed female.
44 (83). Living in a society that clearly demarcates the male and female power structures, both Bint Majzoub and Hosna are resilient female characters who rise above the male dom ination present in their village. The patriarchal society in which Bint Majzoub and Hosna live expects women to practice chaste behavior, to agree to arranged marriages, and to ultimately play the role of the submissive wife. Marilyn French presents the concept of inlaw and outlaw feminine principles, arguing for the classification of the aforementioned type of woman under the inlaw feminine principle. French expression of the benevolent manifestations of subordination [and] voluntary relinquishment of power in the transcendence, nor the need for it. However, its in law side is pressed into the service of Bint Majzoub and Hosna do not exist within the realm of the inlaw feminine; rather, they are better understood as occupant s the outlaw feminine: The outlaw aspect flesh, the sinister, magic, and above all, sexuality. It is outlaw because it is su bversive, undermining of the b irth and the ability to kill, both of which actua as abandonment. (23)
45 In a village where women are expected to live according to feminine, Bint Ma j z oub conspicuously behaves like the male friends with whom she engages on a regular basis. The narra tor emphasizes when he comments on her conversations with other men for she participates [ s ] 64). Bint discusses husbands from her previous eight marriages and describes in detail how they pleasured her during sex Bint Majzoub nappropri ate, nor do they treat her as a subordinate. Through her expressions and embracing of claims chal laws that force women to remain silent and submissive. Additionally, Bint Majzoub can be characterized as an androgynous woman, thereby further allowing her to assert herself as an agent. In her introduction to Toward a Recognitio n of Androgyny condition under which the characteristics of the sexes, and the human impulses expressed by men and women, are not rigidly assigned. Androgyny seeks to liberate the individual from the confines of the suggests a spectrum upon which human beings choose their places without regard to xi). Certainly, Bint Majzoub represents a woman who refuses to successfully positions herself as a powerful village woman who serves as an equal to
46 men. Bint Majzoub y negates custom devoid of any power. 11 Like Bint Majzoub, Ho sna Bint Mahmoud also embodies an androgynous agent in the patriarchal begins to pursue the recently widowed Hosna because he wants to take her as his second imately forty years her senior; how Wad, she is forced into the arranged marriage. The narrator learns from Bint Majzoub about the atrocities that occur after Wad and Hosna are married for two short weeks. Bint Majzoub d what he wanted the poor man was on the verge of madness; two weeks with the woman without her speaking to h im o (103). She further elaborates on the situation, and reveals that the screams were actually those of pain, for Wad assaulte d Hosna in attempts to rape her. As realizing the circumstances, Bint Majzoub reveals the shocking scene to the narrator: The red straw mat was swimming in blood. I raised the lamp and saw that every s body was covered in bites and scratches her stomach, thighs, and neck. The nipple of one breast had been bitten through and 11 more of beauty than of in laughter (8). Bint Majzoub shows strength and claims agency through her androgyny, while
47 Rayy es had been stabbed more than ten times in his stomach, chest, face, and between [Hosna] lying on her back with t he knife plunged into her heart. (104 05) The chilling aftermath of the attack proves that, similar to Bint Majzoub, Hosna occupies the realm of the outlaw feminine Although she is forced into a marriage with which she against s brutality and perhaps against the male centered society as a whole; trates Wad and positions him as female. Hosna also proves herself as an androgynous woman; a ccording to competitive, controlling, vigorous, unsentimental, and occasionally violen equals tender, genteel, intuitive rather than rational, passive, unaggressive, readily given In her fight asserts herself as active rather than passive, agg ressive rather than pliant and powerful rather than submissive. She knows that she cannot escape from the forced marriage through any other means than death and she is willing to commit suicide in order to escape. Like each eestablish agency and ultimately liberates her from the status as an Othered woman. rior to a discussion of future village rituals surrounding the arranged marriage. However, whether or not Hosna
48 might make the village males reconsider before forcing anot her of their women into There is no power and no strength save in God has happened in the village since God created it ( 10 2). Having never witnessed a woman rise up against a man in self defense, the grandfather and other villagers are in a complete state of bewilderment over the murder and suicide. With the exception of the narrator, the villagers blame Hosna for her actions but no one implicate s Majzoub (106). Homad finds Bint Majzoub her as a free spirit to sympathize with Hosna in her attempt to establish her worth as equal to that of men. Yet one cannot condemn her out of hand since she is the product of t Majzoub by tribal custom androgyny ; having embraced other traditional male roles, Bint Majzoub also endorses the s male elde rs Additionally, acknowledge the fact, he becomes (63). to marry a man old enough to be her father, but is also due to her familiarity with
