The postcolonial world reveals dependence and ambiguity. When looking upon the dramatic events in the postcolonial society, one could witness its relation to the colonial past. In this respect, it is necessary to figure out whether the newly independent countries gain veritable political and economic freedom. In the following articles, the writers express their own opinions concerning what the term “postcolonial” means for them. All the articles under consideration were brilliant descriptions of how immigrants and residents of the postcolonial countries live together with their “masters”. They highlighted the people’s attitude to the alien traditions and culture and their indignation when Others try to put off the burden of colonialism. The ideas of the papers were greatly influenced by the author’s background. Thus, Gloria Anzaldua considers herself as a “border woman” who is stuck between two cultures, English and Spanish. Therefore, the article is a logical outcome of her concept of life. Jamaica Kincaid grew on the West Indian Island of Antigua and his work is the reflection of the event of its colonial past. Finally, Amitava Kumar witnessed the border encounters of immigrant people since he experienced the same. Now he teaches English at Florida University.
The first article is the narration about the life experience of Annie Johns who was conscious of prejudices expressed by her teacher, Ms. Edwards, and her disagreement with Annie’s behavior. The article only slightly hints at the colonial and postcolonial events. The narration itself reveals the story of a girl Annie Johns who is a descendant of the Antigua culture and whose ancestors were enslaved by the British colonists. In fact, Annie’s colonial past reveals in her discussion of Ruth, a white girl who is the dunce of the class. The girl ironically discusses the colonial past of her country and realizes that other girls in the class are not aware of these historic events. Anne is confident that Ruth must feel guilty since white people enslaved the black people. She also feels resentment when Antigua people celebrate Queen’s Victoria birthday without having an idea that the British people were guilty of Antigua’s colonial past. Further, Annie’s discussion centers on the story under the symbolic name Columbus in chains. While reading she does not hide her happiness of seeing Columbus imprisoned and enjoyed reading the phrase “the great man can no longer just get up and go” (Kincaid, 525). This phrase pronounced by Annie aloud caused Ms. Edwards discontent since in her world Columbus must be honored for discovering island Antigua but not punished. It is a universally acknowledged thing in the British world but not in the colonial world enslaved by the whites.
The writer intentionally inserts the opinion that “the past is only the past” (Kincaid, 524) so that the reader can understand that it is not so. In fact, the past will be always reflected in the present. Thus, post colonists assimilated within the world of their enslavers will always perceive pressure and the impact of their colonial past.
By this fictional story, the author considers the term “postcolonial” through the prejudiced attitude of the British colonists to the representatives of the Others.
Passport Photos also displays the living experience of post-colonial people who perceive the negligent atmosphere in the white world. In his work, Amitava Kumar discloses his talents in photography and poetry. He tries to express all the detail of post-colonial life through the style of the narration as well. The book is about the contradictions and conflicts encountered by immigrants in the US. His understanding of the notion of “postcolonial” is uncovered through an ironical depiction of historic context. To enhance the impression of the actual complexities of the immigrant life Kumar applies different genres and language so that the reader could have a better idea of the impact of the colonial past on the immigrants. The writer’s unconventional interpretation of postcolonial life is rather brave and realistic on the one hand. However, the irony, implicitly uncovered in his Passport Photos, shows his view on migration issues as a serious problem. By means of readable language and life situations, he depicts the veritable state of affairs that no one even suspected.
Through migration processes, the author tried to reveal his attitude to postcolonial disciplines. Like in Columbus in Chains, he also mentions the role of postcolonial writing and its actual outlook on post-colonial life. Furthermore, many scholars are involved in the research of migration politics. Hence, there is the problem of changing the subject of the historic subject because earlier immigrants were the object of research of the indigenous European population (Kumar, 534).
Kumar believes that migration is perceived by people as something metaphorical but not material (Kumar, 536). While reading about immigrants, we imagine some personal images and ideas and other aspects associated with the phenomenon. Through migration, the author comes across the images of people who are regarded as objects only but not as personalities. By means of the photos attached to this narration, the writer intended to show how the majority of people view the life of immigrants.
In How to Tame a Wild Tongue, Gloria Anzaldua discovers her post-colonial vision through the matter of the language. By mixing Spanish and English, she shows that Chicano people lack their native land so that distorted English phrases inserted in their vocabulary constitute the influence of the first language as the language of the country they are forced to live in. The wrong pronunciation and grammar of both languages testify that people with post-colonial past cannot fully identify their affiliation.
In the narration, Anzaldua expresses her vision of the post-colonial phenomenon a something deprived of purity so that the Others is impelled to speak the mixed language. Through language, the author also describes the lives of Chicanos who are not able to speak their native language. Instead, they speak the poor language in order to communicate with the residents. By a low estimation of their language, they show their low assessment of themselves as the nation. However, the emergence of such dialects is the manifestation of the “overcoming of the tradition of silence” (Anzaldua, 544).
As it can be seen, the author’s interpretation of the term “post-colonial” is closely connected with the language issues. It is natural that the personality evaluation is carried out by the way we speak and what language we use. The narration is just the evidence that language is the primary reflection of the post-colonial past. Moreover, it reveals cultural and political issues. Anzaldua’s experience showed that post-colonial disciplines are of great value for the immigrants since that greatly contributes to their better adaptation to the alien environment.
In conclusion, the articles stipulate the appearance of “neocolonialism” revealed in different aspects of cultural and political life. Thus, they discussed the inevitable impact of the past on the present situation of post-colonial countries. Further, Gloria Anzaldua researched the consequences of the introduction of the Chicano language. Finally, Kumar in his article proved that migration processes are also the result of the colonial past. Additionally, the works under consideration stipulate the necessity of the study of postcolonial disciplines. Consequently, people are not ready yet to make up for the past and to enter the era of equality and freedom of choice. Living in the post-colonial world, we still perceive the traits of the division of people of the masters and on the slaves.
Anzaldua, Gloria “How to Tame a Wild Language” Reading Culture: contexts for critical reading and writing US: Longman, 2006.
Kinkaid, Jamaica, “Columbus in Chains” Reading Culture: contexts for critical reading and writing US: Longman, 2006.
Kumar, Amitava, “Passport Photos” Reading Culture: contexts for critical reading and writing US: Longman, 2006.