Q1. Examine John Agard’s “checking out me history” from new and selected poems 2004, and “The suspect” by Ali Alizadeh from Ashes in the air 2004, in light of postcolonial theory. You may consider the postcolonial notions of otherness, mimicry, ambivalence, essentialism, oritentalism, resistance, etc., in your comparative analysis
Edward (2000) states that orientalism is regarded as a criticism on western scholarship and imperialism. Edward argues that Marxism and Marxists are blinded to the fact of imperialism and further points out that nature of conflict between Marxism and non-Marxism lies in that they hold varying attitudes towards which type of attitude is oriented and which one is considered as external attitude (Edward, 2000).
On the other hand, Fanon (1967) suggests that inside the post-colonial society, individuals of colonized ethnic group will try their best effort to standardize thoughts of local citizens who are living in conquered areas. However, the existing of native intellectual will make an aggressive response to pre-colonial barbarism, post-colonialism and so on. In an unconscious pace, colonialism does not regard their mother countries as gentle and loving mother. Instead, they regard their home countries as mothers who continuously prevent their offspring from committing suicide or permitting the entry of evil instincts. In one word, the colonial mothers protect their children from its very essence, which is physiology and biology (Fanon, 1967).
In the poem written by John Agard (2005), the writer claims that instead of living in a colonized nation, one would like to be forgotten and omitted by the history. As known to all, colonialism always tells two sides of stories--that of the colonists and that of the colonized. Contrary to the colonists’ stories, the stories of the colonized were already there prior to colonialism history. While being colonized and controlled by other nations, colonized national citizens felt that their homes, history and culture, even their style of speak, way of walking had to be changed so as to assimilate into those promoted by colonial countries.
In the poem written by Ali Alizadeh (2011), the writer expresses that a direct and arresting political attitude towards colonialism. Unlike other poets, John is good at portray scenes of post-colonialism at playful tone. Various kinds of startling images are presented in this poem explicitly. Upon reading this poem, audiences can find out that Agard has combined acute social observation and triggered a riotous imagination insider audiences’ mind.
Both poems demonstrated in the following are reflections of “facts” about colonized citizens’ psychology, social status and culture changes. Therefore, the aim of this essay is to analyze how post-colonial implications can be examined in these two poems. More specifically, four aspects of post-colonial theories will be introduced and analyzed, which are post-colonial of otherness, mimicry and essentialism.
This essay mainly discusses about inclusion of post-colonial theories in two poems. In these two poems, the poets imply that the history of colonialism is essentially a history of constituting otherness, conducting mimicry and exploitation of essentialism. Upon conducting analysis, the researcher concludes that it is the existing of colonialism that creates “us” and “them”. However, such kind of distinguishing is on the basis of cognitive bias and results in unpleasant life of citizens who are living in dominated nations. The essence of colonialism is to exploit identity, culture and social status of dominated nations. Therefore, citizens should strive for maintaining their legal rights and keep informed of what they are and how they should be educated. The classification of us and others should be based on equal basis. On the other hand, the existing and development of so called “orientalism” should be comprehended in this way—both dominant and dominated nations should be allowed to maintain their initial culture, social custom, beliefs and living styles. In other words, orientalism should not be determined by their differentiated social status or power relations. Essence of the colonialism history should be rectified so that each nation can maintain its own identity, as well as capable of constructing its own development trend in the near future. To sum up, history should be analyzed and examined without the involvement of biased opinions.