49 Western custom since her for seem plausible, but she does not consider that, to fully embrace Western values, Hosna would also have to disavow polygamy, another marriage tradition in Wad Homid. Rather than marry Wad Rayyes, Hosna insists on marrying the narrator (who secretly loves her even though he is married to another woman). One can argue that, even though he loves her, the narrator never takes Hosna as a second wife due to his own Western conditioning after attending college in Europe; yet, it remains unclear the West completely accounts for her reaction to Wad Rayyes, for she is willing to become the second wife of the narrator in order to avoid the arranged marriage. T his chapter suggests that Mustafa engages in dual roles of both oppressor/exploiter and colonized. Geesey notes that some critics, such as Ali Abdallah is to fall into against the women and ulti the source Mustafa and the women with colonizing attitudes who m he takes as lovers. Referencing the The Tempest and the commonly cited Caliban and Prospero trope, Sylvia Wynter expounds on the effects of colonization and argues is an assault against all culture which accepts s attempted rape [is] Certainly, Wynter does not mean to condon e attempted rape, but she a ims and a gency. She further asserts that characters in postcolonial novels who fail in their
50 failures, for Wynter towards men and women of West Indian novels, applies to any postcolonial figure who, in the words of lawyer Professor Foster engenders the appropriation of the colonized identity and contorts this i dentity into the fetish for exoticism, a fixation that can render deadly results. Furthermore, the novel emphasizes the oppressed empowers himself through his sexual prowess, attempting to assert himself as more than a Sudanese man of a formerly colonized society; however, in the process he loses sight of the Self he seeks, and becomes involved in a perverse marriage that ends in murder. Perhaps a more hopeful glimpse into the future of the tribe would be found in Hosna and Bint Majzoub; as marginalized women, both seek to challenge the authority of the patriarchal laws of the tribe, and, although tragically Hosna succeeds in reclaiming her agency and retaliating against her oppres s ors.
51 Chapter Four : T he Female Colonizer and Agency Recovery The Chosen Place, The Timeless People The Chosen Place, The Timeless People reveals the complications implicit in colonialism and neocolonialism, as well as in the relationship between the female colonizer and colonized female In this novel, an American an thropological development team travel s to the fictional island of Bourne to improve the living conditions in the poor, rural area o f Bournehills. Marshall portrays Saul Amron respectively, as good natured, reputable men who truly mean to non invasively aid the people of Bournehills. woman w ho is ideologically aligned with a colonizer and find s the Bournehillsians backwards and unappreciative l degeneration readers glimpse colonizing attitudes towards the islanders early in the novel. Shortly after their houses on They were awful, Saul; worse, I think than (146). Saul immediately reacts unfavorably towards his wife, reminding her that the Bournehillsi ans do not choose to live in poverty Harriet vehemently denies implying
52 such ; however, Saul fears that rather than mere ignorance, represent a deeper and perhaps more disconcerting meaning (146 47). Similar to most ac counts of colonizers who claim oses Harriet as believing herself to be aiding body whenever one of the members of the community touches her in passing, and, after relationship is particularly interesting because the coloniz er leads the colonized to empowerment; after their final encounter when Merle realizes that Harriet attempts to subjugate her, Merle finally faces her past, forgives herself, and begins a new life as the novel ends with her journey to find her estranged hu sband and daughter. Harriet also accepts her past and relationship to former slave traders, as well as inherent discriminatory attitudes, yet her acceptance and r ealization of her identity lead to a drastically her own life after realizing that she holds no power over Merle 12 Although the colonized female may never be able to return to her pre colonization identity, I contend that she may attempt to construct a new identity (undoubtedly forever changed by coloni zation) and rebuild an independent life. I maintain that Marshall challenges the traditional role of the colonizer and also portrays a 12 here is not original; however, I hope to add to the scholarship by more specifically focusing on the contrast between Merle and Harriet as they both face their i mperial pasts, and I devote a aim agency after being Othered by two females.
