Preventing Things From Falling Further Apart: The Preservation Of Cultural Identities In Postcolonial African, Indian, And Caribbean Literatures
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentEnglish and Languages
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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This study investigates how selected postcolonial fictional writers have viewed the cultural experiences of African, Indian, and Caribbean peoples during and after colonization. Specifically, the study examines the culturally-confusing attempt to substitute indigenous languages, religion, and gender roles for colonial institutions and practices. To achieve this goal, the researcher analyzes, from Africa, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Petals of Blood and Zakes Mda's Ways of Dying; from India, Mahasweta Devi's Chotti Munda and His Arrow and Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things; and from the Caribbean, Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place and Maryse Condé's Segu. The above postcolonial communities were irreversibly changed by colonization. As a result, indigenous languages, education, religions, and roles for women now exist within externally-imposed colonial systems. Colonial languages have been, therefore, adopted for official use in education, government, and commerce, whereas indigenous languages are mostly reserved for other transactions. Similarly, while adhering to the traditions of colonially-imposed religions, postcolonial societies frequently integrated their traditional belief systems with external ones. Last, although women have coped with roles foisted upon them by postcolonial realities, these women still serve in the traditional roles of educators and health providers for their families and communities. The above integration of cultures is a type of hybridity by which many postcolonial African, Indian, and Caribbean societies are struggling to preserve their cultural identities.