A Postcolonial Reading of Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography Of My Mother
the Psychology of Colonialism
Communication. Mass media
Language and Literature
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AbstractCaribbean literature exposes a history of dispossession, exploitation and oppression which has been neglected and often deliberately misinterpreted. In this article the destructive effects of colonization and slavery in Jamaica Kincaid's 1996 novel The Autobiography of My Mother are scrutinized thoroughly. The main objective of this research is to examine Kincaid's novel within the framework of postcolonial studies, in the light of Albert Memmi (2013) and Frantz Fanon's (2008) theories on the psychology of colonialism. Frantz Fanon argues that colonialism had brought together two opposing social orders doomed to coexist in everlasting tension; the colonizer's and the colonized's; these tensions cause the moral and spiritual deformity of an ideological system based on racism, oppression, and exploitation. In contrast to Fanon, Kincaid regards resistance and liberation in a quite different perspective. Instead of attempting to build a "new woman", Xuela refuses to accept the colonizer's views of those like her that lead to self-destruction and self-hatred. Instead, in order to survive, she confidently chooses self-love, albeit an almost grotesque and obsessive one. Kincaid uses Xuela's relationships with various characters to categorize the social types that Fanon describes in his writings—from Philip and his wife Moira as examples of the deformation of behavior caused by colonial social hierarchies to using mask as a metaphor for her manipulative father's mimicry of the oppressors. This research finds out that colonization and slavery have negative impact on both the colonizer and the colonized.