Sunday, March 27, 2011

The white...

"For I confess to you, daughter, my weakness came not merely from the abomination of the white man who came violently into my fading presence, there was also a weight of longing on my earth-held limbs. I would have shaken it off, already my foot had begun to lift but then, the white ghost entered and all was defiled. " (Soyinka 53)

Soyinka, Wole, and Simon Gikandi. Death and the King's Horseman: Authoritative Text : Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 2003. Print

It seems strange that Soyinka would ask us not to impose a post-colonial theory to this text while he places lines such as this throughout his story. This line comes from Elesin during a conversation with Pilkings, Jane, and Elesin's new wife. There is a deliberate move by Elesin to refer to the whiteness of his oppressor. This word, 'white', reaffirms the black/white binary, placing it's power in the text. The text is speaking for itself and building its story and value on the use of this word. Lines such as this have exposed it to Post-colonial analysis by building on the colonization plot being developed. The treatment of death may have been Soyinka's intent, however the blatant power struggle taking place in the story is too critical to the text not to be considered.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely think this was a great passage for post-colonial analysis. This shows that these imperialistic actions had quite an impact on native culture and it does place emphasis on the separation of blacks/whites. I also wanted to to refer to the "white ghost." This line was so powerful because it made the speaker feel so helpless. The speaker was completely overpowered by this white force that there was no way to escape. I think this also plays an important role in masculinity because I get this sense from the speaker that he somewhat lost his masculinity. He states that how he became weak due to a more powerful force. The reputation that he once had is now "defiled." This is important in post-clonial analysis because whites took advantage of the power they had, but used it in a violent manner. We can see this violence and helplessness through the speaker.