Colonization in Literature Essay

Colonization in Literature Essay

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Our current world has been extremely shaped by colonization, but the rapid spread of its influence has neglected to minister to the diverse and significant traits of each country. In Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, Atwood explores the effects colonization on Quebec’s cultural and social environment. With the expansion of the English language, French subculture has been slowly pushed back and forced to integrate with an Anglophonic culture. Along with integration of culture, comes the loss of the history and traditions that define a people. Atwood does an immense job of showing the obsession starting to possess society to remember and discover these traditions. Surfacing describes the ramifications that occur when people come in and invade an area, how animosity and feelings of hatred can build. Margaret Atwood writes this novel during a time period when cultural differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada were manifesting themselves in Quebec’s growing sense of nationalism. The novel Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, demonstrates how colonization affected Quebec during the 1970’s through the integration of different cultures and loss of identity, depletion of history and traditions, and the strain put on relationships within the community.

A colonized nation is so driven by progress and growth that history, heritage and traditions are often left behind. This is evident when the nameless protagonist in Surfacing feels an increasing urgency to find the two cave drawings and so discover what her father was doing. Searching for her father’s past and the drawings portrays society’s need and curiosity to uncover bygone history and traditions as well as track down the paths of their ancestors. Surfacing presents an excellent depiction ...

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...ionships are all effects of colonialism, and are demonstrated in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. The invading culture starts to take over, and overwhelm the current civilization, as well as ensuring their past traditions are overrun and replaced with new ones. Because of this overriding conscious, many colonized nations begin to feel resentment towards their “big brother” counterpart. Through writing about this in her book, Atwood passes on this message by portraying her views through the eyes of the unnamed protagonist. Colonization is a topic that has been thoroughly established in Surfacing through the loss of identity, history and traditions, as well as changing current relationships.

Atwood, Margaret. Surfacing. Toronto, Canada: McClelland and Stewart, 1972. Print.
Howells, Anne Coral. Margaret Atwood. Canada: Canadian Publishing, 1985. Print.

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