Many countries have experienced colonialism. After what seemed to be an endless struggle and fight, the countries managed to gain the much sought-after independence. This era was very integral in the generation of the intellectual awakening amongst the people, which led to the immense and qualitative literary contributions. The literary contributions are equally important as the freedom fighters and other activists, who fought for the independence.
The literature of the post-colonial era aroused the people, caused them to think for themselves, and to re-evaluate their choices. It was a significant literary movement, which occurred in the mid-20th century. The literature of this era revolves around the themes such as cultural, social, and political freedom, identity struggles, racism, and the lasting effects of imperialism. We have picked out some post-colonial reads for you, through which you will get a sneak peek inside the glorious past of ours!
Passage to India by E.M. Forster –
The novel is based in the India of early 1900s, in a fictional town of Chandrapore. The author explores the complexities of the relationships between the characters that are Indian and British by descent. The book reverberates with the personal experiences of the author himself when he was in India. Initially, the storyline may appear to be flat, but Forster increases the pace gradually. The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, Mrs. Moore, Adela Quested, and Ronny Heaslop. The cultural divide is highly evident in this novel, where the characters also try to bridge this gap, irrespective of the political scenario.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie –
The enticing genre of magic realism includes this vibrant novel by Salman Rushdie. The novel is semi-autobiographical in nature. The storyline revolves around the era of Indian independence and the children who are born at the ‘strike of the hour’. The plot juggles between the magical powers the children possess, and the political tensions surmounting between the Hindus and the Muslims, due to the Partition. There are also tones and motifs referring to the textbook battle between the creative and destructive forces. The twists and turns and the narration style make it an exciting read!
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee –
Based in the post-apartheid South Africa, the novel explores the lives of a father and a daughter, David and Lucy. Set in midst of political tensions, David struggles with an ‘existential crisis’ of sorts- after he has to leave teaching at the University, which has pretty much been his thing since quite some time. He decides to join his daughter Lucy, who lives in the countryside. A lot of high-octane action unravels, and it all comes to the rest. Latterly there is also a strain in the relationship between the father and the daughter.
A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul –
The novel is literary acclaimed, all across the world. Set in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Biswas, (as he is addressed throughout the novel), is proclaimed to be ill-fated, by his orthodox Indian parents. The novel traces his journey, as he desperately tries to prove the prophecies wrong, and make a worthwhile living and identity out of himself. The storyline also traces the themes of identity, economic and cultural freedom, the importance of family, and poverty.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez –
Another novel with magic realism at its core, Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves the story with sheer finesse. The novel revolves around the family of Buendias, who has founded the isolated and old town of Macondo. The storyline focuses on the transformation of this town when the town gets in contact with the world outside. The title of the book is derived from the years the novel spans over- a century. The major events are highlighted, and the family is caught in the fast-paced industrialization, and imperialism, leading to the downfall eventually.
The post-colonial era has churned out great literature, which provides an insight into our roots. The struggles of identity and races have caused the authors to generate a literary awakening. Apart from this, there have also been radical changes in the literature, such as a change in the usage of language and the emergence of feminism. These books and several others have also changed the outlook of several generations towards colonialism and imperialism. So go ahead, be the enlightened one!