Thursday, May 21, 2009

Postcolonial Fiction

Postcolonial fiction has been one of my favorite types of literature for a long time. A basic definition of postcolonial literature is that it deals with countries that have gained independence from another entity (often from England or France) and the struggles that arise afterwards. Much of this genre deals with areas of the world like India, African nations, the Carribean, and many other countries that were once under rule of another nation. It provides good storytelling with a chance for reflection in what these countries, and people, struggle with after gaining independence.

V.S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas is one of the earliest postcolonial stories. The story is set in Trinidad and follows our lead character, Mahun Biswas, who is literally cursed from birth. He spends the entire story trying to build a house that he can call his own. The story mixes the tragic circumstances surrounding Mr. Biswas with some humorous situations. Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize, is set in India during the 1960's. This setting is not too long after India gained independence in 1947 and shows how families struggled during a time of transition. Perhaps the most famous book of this genre is Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Although it is set in Africa during the initial colonization phase, it has remained one of the most important works of the genre. The story takes place in a small native village and shows how the tribal leaders struggle with the arriving Europeans, who are determined to save the tribe from itself. The main character, Okonkwo, is a noble warrior who refuses to go along with the Europeans and eventually does not see eye to eye with his own tribe.

Visit this website if you are interested in more information on postcolonial literature.

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