Interesting realization: “The difference between Irishness and Englishness escaped Lewis’ notice, but it was all too plain to those Irish people who identified with the colonial administration in their own country” (498). We understand the world around us through the lens of our own experience. Repeatedly this quarter we’ve realized how ridiculous were some of the anthropological and sociological claims made by people who assumed they had the ability to be completely objective. This quotation is a perfect example of the ability of those who know their identity to recognize the fallacy of others’ attempts to define what they do not know.

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Interesting how easily the British uprooted Irish nationalism by infiltrating the schools. That unbending superiority we keep harping on truly did have a tremendous detrimental effect on people who were taught to abandon their on “mythical” culture and assume the superior “scientific” culture supposedly synonymous with Greece (which, if you remember, abounds in myth and story). The idea that a person needed to be freed from the fetters of his or her own culture in order to embrace another’s superiority saddens me.

There are a million ways to spin a story. Anyone who’s worked in journalism can tell you that. You get the facts and find your unique angle on them. I remember reading a story about Bridget Cleary in 8th grade, and it was nothing like this account. Here, Bourke suggests that it’s actually Michael Cleary who is marginalized (449). He probably reacted violently to Bridget’s goading and went a little too far in putting her in her place. It just goes to show how you can change things with a little spin on the details.

I really appreciated this article simply for its use of Irish literature, which I love. It’s interesting that the big-name cities in Ireland were “sites of cultural hybridization as well as centres of imperial authority and capital domination…[because] they represent concentrations of an English domination which penetrates every level of Irish social life” (405). I’ve been writing my paper on imperialism and its pervasiveness in every aspect of life in order for it to be able to keep control over its colonies. The very centers of Irish culture were infiltrated with English imperialism and made to marginalize those of Ireland who protested domination.

I liked what Crane said at the end of his article about the use of Maori language in the English text to “challenge the cultural hegemony of English itself” and give voice to the people of the area (397). We’ve been talking a lot in class about the role of the kingdom of God to give everyone a voice, and here is an example of using a cultural specific to amplify marginalized voices.

Tiffin writes, “Reproduction of the self…was/is the crucial technology of imperialism. Central to the idea of self-reproduction is the extension of control” (379). The goal of imperialism is conformity and uniformity. Control the natives, make them like we are, take their resources, and everyone’s happy. The natives are enlightened and we’re rich and superior. It reminds me of Chia’s article on the first chapter of Daniel. The king planned to control the Israelites by indoctrinating Daniel and his friends, giving them new names, feeding them from his table, and teaching them his culture and history. Self-reproduction. Control.

There is a lot to be commented on in this article. I found the story itself interesting, especially as it is apparently the first appearance of cultural binaries: us and them, civilized and savage. One really interesting point for me is the mutiny of the shipmates. The captain is sick, and without his strength and presence to enforce cultural rules, the hierarchy breaks down. The wife isn’t able to enforce her superiority, however much she asserted it. Once again, male domination overcomes the female, even though she is socially superior.

I was interested to learn that you can’t ask questions in Australia. In all seriousness, the idea that asking a polite question like what do you do on the weekends seems normal enough until you look at it from a postcolonial perspective. Now an outsider asking an insider to describe general habits “suggests the greater intrusion of a sociological survey” (351). It’s starting to seem like no matter what you do, you’re somehow imposing your culture or putting your foot in your mouth according to whatever culture you’re in or offending the surrounding culture simply by being of a different one. Everything we read is a negative.

The novel appears to be an interesting one, presenting a world in which the colonizer loses power to the colonized. In particular I found interesting what Ferguson says about the antagonist’s name: “the first syllable evokes Christ in the context of a culture in which Christianity overlays and becomes syncretized with African belief systems” (319). The female character turns every orderly system upside down, challenging gender and racial hierarchies and taking control over Rochester. He takes her submission for granted and thus has no way to handle her audacious behavior and force her into submission.

Along the same theme as the previous article, Hulme concludes, “The dialectic between self-identification and self-presentation is far from resolved” (303). People already have assumptions about the identity of a culture when coming in. Thus, it is vastly more difficult to get other people to agree to your cultural identity that simply to figure out what it is in the first place, which is hard enough. Not only do post-colonial cultures have to define themselves, but they also have to make the rest of the world recognize that identity and stop trying to force them to fit into an old false one.

“Silencing as well as remembering, identity is always a question of producing in the future an account of the past, that is to say it is always about narrative, the stories which cultures tell themselves about who they are and where they came from” (283). I’ve said before that I took Storytelling for the first five weeks, and again and again I’m seeing the truth of story in our lives. We define ourselves through narrative because it is the universal mode of teaching and understanding. When imperialists and colonialists told stories about their perceptions of life in other cultures, they defined identity for those people. Allowing people to tell their own stories helps them define themselves and understand their culture not against another but as its own standing identity.

We’ve talked a lot about this already, so it’s not really new information, but I’m still struck by the fact that for so long a group of people could assume superiority over another group. It’s still like that for a lot of Americans, I know. People who don’t actually leave the country but assume that everyone in the world wishes they could be American. The elitist attitude makes me feel a little sick, no matter how it’s being directed. We have this perpetual need to one-up each other. Why?