Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley represents series of critical issues like disability, gender, inequality, masculinity, and among those issues and concerns, the representation of the “subaltern,” especially of the “female gendered subaltern,” is particularly significant because it plays a decisive role in examining the social context of the novel. In contemporary literary criticism, postcolonial theory is one of the most gripping schools of thought. The subaltern, as a theoretical concept in literary criticism, stays under the umbrella of Postcolonial theory. “Subaltern,” a term was first familiarized by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist and political activist, refers to people represented as being of inferior status or rank; subordinate of rank, power, authority and action. This essay, the result of my study on the novel and the subaltern, argues that Justine Moritz is a subaltern and her representation in the novel, voice and silence, alienation, resistance and death are integral components of her subalternity. It considers the illustration of Justine Moritz as a character, the treatment she gets as a member of the community and as an individual, her social mobility, her being trapped in an oppressive system, her being abused by the creature, her psycho-alienation and her struggle and resistance to establish her own agency as a subaltern. It will review the concept of “subaltern” given by such critics and thinkers as Antonio Gramsci, Ranajit Guha, and Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak. Then, it will interpret close reading with a special focus on the character of Justine Moritz to find out her positionality and relevance to “subalternity,” with reference to the establishment of her individual subaltern agency through her death. However, analysis in this essay will examine how hegemony and supremacy of the dominant class plays constructive role, and will also include examples of subaltern resistance against the hegemonic power structure though this act of resistance leads to death and destruction. The methodology of this essay is analytical and substantial help from secondary sources will be taken.
Citation: Mohammed Shaifuddin (2022) Justine Moritz, a subaltern in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.7, pp.12-23
Hybridity and Colonial Desire: A Postcolonial Perspective on Translations by Brian Friel (Published)
In the postmodern world there is a need to address how European nations managed to subdue and reign over the cultures, also the consequences of colonialism on cultures and societies. So this paper will analyze Brian Friel’s Translations through a postcolonial outlook. The present study posits postcolonial perspective on Translations through characters and themes. The destructive nature of Western imperialism is highlighted through the characters of Lieutenant Yolland, Maire, Owen and Captain Lancey. The paper will exclusively look on the postcolonial concepts as employed in the play through the key terms of appropriation, hybridity, mimicry, hegemony, and exoticism as put forward by Homi K. Bhabha and Gramsci.
The Use of Power and Ideology in Guantanamo: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Andy Worthington’s The Guantanamo Files (Published)
The research deals with the use of power and ideology in Andy Worthington’s The Guantanamo Files (2007) as the narratives (generally called Gitmo narratives) of the detainees show the betrayal of American ideals, U.S. constitution and international laws about human rights. Since its inception, Guantanamo Bay Camp is an icon of American military power, hegemony and legal exceptionalism in the ‘Global War on Terror’. In order to the analyze the selected text, the ‘discourse as social practices’ with special reference to power and ideology which is the third dimension of the tripartite framework proposed by Norman Fairclough (1995), is applied comprehensively as a theoretical framework for this research. The research reveals the truth and reality of the power structure and hegemonic designs of American ideology to discriminate and to stereotype the male Muslims as terrorists in Guantanamo. The discourse of these Gitmo narratives is also related with the issue of closing this notorious camp which has gained a great attention for the international media, lawyers, human rights activists and civil society.
Abu Ishaque’s Surya-Dighal Bari: Religious Hegemony in the Context of the Famine of 1943 in Colonized Bengal (Published)
Surya-Dighal Bari (The Ill-Omened House), published in 1955, translated into English by Bangla Academy awardee Abdus Selim, is Abu Ishaque’s first and classic novel. Ishaque is considered one the pioneers of modern Bangladeshi novelists. The background or plot of the novel is twofold. First, the time period, this is known as the famine of ‘50. In Bangla year 1350 (1943 AD), a devastating famine stroke this land just four years before the Partition of Bengal and almost five million people died of starvation. This famine was caused by some controversial policies and indifference of the British government. A heartbreaking scenario of this famine reported in “Bengal Provincial Hindu Mahasabha Relief Committee Report of Relief Works” says, ‘The streets of the “Second City of the British Empire” thronged with living skeletons, the emaciated deadbodies frequently found on the pavements of the metropolis, men and dogs fighting for a share of the garbage collected in the dustbins of Calcutta, unattended babies in the villages being dragged away by the jackals are the sights that are never to be forgotten’ (6). Secondly, the pre and post-Partition Bengal and its impact on ordinary people. The Partition was done on the basis of Hindu-Muslim religious riot the devastating impact of which is still perforating Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. After the partition, people became more dominated by religious fundamentalism. So called Imams and other leaders started to take the opportunity of the ignorance of ordinary people to dominate them. Even in the novel, it is depicted how the ill-omened house is haunted by djinns. And to be safe from them, people have to take Tabij (amulets) or other superstitious precautions. Politicians, who used religious sentiment as their political weapon, are not the characters of this novel, yet they dominate the plot. Readers can smell gunpowder though they don’t see a single gun. The famine emerged during World War II, the country became independent in the name of religion, and politicians were benefitted in various ways. This paper tends to show how insignificant this independence is for the ordinary people. Just within five or six years of independence, Ishaque realized that nothing positive was going to happen in independent Pakistan, a religion-based state. Independence in the name of religion is of no use to the ordinary people; rather, religion becomes another weapon of domination for the ‘independent religious-political leaders’. Politicians didn’t create war for economic- social- psychological freedom of these marginalized people. They wanted to fix up their own geographical border where they would practice power freely. National and international politicians created war and took their own shares. But the inextricable strike of the rodent paw of war descends on those who don’t know the who- what- why- how of the war. They don’t even know who are fighting against whom. The people dying of starvation are innocent and their only fund is some simple- impeccable dreams. One of these dreams is to have enough food for survival. This simple dream becomes an unreality when riot begins, war haunts and famine strikes. This paper also tries to show the true condition of a newly independent East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where the infamous famine of 1943 has already stricken. It also tries to depict the condition of so called low life marginalized people. Has the controversial Partition of Bengal really benefited either Hindus or Muslims? Has it really freed people of religious, political or economic subservience? These questions are still valid because the devastating War of Liberation of 1971 again left an almost-permanent scar in the soul of Bangladesh. The necessity of the Liberation War proves that a partition on the basis of religion can never bring good luck to a country.