53 becomes the silenced, submissive woman who, in contrast to the woman she tries to rule, cannot rise above her situation and submits to suicide because she knows that she cannot (and has no desire to) change. discus confronting the past, both in personal and historical terms, and the necessity of reve rsing her present and future, and Marshall emphasizes this theme throughout Chosen A diasporic community, Bournehills commemorates Cuffee Ned, the leader of their annual production includes the reenacted death of Percy Bryam, the head estate owner and colonizer murdered by the Bournehillsians in the Pyre Hill Revolt. When r elating to Saul and Harriet the story of Cuffee and the slave revolt, Merle reminds the new visitors that Bournehills owes much to its past observing, strangers to Bournehills mad sterday comes like to (102). ournehills repudiate most forms of modernization. Perhaps the Bournehillsians associate technological progress
54 with Western ideals and refuse advancements based on the historical resistance against European enslavement bility to corrupt, educated young men, dies in a car accident in 46) and, as the perhaps out of a profoundly self destructive impulse within th e machine itself, and Vere, foolishly allowing himself to be taken in by what he had believed was its promise of seduces and then destroys Vere, Marshall reiterates the dan gers complicit in embracing Western values, as well as the oppressive and callous nature of the colonizer. isconnect from her family; this disconnect subsequently forms a chasm between Merle and her identity. k women who worked on his estate at the age of seventy Despite his marriage to a white woman, Ashton Vaughan impregnates a sixteen year old young black woman named Clara who gives birth to Merle. Clara is murdered when Merle is only two years o ld, and, Merle renounces her father due to his lack of involvement in her life, as well as his apathetic ul, Merle
55 Vaughan as her father: e a father who never said o be his favorite out of all the women he kept at the time, was murdered in cold blood?...And Ashton Vaughan never even tried to find out who did it. Maybe because he knew the Backra woman he was married to was behind it. No, bo, that man was no father of mi rational person would expect a toddler of two years old to remember and recognize the existent relat ionship with her father coupled with th e untimely death of her mother, perpetuates a loss of self, for she cannot relate to her sordid past that stems from the effects of colonization. Lle Demirtrk develops efine her self, contending that and daugh ter compound her identity crisis eath, benefactress she met while attending college in England. As in her childhood,
56 im enslave and exploit Merle similar to the way in which a colonizer would keep a colonized female mistress. Merle bitterly recou She mostly used the mone y to buy foolish people like me. She collected people the way someone else might paintings and later adds, like some queen bee in that big drawing room of hers while we buzzed and fa wned (328 29). After completely breaking ties with the woman, Merle meets and marries Ketu; however, the benefactress begins to mail Merle checks after much time pas ses. Although Merle immediately sends back the money at first, her independence weakens after she becomes pregnant; she resorts to cashing some of the checks to help with the expenses accompanying the n ew baby. To further debase Merle the Englishwoman sen ds a messenger to inform Ketu of the previous affair and recently accepted money. Armed with letters, photos, and proof of the cashed checks, the messenger proves believable, and rl. Admitting her role as exploited Merle to [Ketu] any longer, a person, his wife, the mother of his child, but the very thing he had tr Merle continues to wear a pair of heavy saint engraved earrings that the European woman p ersecution, but also of her failed marriage. Although she was victimized by a female oppressor Merle blames herself for the estranged relationship between herself and Ketu,
57 y sserts that Merle must negotiate and transcend her past in order to release the bonds of colonization that have that between colonizer and colonized on her body and, more importantly, in he (175). After framing the chapter attempts to repress inherent colonizing attitudes. On the plane ride to Bourne Island, e memory was innocuous enough, she was irritated with herself for having allowed it to slip past her guard. She decision to avoid her past reveals aspects of her chara cter, as well as her family history. ation, then, as Harriet likens Bournehills s original grandfather Duncan Vaughan, the plantation settle r who owned and fathered many
