Post colonialism was a period when countries with super powers like Great Britain , Belgium , Portugal, Spain and even America were ruling because of the might and strength they colonize helpless countries. This period was from the late 1800s up to WW2 or 1945, Due to the suffering or brutality the liquidation of culture and the legacy of colonizers a lot of intellectuals and post-colonial writers have spoken in this new narratives.
Jamaica Kincaid who was born in Antigua the capital city of the Caribbean Island and wrote A Small Place criticizing the tourist and how the present day government rule with a lot of corruption. However, Joseph Conrad an European has given a balanced view and says how the colonizers were wrong but he is guilty of sexism and racism of the black people in his novella Heart of Darkness in 1889. This essay will discuss the differences of how the concept of orientalism is presented in A Small Place and in Heart of Darkness and also elaborate on how the concept of OTHER is presented in the two text mentioned above.
To begin with, Kincaids work talks about her childhood days and how it was and then she reflected it on how the present day government have taken over from the British who were once ruling over Antigua. She is describing how both parties viewed each other at first how the Antiguans viewed the tourist as fat and incredibly unattractive, pastry like fleshed man and also highlighted how lonely and selfishness the westerners are regardless how rich and prosperous they were like but the banality of your life is very real to you; it drove you to this extreme, spending your days and nights in the company of people who despise you, people you do not like really (Kincaids, 1988 pg.
18). In the book the trail of slavery hangs heavy over the events of A Small Place. Although the Antiguans have been independent for generation, they still carry their past together with them to the future. Most of the natives honor that they are no longer enslave by the colonizer but are still upset about the current corrupt government lead by V C Bird and they are silence about it even though they were victims. Kincaids not only believe in colonialism she also identified how she together with her nation are constitute. On the other hand, Heart of Darkness provides us a clear perspective of how the colonizers viewed the people they are colonizing. They often said that they are uncivilized maybe because they are not brought up with proper or formal education like what the colonizer have. They are ill-treated and given hard work with less salary and even with little or no food at all. The act of slavery can also be evidential in Heart of Darkness as being describe above and according to Reinhard & Fabrizio, The white conquers had no restraints when they were exploiting a country and its people and slaves are not treated like human beings, they were tool of a system of maximization of profits. This is a major theme in Conrads novella and is also practiced by Marlows repeating the use of the word savage in reference to African Americans which shows us being uncivilized. I had to look after the savage who was a fireman (Conrads 1889 pg. 45). It shows that the natives cannot match the colonizers not only in workplace but mentally also and with this two text the western discourse of orientalism are very crucial as it illustrates the super powers point of view of power regarding the natives or people of their colonies.
In addition, the two text that is analyzed in this essay also portrayed how the other is presented differently in the two text. According to Jean Francois Staszak other is due to the difference of the other than to the point of view and the discourse of the person who perceives the other as such. In Kincaids book the other is both referred to as both parties and is evidential in A Small Place since you are being an ugly person this ugly but joyful thought will dwell inside you; their ancestors were not clever in the way yours were ruthless in the way yours were( Kincaids pg. 17). In this the use of other or how it is presented can be clearly seen. The two ends of the story continues to see each other as THE OTHER in the story whereas some text only one end is regarded as the other. But actually in any work the inferior complex should be the other which is the natives in the Small Place. They are being marginalized by how the Europeans interpret the way they live or the Antiguans way of living. Conrads Heart of darkness mainly the natives are labelled or regarded as the other in the book. The colonizers viewed them as uncivilized and uneducated and it only suits the Congolese to work as laborers and nothing more than that in the working hierarchy. By this the colonizers sees themselves as higher in the racial hierarchy and other culture or race lesser. This is highlighted by the fireman in Heart of Darkness that was forced to believe that should the water .disappear the evil spirit inside the boiler would get angry through the greatness of his thirst, and take terrible vengeance ( Conrads pg. 45). This shows us that Marlow were treating the Congolese as children with little or no proper education at all which is why the concept of other is very crucial as it act as important parts of writing for post-colonial writers. It gives the reader a clear understanding of how to differentiate the two main groups in the story.
To conclude, the concept of orientalism and other in the two text gives us the reader a deeper understanding of how the colonizers were occupying and exploiting the lives of their colonies with discrimination and sorts of thing they come up with but post-colonial writers were lucky to mention all of those in their books. It can also be said that the way the Colonizers were not really what it is said to be because most of that is said is there for the colonizers to be in a place for their colonies not to go past them or higher than them.
Slavery and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness: Retrieved from > Francois Staszak : Retrieved from >
Conrad. J, (1899) Heart of Darkness , United Kingdom, Blackwoods Magazine