If postcolonial literature is the “process of dialogue and necessary correction,” of misconceptions concerning colonialism, then a comparative study of colonial and postcolonial works is essential for attaining a full understanding of the far-reaching effects of European imperialism (Groden and Kreiswirth 582). Reading colonial literature in dialogue with postcolonial literature engenders a more complete interpretation of the effects of imperialism by creating a point of reference from which to begin the revelation and the healing of cultural wounds resultant from European colonialism. Postcolonial literature reveals the lie of imperialism by suggesting that colonization was unsolicited by and unjustly administered to indigenous peoples; it seeks to assert that the “help” these cultures received from European nations during the colonial period had far-reaching and detrimental affects on the language and identity of traditional societies. Derek Walcott’s postcolonial poem, “The Season of Phantasmal Peace” (1981) presented in dialogue with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1910) and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) brings to light the powerful role that language played in executing the lie of imperialism on colonized peoples and the implications that this exertion of power has had and continues to have on the postcolonial world.
In his poem, “The Season of Phantasmal Peace,” Derek Walcott seems to present a postcolonial view by challenging the notion that colonialism was primarily a means for European nations to impart a higher quality of life and morality to individuals in primitive countries. For example, colonizers in Africa claimed to be spreading the light of civilization to traditio...
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Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer. New York: Signet, .
Makaryk, Irena R. Ed. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, Terms. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
Thiong’o, Nguigu Wa. “The Language of African Literature.” The Postcolonial Studies Reader. Ed. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. New York: Routledge, (1995): 285-290.
Walcott, Derek. Collected Poems: 1948-1984. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986.
Whitman, Walt. “Passage to India.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Eds. Nine Baym, et al. 4th ed. V.1. New York: Norton, (1994). 2137-44).
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