58 also a symbol of contemporary neocolonial relationships between America/Europe and the Caribbean Unable to avoid the sight of Bourne Isl and from above, Harriet senses a foreboding feeling when she subsequently spies Bournehills from her aerial view: It struck her as being another world altogether, one t hat stood in profound contradistinction to the pleasant reassuring green add to e of the shadows Bournehills scarcely seemed a physical place to her, but some mysterious an d obscured region of the mind which ordinary consciousness did not dare admit to l ight. (21) completely forcing the thought from her mind, a method that accentuates H r deceased relatives so that she might forget a past deeply rooted in colonialism. Like Merle, Harriet descends from a family of slave traders; ironically and disturbingly, the Center for Applied Social Research or CASR, the agency funding the Bournehill s development project, branched from a company originally created by trading families. A descendant of one such family, Harriet
59 projects. Mar small scale speculation in the West Indies trade, which in those days consis ted o making the twice yearly run between Philadelphia, the west coast of Africa, and then b ack across the Atlantic to the islands. In a stained, faded ledger still to be seen in a glass display case at the Historical Society, the widow had kept careful account in a neat, of slaves taken on in Guinea and then just how much her por tion of that cargo, both human and otherwise, had brought in crude sugar, rum and molasses in the islands. (37 38) One cannot directly blame Harriet fo the slave trade just as one cannot blame Merle for descending from colonizers; however, Harriet, as much as she tries to repress her past, embodies and exhibits the colonizing and prejudiced traits of her relative Susan Har Bournehills elicits and makes evident her role as a neo colonist Meyer suggests that what has wished an d tried to put this part of her past behind her, it has clearly continued to Many acts thoughts, and words reflect a race based aversion to the Bournehillsians, as well as a disparaging position towards their glanced down somewhat disconcertedly at that black hand, she had had the
60 impress and 97). Later remembering the feelings of disco submerged part of herself, painful aspects of herself she denied existed. She could not 96). In the dark recesses of her mind, Harriet knows that she cannot escape her colonizing past by simply donating money to the CASR, and the symbol of her corrupted thoughts resurface in the form of the imagined stain on her skin. Black skin repulses Harriet, and she associates blackness with a curse. She observes the light colored soles of ad once believed the fairies had turned [Alberta] black childish thoughts must be considered exactly as such since they were formed in her childhood; however, one also real and her someone li sleeping with a black woman than the act of infidelity itself, Harriet invokes her childlike
61 visions of blackness as corrupt and evil; in doing so, she reveals her true identity. Plac ed in direct contradistinction to the black community of Bournehills, Harriet reminds us of her white colonizer descendant, for Marshall describes the portrait of Susan Harbin as ing gloom colored Anglo American female colonizer who, like her ancestor, believes her whiteness to be superior. al effects of an act reminiscent of the European benefactress as well as slave holders Upon first meeting Harriet, Merle recognizes a familiarity in her, and we la ter understand this recognition to represent the English benefactress Merle first sees Harriet in the drawing the European woman found entertainment from her lovers. Merle (71). Merle never fully trusts Harriet from their first encounter and forward because, in Harriet, she recognizes the same imperial force that ruined her marriage and, in essence, her life 13 After Harriet learns of the affair betwe en Saul and Merle and offers to pay 13 In a personal interview with Joyce Pettis, Marshall discusses her characterization of Harriet and rriet permits me to find a means by which Merle will finally be able to
62 realizes that Harriet signifies her former calls to mind the various gifts that the European woman offered Merle in order to keep her under control. Harriet also suggests that Merle return to England, a suggestion that serves as the final catalyst like a woman in labor with a stillborn child, who screa ms to rid herself of that dead (439 attached itself like an incubus to her mind, sapping h er strength and purpose over the here as a stillbirth. She seeks a securely colonial, maternalistic relation with Merle, but 37). Merle asserts herself in an act of defiance, refusing to leave Bo urnehills and telling Harriet, stay I will. Right here (442). It is also interesting to note miscarriages she experienced in her first marriage. If we equate American way the same pattern of dominance and exploitation that the English woman repre sents
63 expels the through stas is of Bournehills people, to travel to Africa and claim her daughter her true herself, Merle removes the saint earrings, and Saul later notes that she looks order to find her husband and child who live in Uganda. Through her ability to reject the objectified status as Other ed colonized woman, Merle regains both agency and her identity as she traverses the metaphorical and literal landscape of a colonized Bournehills to the freedom that lies beyond and awaits in the form of her family. After Harriet writes to her uncle, the head of the CASR, and convinces him to pull Saul off the Bourne hills project, Saul informs Harriet that their marriage is over. Lacking control over Merle, Saul, and her own life, Harriet submits to suicide. She leaves no representation of her recovered agency, Harriet maintains silence in the last confrontation with her imperial past. On the morning of her suicide, Harriet sees a final image of the morning and night, the light and dark, merging as the night gives way to dawn: They embraced the darkness and the light, so th at when she finally rose and opened out the shutters she had the impression that t he night, bedding down in the great folds of the hills, contained the dawn, and the dawn the darkness. It was as though they were really, a fter all, one and the same,
