The Past Still Present: Gender, Racial Identity, and Double Colonialism in Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea

NUHA BAAQEEL

Abstract


The themes of gender and racial identity and their treatment in Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea fundamentally inform both novels in uneasy ways that this essay argues hold enormous contemporary importance. In particular, the authors’ use of the framework of colonialism produce what, when read from postcolonial perspectives, necessarily creates tensions in the novels between characters that represent the colonists and those of the indigenous characters. These tensions are analyzed through postcolonial theories of hybridity and notions of Other to consider the impacts of these tensions and whether these still exist. However, aligned with these gender and racial tensions is the way the novels’ treatment of gender specific consciousnesses, in terms of racial identity, become evident as female characters are made to suffer a double sense of oppression within post-colonial narratives, a condition which I term here “double colonialism,” a condition which this essay further argues still lingers today. 


Keywords


Gender, racial identity, double colonialism, post colonialism, hybridity.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v9i1.1839

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