The Difficulty of Situating the 'Twice-Colonised' Women

Part 2.3 of Drama in English from Singapore and Malaysia

Chitra Sankaran, PhD, Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore

Adapted from Post-Colonial Literatures in English, ed. Rajeev S. Patke, 1998, by George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University; Distinguished Visiting Professor, NUS, 1998-99.

Every culture invents its special version of the mother-son relationship, situates its women with slight differences within its patriarchal set-up, which will preclude any claims being laid to the universality of Emily's (indeed any woman's) condition. However, there is enough of an identifiable woman's plight in Emily to make her paradoxically both a formidable matriarch and a victim of patriarchy. In the final analysis then, our efforts expose the inherent difficulty in situating the complex 'twice-colonised' figure into clear subject/object slots. Here we can think of another Research Project (suggestion 3) - you could identify two or more powerful women protagonists from other post-colonial texts, and analyse the extent to which they are independent of, and yet oppressed by, patriarchy.

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