Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Hunt Hawkins, Ph.D.

Keywords

Subjugated, Colonized, Agency, Androgyny, Patriarchy

Abstract

The central issue of this thesis is the complicated relationship between the colonized individual and the constitutive as well as emblematic female colonizer in Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North, and Paule Marshall's The Chosen Place, The Timeless People. Each of these novels displays colonization by a female (or females) and relates back to historical colonialism, but each characterizes the relationship between the oppressors and oppressed differently. Dinesen's and Rhys's works stem from historical colonization in which European colonizers conquered and ruled other territories; Annette and her daughter Antoinette, females born into slave-holding families in Wide Sargasso Sea, are fictional but empowered as a result of an actual colonial past, while the colonizer in Dinesen's memoir is Dinesen (née Karen Blixen), for she recounts her own autobiographical experience as a plantation owner living in Kenya in the early 1900s.

Salih's and Marshall's novels are also based on the damaging effects of a colonial history, but simultaneously portray women who suffer from subordination and oppression within their own communities; Marshall details the relationship between an African-Caribbean woman and an American female colonizer, while Salih presents the tumultuous affairs between four European female colonizers and an African-Sudanese man. Additionally, Salih's novel focuses on Othered Sudanese women who are expected to adhere to the patriarchal laws of the tribe, but who prove themselves as agents by disavowing these laws. This thesis relies on postcolonial, feminist, and womanist methodologies.

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