Humpty Dumpty and Unborn Assignments

If you figure out the bull written here, please let me know…

“The Development of an Oppositional Discourse by the Colonized in Wole Soyinka’s “Death and the King’s Horseman”

Post-colonial theory seeks to give a voice to the oppressed. Theorists such as Said, Spivak and Bhabha have sought to deconstruct the Eurocentric bias of knowledge construction that understands all reality in comparison with Europe’s reality. The concomitant effect of such bias is the creation of unequal power relations. Concepts such as orientalism, subaltern and hybridity have provided a theoretical space for new discourses by the marginalized and the oppressed. The West had viewed the Orient as a reaction to its own insurmountable presence, as a mere by-product of its own existence, devoid of a pro-active presence rooted in individual histories or conditions. Political psychologist Nandy feels that the construction of the Occident was a confrontation by the colonized. Such a construction created categories, concepts and defenses of mind which represented the west in terms of the non-west’s experiences. Nandy believes that it was the innocence of the colonized that eventually defeated the oppressor. Thus the creation of the “Occident” by the colonized is a critical move by the oppressed in forming an oppositional discourse.

Frantz Fanon in his “Black Skins White Masks

According to Soyinka “The Colonial Factor is an incident, a catalytic incident merely. The confrontation in the play is largely metaphysical, contained in the human vehicle which is Elesin and the universe of the Yoruba mind – the world of the living, the dead, and the unborn, and the numinous passage which links all: transition.”

“It is of course true that the African identity is still in the making. There isn’t a final identity that is African. But, at the same time, there is an identity coming into existence. And it has a certain context and a certain meaning. Because if somebody meets me, say, in a shop in Cambridge, he says ‘Are you from Africa?’ Which means that Africa means something to some people. Each of these tags has a meaning, and a penalty and a responsibility. All these tags, unfortunately for the black man, are tags of disability . . . I think it is part of the writer’s role to encourage the creation of an African identity.” Chinua Achebe”

Actually this is how I began writing my post-colonial studies assignment two months back (with the same colours.I had hoped atleast the colours would inspire me but to no avail.) The rest of my class submitted it two months back. I did not. It was not borning. I kept fighting for it day and night but I could not write even one sentence that made sense to me. It was horrible. I think this would be the one prominent thing I would remember about my college life. I would tell my child some day how I struggled for this assignment to be born.

I don’t like forcing ideas out. It is somehow unnatural and painful both for me and my words. To me an inspiration has to be strong and the flow, free. Finally, today, after months of evading the deadline and the professor, I decided to confront the phobia. I had my lunch and entered the library at 12.00 p.m. and laboured for 2 hours, after which a beautiful baby was born. It was about the notions of space, the governance of space and the politics of space in Wole Soyinka’s “Death and the King’s Horseman”.

There is not a single friend of mine who does not know of Wole Soyinka now, thanks to me and my infinite cribbing.

The problems in the creation I observed were the following.
1. Apprehension of the subject I took up.
2. Apprehension of results.
3. Apprehension of Soyinka and his intense and extraordinary play. (Honestly, I first thought it was about Humpty Dumpty!)
4. Apprehension of my professor.
5. Apprehension of anything related to “Death and the King’s Horseman.”

If I ever find time I shall type out the assignment I wrote today. Ah! Feel like I am relieved of constipation…crude scatological image but nothing else can explain my feeling better..

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