Essay on The Lie of Imperialism Exposed in Literature

Essay on The Lie of Imperialism Exposed in Literature

Length: 3045 words (8.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview


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...


... middle of paper ...


... New York: Norton, (1988). 251-262.

---. “English and the African Writer.” Anniversary Issue: Selections from Transition 0.75-76 (1997): 342-349.

---. Things Fall Apart. New York: Ballantine, 1959.

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).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

British Imperialism Exposed in Shooting an Elephant, by George Orwell Essay

- George Orwell was, without a doubt, one of the most influential authors of his time. His strong opposition to totalitarianism and imperialism made him one of the most recognizable names in literature during the 1900’s. Orwell spent 5 years as an imperial policeman in Burma, witnessing firsthand the effects of imperialism on the people of Burma (BBC). The insight he gained during those years made clear to him the injustices of colonization and fueled his opposition to totalitarianism....   [tags: British Imperialism Essays]

Research Papers
1479 words (4.2 pages)

The Ways We Lie By Stephanie Ericsson Essay

- Should we stop lying and she would stop letting people lie to us. In “The Ways We Lie”, Stephanie Ericsson describes lying as “a cultural cancer that… reorders reality until moral garbage becomes as invisible to us as water is to a fish” (Ericsson 186). Ericsson believes that we have accepted lies to the point where do not recognize it anymore. Ericsson has a point, lying should not be tolerated but it should be the unnecessary lies that should not be tolerated. There are lies that are justifiable based on the intent of the person lying....   [tags: Lie]

Research Papers
1105 words (3.2 pages)

The Rise of Imperialism Essay

- Although there are many other important factors, the main cause of the rise of imperialism was most certainly economic. The Age of Empire, by Eric J. Hobsbawn, provides an interpretation of New Imperialism. Hobsbawn calls imperialism “a natural by-product of the international economy” (Sherman pg 177). He is basically saying that imperialism is dependent on the rivalries of competing industries, which continually drive the international economy. Hobsbawn also dictates the need for external markets....   [tags: Imperialism]

Research Papers
459 words (1.3 pages)

The Europeans Acceptance of Imperialism Essay

- If we look at the world we live in today, we notice that it has changed dramatically over the years since the 1800’s. Many historical events from the past have changed the way we live today. It has turned our knowledge and our lifestyle into something so ordinary, that we are not even aware of it. For instance, our education system, since we were kids we were always taught to read the map a certain way so that when we grew up and started to draw and label the map of the world, we always put Europe in the center....   [tags: Age of Imperialism]

Research Papers
2569 words (7.3 pages)

Essay on Imperialism In Conrad And Orwell Works

- At the turn of the 20th century, African states had been colonized and were being used by the European nations with imperialistic ideals. With imperialism came the praise and promotion of the imperialistic ideas. However, unlike other times in history where a nation had taken over another, there was criticism written by some of the writers living in the imperialistic countries. Two of these writers were Joseph Conrad, who wrote Heart of Darkness, and George Orwell, who wrote “Shooting an Elephant”....   [tags: Imperialism Literature Slavery]

Free Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Imperialism in Asia

- As many people know, Imperialism has shaped the culture and customs all over the world. Imperialism is the dominance of one country over another politically, economically or socially. Western culture can be seen in all parts of the world; from Asia to Africa, to the Indies and the Americans. The downside of having the bits of western culture all over the world, is how it got there. Western influence was forced upon places in Asia, specifically India, Indonesia with a hellacious price; lives and poverty....   [tags: Imperialism]

Research Papers
1275 words (3.6 pages)

The Enormous Lie Exposed in The Enormous Radio Essay

- The Enormous Lie Exposed in The Enormous Radio John Cheever’s "The Enormous Radio" begins with the Westcotts appearing like the perfect "all-American" family. Cheever describes them as "the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability" (Cheever 817). What is ironic about this story is the Westcotts are far from being the "perfect family," and the community they try to conform to is just as flawed as the Westcotts themselves. A way the Westcotts try to conform to their society is by keeping secret the fact that they listen to the radio and attend musical events....   [tags: Enormous Radio]

Free Essays
484 words (1.4 pages)

Hadyn Middleton's Lie of the Land Essay

- Hadyn Middleton's Lie of the Land The mystical premise William Blake uses as the basis for his poetic work is not one based on a transcendent God, but the "Universal Man" who is himself God and who incorporates the cosmos as well. Blake elsewhere describes this founding image as "the human Form Divine" and names him "Albion." After becoming more familiar with the "myth" William Blake uses in his poetry, it is clear that Hadyn Middleton doesn't simply refer to Blake throughout the telling of Lie of the Land, his myths live quite comfortably inside within it....   [tags: Middleton Lie of the Land Essays]

Free Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

British Imperialism Essay

- Germany’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $3 235 billion per capita in comparison to Tanzania’s GDP of $800 per person. This statistic represents the economic impact of European imperialism on Tanzania’s economy in comparison to Germany. The impact of the European countries on their various colonies or former colonies, such as Canada, was based on the early idea of imperialism. The main goals of imperialism were to increase the empire’s standards of living, discover and gain new territory with natural resources....   [tags: Imperialism]

Research Papers
807 words (2.3 pages)

Imperialism Essay

- Imperialism      Whether for economic, nationalist, or humanitarian reasons, more powerful nations have often interfered with the affairs of weaker nations. These more powerful nations, including the United States, Britain, and several European countries, have in the past exploited less fortunate ones for resources, capital, and knowledge. Yet in return countries located in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia have gained the technology and capital that, over a period of time and development, improves their quality of life....   [tags: Imperialism Colonization History Essays]

Research Papers
1063 words (3 pages)