Omparison between two novels with post-colonial theories applied
Assignment for a university course in Post-Colonial Studies (INST-364)
Is Amitav Ghoshas The Glass Palace a novel that rewites colonial narratives about Burma such as George Orwellas Burmese Days? Why? Why not? Make your case using relevant theoretical sources and textual material from both novels. (2000 words)
Once again, this is an argument paper in which you need to narrow down/define the topic, present your position, and support your claim using textual evidence. No library research required.
The Glass Palace (novel) by Amitav Ghosh A© 2000
Burmese Days (novel) by George Orwell
At LEAST a couple (or all of these) peices by post-colonial theorists:
a?Can the Subaltern Speak?a? by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak from Spivakas Toward a History of the Vanishing Present Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999. (*Chapter 4)
a?Resistance, Opposition and Representationa? by Edward W. Said from Culture and Imperialism New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 1993. (*Chapter 16)
a?Post-Colonial Literatures and Counter-Discoursea? by Helen Tiffin from
a?Post-colonial Literatures and Counter-discoursea Kunapipi 9(3), 1987 (*Chapter 17)
a?Cultural Diversity and Cultural Differencesa? by Homi K. Bhabha from a?The Commitment to Theorya New Foundations, 5, 1988. (*Chapter 33)
*Each of these theories were found in their respective chapters in the anthology assigned to the class. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. 2nd Edition. Edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. New York. 2006.
Notes from class that might be helpful in writing the essay (no need to include all):
Define colonial discourse.
Consider the Europeanas perspective of colonialism (perhaps shown in Orwellas novel) vs. the perception of colonialism of the colonialized (perhaps shown in Ghoshas novel)
Ghosh blurrs the boundries between the narrative of history and the narrative of fiction.
Who is speaking for whom??? Ghosh is an outsider but from the region, Orwell was serving the colonialist purpose. Burmese writers have been mostly silenced. However Ghosh is empathetic and understanding.
Discuss conflicts of identity in The Glass Palace.
What are the assumptions we make while reading this novel?
How did Ghoshas familiarity with the work of theorists influence this novel as he wrote it?
Who writes the historical narrative? How do we know what we know as history? How do we understand history and time? Why did the author choose these characters to represent these moments?
How does one manufacture consent? incentives, collusion…
Consider the shifting power dynamics over time in The Glass Palace.
from being autonomous to being a subaltern
from repression to liberation (Dolly)
With the several examples of empowered women in The Glass Palace, are we loosing track of other women who are not empowered subaltern women?
a?cultural appropriationa? of knowledge.
a?imperialism as the highest form of capitalisma? Lenin
Notes on a?Cultural Diversity and Cultural Differencesa? by Homi K. Bhabha
social construct, epistomology of subject/object, an entity, pre-given content
mass of knowledge, system of exchange of sociology, anthropology, history, pre-given context and construct.
process of the annunciation of culture, not directly liked between object and word, process of signification
in the process of understanding, recognizing differences between the new culture one sees/experiences and ones original culture. Other people will view and percieve you differently and your cultural context creates how you percieve different cultures.
a?annunciation of cultural differencea? (both sides inventing their own pasts)
communication is contingent on time, people, and space.
a?anti-essentialisma? no such thing as an essential white culture, or an essential African-American culture