Social Imperatives of Gender and Race Reflected Through `Rabbit-Proof-Fence` and `Don’t Take Your Love To Town`
The notion of race and gender are strong in contemporary discourse as well as society itself. Furthermore, such imperative social issues relating to identity can be seen as being reflected in literature regarding the merge between traditional life and post-colonial life (Morrison, 2004). This is will be analysed via the texts Rabbit Proof Fence and Don’t Take Your Love to Town. In relation to race, post colonial critic Fanon states that although one may appear accepted by society on the grounds of one’s colour, one is still confronted by an ‘imaginary’ identity forced by the ‘civilised other’ (Fanon, 1952). Showing its social significance, post colonial theorist Said suggests that this is tied to an entire discourse of western history based upon ‘greater civility’ (Said, 1978).
In relation to gender, this is made all the more significant by Spivak’s observation of the ‘subjugation of the female‘, who suffers not only at the hands of her race and history, but also her sex via this history becoming contemporary (Spivak, 1999). Highlighting the significance of this racially and sexually constructed socio-historical imperative, Leland notes that the identity compensates through language. Essentially, a new ‘hybrid language’ is playfully found within the confines of modernistic colonial society and traditional colonised society that delivers an identity (Leland, 2005). This is accentuated in terms of literature by the global critic Bhabha, who suggests that the usual narratives of political and social disharmony are moved from the mainstream interpretation of the text into one based upon a ‘fluid’ identity (Bhabha, 1994). It is from this source of cultural identity that the role of social imperatives in the aforementioned texts will be analysed.
Bhabha, H., (1994) The Location of Culture New York: Routledge
Fanon, F., (1952) Black Skin, White Masks London: Constance Farrington
Langford, R., Don’t Take Your Love To Town
Leland, J., (2005) Hip: The History New York: Ecco
Pilkington, D., Rabbit-Proof-Fence (2002) Miramax
Morrison, T., (2004) Beloved New York: Vintage
Said, E., (1978) Orientalism Oxford: Penguin Classics
Spivak, G, C., (1999) A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present Harvard University Press