64 t wo parts of a whole, and that together they stood to acquaint her with an essential truth. (459) that the culture of Bournehills remain s an intrinsic part of her life, for without her the dawn as a representation of the re lationship between Saul and Merle and the implied completeness in their acceptance of one another; Harriet acknowledges that she will never be able to provide Saul with the friendship that he cherishes with Merle. DeLamotte posits an equally viable explana gain power through Saul by gaining p emphasizing that to power she 14 where she presumably d rowns herself, for her body is never recovered. Lloyd Brown passage through whi ch slave traders navigated and transported human cargo years prior. By returning to the violent, unforgiving waters which took the lives of African Caribbean colonizer and accepts defeat. Perhaps as a concluding emblematic image, the sea is 14
65 portrayed toned blue that absorbed the sunlight to a depth far below its surface, looked as though it had been endlessly filtered to remove every impurity. And all the trace of the unsightly seaweed it had sloughed off like so represents the old self that Merle sheds in her transformation from marginalized woman to independent agent. Perhaps the sea also reminds readers of the tranquility that Merle will experience in the quest to reconnect with her family an d, equally important, with her S e lf.
66 Conclusion The works discussed in the thesis differ in many degrees; authors include colonial European, white Creole, and African American women along with a Sudanese m an and the novels range from historical portrayals of colonization to fictive reconstructions of the effects of colonialism, as well as depictions of colonization by both European and American enterprises. To cogently tie these works together, I wish to focus the relationship between the female colonizer and the colonized; how does one implicate a woman for seeking hegemony in a patriarchal culture in which she herself might represent the colonized or oppressed in some instances? How must we negotiate the politics of imperialis questions that scholars continue to debate and for which there are no concrete answers; however, I hope to conclude by focusing on the significance of this enduring debate, as well as by offer ing ways in which we might seek to understand validity without muting her voice of resistance or necessarily advocating for her dominance over (O)thers. Some scholars argue that colonial women occupied an unclear place within the imperial system, for they served as subservient wives and mothers who had no voice
67 when juxtaposed wi th their dominant male husbands, but nonetheless exerted power over the colon ized. Anne McClintock broaches this conversation and concludes : [C] olonial women made none of the direct economic or military decisions oned privileges of race all too often put white women in positions of decided if borrowed power, not only over colonized women but also over colonized men. As such, white women were not the hapless onlookers of empire but were ambiguously complicit both as colonizers and colonized, privileged and restricted, acted upon and acting. (6) Karen Blixen, former wife to a plantation owner and then owner/colonizer herself, represents the colonial woma n to whom McClintock refers; although a woman in a male dominated colony in Kenya, Blixen still held power because she was white and European. Sidonie Smith echoes McClintock and reads Blixen as one who understood her sought to as myself e African culture in more sympathetic ways than the British colonials who assumed their privileges and resists the colonizing tendency to stabilize, explain, judge, and hierarc such as Blixen appropriated the lives and land of indiv iduals because their own oppression necessitated such actions Smith seem s to b
