The Subaltern can Speak in Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People (1981)

By Mohammad Deyab.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the most important and complex aspects of Nadine Gordimer’s thought is her ongoing attempt to find a voice that is appropriate to describe the experiences and histories of Southern Africans, who have been historically oppressed, dispossessed and exploited. The objective of this paper is to show how, in July’s People (1981), Gordimer argues for the ability of the disempowered subaltern to “speak back” through the reversed relationship between July, the Native servant, and his European master and mistress, the Smales. Taking Spivak’s theory of the Subaltern as a framework, this paper revisits the thorny issue of whether or not the subaltern can speak for himself against his master. The paper argues that Gordimer, by writing July’s People, attempts to recover the silenced voice of the “subaltern” and repressed “colonial subject,” the Black Servant, July, and , thus empowering the “subaltern” in such a way that might make the marginalized subaltern visible under colonial and post-colonial rule.

Keywords: Subaltern, Nadine Gordimer, South Africa, Empowering, Patriarchal Power

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.341-350. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.116KB).

Dr. Mohammad Deyab

Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Translation, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Taibah University at Madinah Munawwarah, Madinah Munwarah, Madinah, Saudi Arabia

Ph.D. in English, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA 2004; Concentrations: American Literature, English Literature, Rehetoric Composition; Dissertation: Womanist Discourse in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye(1970), Sula (1974), and Beloved (1987): Analytical and Computational Study. Advisor: Prof. Elizabth Klaver. M.A. in English, Faculty of Arts, Tanta University, 1997. Concentrations: English Literature; Thesis: The Quest for Identity in the Fiction of Graham Greene with Special Reference to : The Man Within( 1929) and A Burnt Out Case (1962). Post Gradaute Level, University of Tanta, Egypt, 1993. B.A. in English: Menoufia University, Egypt, 1991. Concentrations: Literature, Linguisitcs. CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS: Feminist Studies, Postcoloinal Studies, Modern English, and American Novels, Comparative Studies, Ecocritical Studies.


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