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Post Colonialism in Albert Camus' the Outsider

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"I have no pride,

No pride, no name, no fame, no country.

I don't belong no where." (Jean Rhy; Good Morning, Midnight (1913)).

Post colonialism is one of the major issues which the writers of twentieth century have adopted for enriching the awareness of the colonized readers. Albert Camus, though not fully in contact with it, is one of them. His psychoanalytic writing The Outsider not only shows human psyche, but also concerns with the term post colonialism. In this assignment I have intended to shed some light on the postcolonial attitude towards the Arab. For this the definition of the term post colonialism in relation with colonialism will be focused, because post colonialism is the consequence of colonialism. The theories on colonialism and post colonialism of Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Chinua Achebe and Frantz Fanon are used here to elaborate and clarify the terms. Then I would relate the term with the novella The Outsider. The focus of the later parts will be on the treatment of the Arab by Meaursault and the consequences of their relationship. Here the situation of middle eastern countries at that time would prove helpful to understand the Arab. At the end of my discussion I would like to give some textual references to clarify my ideas.

The Cambridge Dictionary of English defines colonialism as "the belief in and support for the system of one country controlling another." But in a wider sense it is nothing at all. It is about suppression and oppression of one country over the other. Edward Said has defined the term as "a western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the orient."(Ethnic studies, post coloniality and international studies; p.873). In this essay Said states that occident considers them as 'we' and the rest of the world is 'other' for them. The orient is not a free subject of "thought or action." Said proposed that power and knowledge are "an inseparable binary intellectual relation"; therefore, the knowledge of the Orient gave the West the power to name peoples, places, and cultures, and thus the power to control them, the peoples of The East. This results an identity crisis for the eastern people.

But later this identity crisis grows awareness in the people of the east which gave birth to post colonialism. In a literal sense, "postcolonial" is that which has been preceded by colonization. The second college edition of The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "of, relating to, or being the time following the establishment of independence in a colony." In the essay "Introduction to Post Colonialism" it is stated, "The formation of the colony through various mechanisms of control and the various stages in the development of anti-colonial nationalism interest many scholars in the field. By extension, sometimes temporal considerations give way to spatial ones in that the cultural productions and social formations of the colony long before colonization are used to better understand the experience of colonization. Moreover, the "postcolonial" sometimes includes countries that have yet to achieve independence, or people in First World countries who are minorities, or even independent colonies that now contend with "neocolonial" forms of subjugation through expanding capitalism and globalization. In all of these senses, the "postcolonial," rather than indicating only a specific and materially historical event, seems to describe the second half of the twentieth-century in general as a period in the aftermath of the heyday of colonialism. Even more generically, the "postcolonial" is used to signify a position against imperialism and Euro centrism. Western ways of knowledge production and dissemination in the past and present then become objects of study for those seeking alternative means of expression".(

If we go through an elaborate description then as it is suggested in the Post Colonial Drama, can be said "The term post-colonialism -- according to a too-rigid etymology -- is frequently misunderstood as a temporal concept, meaning the time after colonialism has ceased, or the time following the politically determined Independence Day on which a country breaks away from its governance by another state. Not a naïve teleological sequence, which supersedes colonialism, post-colonialism is, rather, an engagement with, and contestation of colonialism's discourses, power structures, and social hierarchies. A theory of post-colonialism must, then, respond to more than the merely chronological construction of post-independence, and to more than just the discursive experience of imperialism. (Post-Colonial Drama; 1996.)

Now if we judge the text on the basis of these theories then we would find some similarities between them. Starting from the story, we are introduced to the character of the Arab in chapter 5 and 6, part 1. The impression of the Arab is not impressive. The Arab is introduced as an evil character by Raymond. He says' "if you see him near the house this evening when you come home, warn me." Here we see that the impression that is given to Meursault is very much suspicious and as a friend of Raymond, the Arab is to be Meursault's enemy. Consequently we see that the Arab is being judged by them as a rival without knowing his intension. The Arab followed them and that's why Raymond thought that the Arab has come to kill or bit him. Meursault also feel the same. But he did not even think of his friends fault or the intension of the Arab. All this is because the person is an Arab, an orient. Meausault says, 'I hadn't stopped looking at the Arab'. And for the occidents the orients are savages and they can murder anyone very easily with any kind of lame excuses. But Raymond was guilty in his relationship. It was his duty to apologize to the brother but the same thing comes in their relationship and that is the colonizer and colonized.




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