European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies (EJELLS)

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Exploration of Marginalized Characters in “The Search”: Subaltern Voices (Published)

Shaheen Akhter’s The Search is a novel that gives insight to how the 1971 liberation war was perceived by various groups of people, from the people of power to the powerless and the victims of that power. It also explores the theme of marginalization, subalternity and cultural hegemony particularly through its portrayal of women, who were not only victims of war and oppression of the enemy but also by their own people and kins. Through the lens of subaltern theory and by using a qualitative approach, this paper aims to expose how the characters of the novel became subalterns, were marginalized by the enemy power and the very society that they themselves belonged to. While focusing on the possible causes that are responsible for their silence, this paper tries to be the voice of the unrecognized whose voices often go unheard, misheard and ultimately muted. Even if they attempt to express themselves, their words are never truly acknowledged.


Keywords: Subaltern, War Victims, cultural hegemony, marginalization, oppression.

Justine Moritz, a subaltern in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (Published)

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

Keywords: Frankenstein, Gramsci, Hegemony, Justine, Representation., Spivak, Subaltern

(Re) Collecting the Memory of Bulawayo through Naming In Short Writings from Bulawayo (Published)

The fundamental concern of this paper is that the process of naming in the short writings from Bulawayo, the ‘ City of Kings’ that includes short stories and poems encodes the ideological envision of Bulawayo as the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The last hundred years’ social history of Bulawayo has been sculpted alongside the broader Zimbabwean national history, by particular circumstances of colonial conquest occupation; of colonial capitalism, with its lopsided economy, a system of circulatory labour migration; and of policy controversies and resistance regarding the control of space: physical, social, political, psychological, and historical. This paper presents that these factors are typical of most cities in Southern Africa. What distinguishes Bulawayo an urban centre is not only its distinct socio-historical experience with white settler governments and social change but also its experience with the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government in the post-independence period, which has been characterised by politics of exclusion and attempts to obliterate the experiences of the Ndebele ethnic group in the national cultural symbols. Antroponyms, geographical names, names based on history and brand names, used by authors in short writings from Bulawayo, have a telling effect as they capture the cultural heritage and identity of the City of Bulawayo. The paper draws its examples from an understanding that the postcolonial period, within which Zimbabwe as a country celebrated its independence in 1980, has witnessed a massive drive towards renaming of streets, buildings, places, schools, and other social amenities in order to recapture the identity of Bulawayo and represent its peculiarity to the other cities in Zimbabwe and the whole world in general. Also of note has been the overriding need to preserve the exploits of the liberation war icons from Matabeleland. The continued redefinition of the history of Bulawayo, particularly in the post-2000 period characterised by extensive closure of companies and de-industrialisation, has been a major concern as the short writings have shown an attempt to restore the glamour of Bulawayo and the subaltern representation that has characterised the City as a marginalised entity in comparison to other cities such as Harare. In the final analysis, this paper engages with both the theoretical and literary discourses of regionification, nationhood and representation as forms of identity creation. In this light, the paper uses the socio-historical approach to premise its arguments.  

Keywords: Bulawayo, Ideology, Region, Short Writings, Subaltern

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