Presentation on theme: "“St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” and Post-Colonial Literature Bellaire High School, English 1."— Presentation transcript:
“St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” and Post-Colonial Literature Bellaire High School, English 1
What is “colonialism?” From Wikipedia: “Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous population.” Starting in the 1500’s (and continuing through the 20 th century), European powers discovered that it was to their economic benefit to dominant foreign lands by enslaving the local people and acquiring their resources.
The non-European world was basically carved up for European countries to exploit.
Power and Colonization European countries were able to colonize other parts of the world for a number of reasons – superior weaponry, access to other kinds of technology, resistance to diseases. Initially, “mother countries” maintained power through outright slavery, genocide, rape, and theft. Later on, they created a system of economic dependency in colonized countries and a sense of European cultural superiority. Think back to The Pearl – the only way for Kino to make money was through pearl diving, but the pearl buyers worked hard to make sure they did not have to pay him a fair price for his labor. Kino was taught not to challenge or even question those descendants of Spaniards who had authority (the priest, the doctor, the merchants).
The Missionary System One of the ways in which European countries justified this exploitation was through religion. Christianity – often specifically Catholicism – was thought to be the one true faith, and European powers were obligated to convert non-Christians. The Catholic church sent priests and nuns to colonies to establish communities centered around churches in the European style of life. Native people were not only taught to pray differently, but also to dress and act and earn a living according to European norms. They were taught that their traditional ways of life were sinful (think back to Juana in The Pearl, and how important it was for her to be married in the church).
Native American Boarding Schools In the United States, the government and churches created boarding schools for the children of Native Americans to exterminate their cultural heritage and raise students to become Anglo-American citizens. Students were forbidden from speaking their own languages, given new “American” names, and made to dress like “Americans,” including cutting their hair (a major element of Native American identity for some tribes). One of the founders of a Native American boarding school said, “"A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.” The curriculum of these schools was usually religious and vocational – students learned skills that would help them find jobs in Anglo-American society, instead of returning to their traditional methods of living.
Carlisle Boarding School clip from Into the West http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfRHqWCz3Zw
So what is post- colonialism? Post-colonial literature and theory addresses the legacy of colonialism. Often it provides an alternative narrative to the story that Westerners told themselves during the era of colonization – that the subjugation of people in the colonies was warranted because the European races and cultures were superior to all others. Post-colonial literature deals with both reinterpreting the history of colonialism and critically examining the legacy of that inequality today.