Postcolonial Traumas: Memory, Narrative, Resistance by Abigail Ward

By Abigail Ward

This choice of essays explores a few new percentages for knowing postcolonial traumas. It examines representations of either own and collective traumas world wide from Palestinian, Caribbean, African American, South African, Maltese, Algerian, Indian, Australian and British writers, administrators and artists.

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It is as if the cruelty that was manifest as banal and casual under colonisation, once outlawed, is turned inwards towards its own members. Cruel acts are revealed in the fiction and autobiographies of women writers who are the daughters of empire. In Wide Sargasso Sea, the child protagonist Antoinette is deprived emotionally, socially and materially. ’27 Rhys’ novel explores what happens to creole women of families that must live on without the plantation economy that Prince helps her fellow slaves to escape from.

For more on this crisis of form, see Karim Mattar, ‘Out of Time: Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Time of White Horses’, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 50:2 (2014), 176–88. 35. id=68> [accessed 1 April 2015], para. 2 of 17. pdf> [accessed 31 March 2015]. Thomas Elsaesser defines parapraxis as ‘reversals or displacements in time and space’, associating it with the attempt by the traumatised person to recapture what is lost (‘Absence as Presence, Presence as Parapraxis: On Some Problems of Representing “Jews” in the New German Cinema’, Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, 49:1 (2008), 106–20 (109)).

Prince is already beginning to unravel the power relations of the slave system well before abolition: Mrs Wood was very angry – she grew quite outrageous – she called me a black devil, and asked me who had put freedom into my head. 38 Sandra Courtman ‘To be free is very sweet,’ I said: but she took good care to keep me a slave. I saw her change colour, and I left the room. (31) Prince’s observation of Mrs Wood’s ‘change in colour’ was arguably a sign of fear. Prince is neither a passive victim nor simply a weapon in the abolitionist’s arsenal.

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