The term post colonialism is used to refer to the period of time after the colonization of the world by European countries. It is from this term that postcolonial literature is derived to refer to all the works that opposed the process of colonialism. This classification of literature is however criticized for its lack of clarity and distinction. The classification encompasses both literatures written before and during the colonization period. To cover up this gap, the postcolonial theory does a better job in expounding the study. In essence, the theory is focused on the application of the issues of culture, religion, economics and power in the concepts of imperialism and colonialism. In this respect, post colonialism is not a term that focuses on a particular period of history. Rather, it shifts its focus to texts, theories and strategies that demand change and answers to inequalities while initiating social change. Post colonialism is therefore a process of situation analysis, challenging of the scenarios and the creation of societal awareness (Boehmer, 2005). There is also a brand of postcolonial critics that analyze the literature works written in accordance with the postcolonial theory.
The field of postcolonial criticism is dominated by various writers whose contribution to post colonial literature is immense. William Burroughs has been a consistent writer in this regard who neither focused on structural or social issues. However, the writer later started writing about the issues of homosexuality and substance abuse in America. The focus on social issues widened the writer’s audience to include newly marginalized societies. Despite his being white, the writer often criticized white people superiority in his country leading to him being labeled a betrayer for calling out against his own race. Despite calls for his admonishment, Burroughs never gave up on his work and continued to challenge the social inequalities. Following the success of his writings, Burroughs widened his scope of writings to include issues of sexuality and behavior. The writer stands out among the others due to the fact that he challenged white supremacists despite having grown up under white privilege (Burroughs, 1953). It is assumed that his earlier experiences with drug and substance abuse shaped his unique audience and the choice of issues that he addressed.
Postcolonial critics have also constantly focused on the works of David Rice in their dissection of literature. The Mexican-American writer is famous for his collections of short stories including Give the Pig a Chance. In fact, most of his stories are set based on his experiences growing up in Rio Grande valley. David’s issues of concern include social inequalities based on gender such as female rights. Still, the writer is rebuked for his insistence on using non fictional cities and towns in his writings. Indeed, to these people, the writer should have used fictional towns to conceal their poor conditions. In most interviews, David has remained adamant that his choice of towns is based on the experiences he had as a young person and leaving them out would not be helpful at all (Rice, 2003). The writer viewed the attempts to make his towns fictional as an application of double standards since other towns such as New York were not censored in writings. To the writer, the use of such towns in his writings is useful in empowering young children to believe in their potential. As part of his social responsibility, David has taken trips to the location in a attempt to mentor and teach children from his neighborhood.
There is high similarity in the writings of both postcolonial writers in terms of the issues tackled and the objectives. Both David and Burroughs compiled stories focusing on the creation of awareness for the marginalized groups albeit from differing perspectives. In his book, Junky, Burroughs association with drug addiction in his past is well recognized. In fact, the book is a detailed account of his journey with drugs starting with his first injection of morphine. However, the book is not a mere tale of hopelessness depicting the life of a person through drug addiction. On the contrary, it aims to give hope to the people by telling a story of addiction as narrated by an ex addict. In so doing, the current drug addicts are motivated to overcome their dependence on drugs by expounding instances where withdrawal was achieved despite initially seeming untenable. Key among the styles used in the book is the integration of both metaphors and imagery in addressing the issues of drug and substance abuse. It is through such techniques that the writer is able to paint clear images of the dependence of addicts on the drugs they abuse (Brizee et al, 2015). Even in cases where withdrawal is achieved, the process is usually painful and is not even guaranteed.
In a similar fashion, David Rice is effective in his choice of styles in attempting to narrate the experiences in the Valley. All the stories in the collections are based on the adventures, challenges and hardships that normal children face at the Valley. It is not surprising therefore that a large part of the writer’s audience is composed of children. In some stories, the writer helps in expounding the lack of opportunities for the people because they considered themselves of lesser value than the outsiders. In one story, David explains how the locals rushed to clean their houses whenever their cousins from California visited. This practice is despite the locals not washing their houses during other normal times. In addition, one of the boys questions the practice prompting his mother to observe that houses in California were nicer than those in Texas (Rice, 2003). In fact, the mother is so serious that she considers thoroughly scrubbing the toilets to prevent the cousins from getting splinters. The observations in these stories outline the practice of treating people of other classes better while disadvantaging the local children.
Each of these writers has volumes of publication ranging from poems to essays that touched on social challenges. Burroughs for instance has different writings in both poems and essays thus making classification of his work a very difficult task. For instance, Exterminator is a 1973 novel publication with past collections from the same author. The uniqueness of Burroughs’ work makes him a popular character all over the world leading to him being labeled as daring. Perhaps the popularity of the writer is based on the fact that he wrote issues against white supremacists from his own race. David Rice is also effective in his writings and brings out the issues affecting the society around him. Despite the two authors coming from varying racial and social backgrounds, they use their respective experiences in putting the postcolonial theory into perspective (Moore-Gilbert et al, 2014). Ideally, all the writings address almost similar issues despite coming from different viewpoints.
Boehmer, E. (2005). Colonial and postcolonial literature: migrant metaphors. OUP Oxford.
Moore-Gilbert, B., Stanton, G., & Maley, W. (2014). Postcolonial criticism. Routledge.
Brizee, A., Tompkins, J. C., Chernouski, L., & Boyle, E. (2015, April 13). Post-Colonial Criticism. Retrieved from OWL: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/10/
Burroughs, W. S. (1953). Junky. Ace Books.
Rice, D. (2003). Crazy Loco.
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