68 should not simultaneously include Othering, for this act only s erves to reinforce and (re)present subordination by means of a female rather than male oppressor. Furthermore, considering that Blixen participated in the colonization of Afric ans, albeit perhaps less harshly or violently than other colonial rulers. I maintain that, unlike Karen Blixen, Wide Sargasso Sea complicit both as colonize[r] and colonized, privileged and restricted, acted upon and is clear rather than blurred; she serves as a land owner of thousands of acres a large group of individuals. Her status as European woman in a patriarchal colony proves i rrelevant when considering her role as an autonomous colonizer rather than a tangential wife to a colonial male. However, born int o a family of colonizers, Antoinette makes no conscious decision to exercise power over others. After becoming a young woman, she continues to keep ex slaves in service to her and Rochester when they honeymoon, but at this point in the novel Antoinette is also in service to her new English husband. I hesitate to compare her to the colonized (as McClintock does in her aforementioned passage), but I do contend that Antoinette suffers at the hands of colonial men who force her to marry against her will and eve ntually force her into confinement. To consider the degree to which Antoinette and Christophine are victims of the dominating male enterprise requires one to engage with the womanist/feminist issues presented in the introduction, for Antoinette is subjugat ed not as a result of her race or class, but as a result of her sex, while Christophine is colonized and oppressed because she is black/woman/Obeah/non European. In her chapter
69 contends ry and postcolonial theory are occupied with similar questions of representation, voice, proves relevant although they experience marginalization differently, both Antoinette and Christophine must assert themselves in societies that consider women as ancillary to men. Season most closely resemble the female colonizer complicit as both exploiter and exploited. The women fall victim to y allowing themselves to succumb to hidden desires for and obsessions with exoticism, the European women also accept the role of the colonizer who seeks to indulge in fantasies of the Other. McClintock also expounds on this phenomenon, contending that era of hi gh Victorian imperialism, Africa and the Americas had become what can be called a porno tropics for the European imagination a fantastic magic lantern of the I return to a poi might affect his interpretation of the Western colonizer and subjugated Sudanese woman Caribbean female character, Salih presents Mustafa as a Sudanese man who has ques tionable ethics and intentions and, furthermore, subverts the traditional role of the European male col onizer and Third World female colonized concubine. In doing so, Salih complicates the role of
70 the colonizer and colonized, as well as exposes the perilous effects of colonialism to all involved regardless of sex. The European women symbolic of female colo nizers degenerate and take their own lives, while Mustafa, too, loses his sense of self and assist s ; whether or not his eventual disappearance and assumed death is a result of his own actions remains a mystery. Additionally, through the character of Hosna, Salih calls into question the patriarchal laws of the Sudanese tribe. Sonia Ghattas with the spirit of Islam raditional values do no more th an perpet uate conditions that and death, one must recognize that she effectively resists the constructs of the patriarchy. Similarly, Rhys and Marshall al low their female colonized characters to assert themselves in postcolonial societies. Merle is the most hopeful character of those discussed in the thesis, for she truly accepts her identity as a female/black/postcolonial individual, and, in both a real an d symbolic journey, sets forth to reclaim her life. Although Harriet has no authority in Bourne and her attitudes and actions liken her to a female colonizer (as opposed to an a ctual colonizer such as Blixen), she still serves as an important reminder that the term postcolonial does not necessarily imply an end to colonial endeavors. s novel warns against neo imperialism masked as development or aid, and also makes clear the long term effects of a colon ial past; these effects are revealed in Harr conflicted feelings towards her slave holding relatives and descendants of the enslaved people of Bournehills. away, and the desire for power still threatens to resurface.
71 Mohanty o ffers a solution to the thorny question of how we should hope to imperialism. I n the introduction to Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism she posits the concept of the imagined community, defining such a community as magined suggests potential alliances and (4). Mohanty further contends that the imagined comm unity is useful because it leads us away from essentialist notions of third world feminist struggles, suggesting political rather than biological or cultural bases for omen of all colors (including white women) can align themselves with and parti cipate in the se imagined communities With regards to the novels discussed in this thesis, the idea of th e imagined community applies to the women of these texts including those who colonize, marginalize, or Other, as well as those who are forced into the role of the colonized. and first wife Jean validity must be overcome not through a perpetuation of the co lonial cycle, but through a sufficient identity apart from man. Rather than focus on female discrimination and subjugation in terms of sex, race, class, or location, the imagined community al lows for a space where women can unite against collective inequity, and therefore prove that they r epresent empowered, individual w omen rather than female colonizers oppressors, or Others.
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