On the Road to a Postcolonial Consciousness of Selfhood: Narrator’s Quest for the Past in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing

Main Article Content

Safvan P T


With no possibility of nostalgia for the lost origin, the historian must suspend (as far as possible) the clamor of his or her own consciousness (or consciousness-effect as operated by the disciplinary training), so that the elaboration of the insurgency [the colonialism], packaged with an insurgent consciousness does not freeze into to an object of investigation, or worse yet, a model for imitation (Spivak 287). Spivak’s argument forms a major shift in postcolonial thought. The tendency of postcolonial discourse until then was concentrated only on the question of how to retrieve the Past, what was there, solely of one culture, before the onset of west’s colonial enterprise. Works like Black Athena ambitiously brought out what we can, in a sense, call as a culture and civilization eradicated by the colonial enterprise and is not there anymore in the context of the African people.  Aime Cesaire’s attempts to proclaim ‘Negritude’, one’s own native self, as a violent resistance against the ‘thingification’ of native people by ‘spiritually indefensible’ west  is, to my understanding, again an attempt to retrieve the Past (101). The tendency has always been nostalgic, there was a major belief that going back to the Past was the future; the future is in the Past.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Safvan P T. “On the Road to a Postcolonial Consciousness of Selfhood: Narrator’s Quest for the Past in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 2, no. 3, Aug. 2017, pp. 325-32, http://thecreativelauncher.com/index.php/tcl/article/view/549.
Research Articles


Agnew, Eadaoin. Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's surfacing. Queens University Belfast. 2012. Print.

Atwood, Margaret. Surfacing. Little Brown Group, 1997. Print.

Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000. Print.

Macaulay, Thomas Babington. Minute of 2 February 1835 on Indian Education: Macaulay Prose and Poetry. Ed. G. M. Young. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1957. Print.

Spivak, Gayatri. Can the Subaltern Speak? Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Caryl Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. India: Macmillan, 1988. Print.

Christ, Carol. Diving Deep and Surfacing: Women Writers on Spiritual Quest. Boston: Beacon Press, 1980. Print.

Frye, Northrop. The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: Anansi Press, 1971. Print.

Kauffman, Linda S. Special Delivery: Epistolary Modes in Modern Fiction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Print.