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Title: Postcolonial Illuminations of Past Betrayals in Tan's The Gift of Rain and Owuor's Dust
Authors: Gagiano, Annie
Contributors: 文山評論:文學與文化
Keywords: postcolonial ; psychosocial ; betrayals ; histories ; acknowledgement ; (self-)forgiveness
Date: 2019-06
Issue Date: 2020-11-12 14:23:01 (UTC+8)
Abstract: In addressing contemporary developments in theoretical postcolonial studies in tandem with analyses of two twenty-first century postcolonial novels, Tan Twan Eng's The Gift of Rain and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor's Dust, this article attempts to identify growth points in both the discursive and the aesthetic dimensions of postcolonial work. The main focus of the article is on broadly parallel presentations (by a Malaysian and a Kenyan author, respectively) of characters seen as having betrayed anti-imperial or anti-colonial initiatives. Such characters' struggles, years later, to come to terms with shame and guilt for cruelly violent and bloody acts in which they were involved through their close association with particular foreign figures demonstrate both individual and social imperatives to acknowledge historical harms in order to achieve (self-)forgiveness and atonement. The article presents as "new" and as a quality advancing, deepening and maturing understanding of the colonial past and of local collaborators' roles, the novelists' complex, empathetic representation of the betrayer figures-and, to a lesser extent, of the foreigners with whom they had aligned themselves. It is argued that the kind of postcolonial theory most closely commensurable with novels like Tan's and Owuor's is best suited to contribute to improving understanding of the colonial past and the postcolonial present in their baffling complexity. Theorists reading recent postcolonial novels as primarily addressing wealthy or "Western" readerships are by contrast seen as limiting or hampering the literary-critical as well as socio-political grasp of authors' contributions to widening the dimensions of postcolonial work. The novels are viewed as promoting greater historical understanding as well as improving our grasp of the challenges of the postcolonial present, and as memorable works of literary art.
Relation: 文山評論:文學與文化, 12(2), 1-27
Data Type: article
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Appears in Collections:[文山評論:文學與文化 THCI Core] 期刊論文

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