Apostrophe in Coetzee's Une Tempéte

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The Postcolonial narratives are often presented in the form of cultural translation such as the transcultural exchange and negotiations which takes place in a specified space open to criticism, discussion and denunciation from which to rewrite and evoke history by reflecting of the experience. With this dimension, the starting point of this essay will be documenting the postcolonial representation of Coetzee and Cesaire (two enslaved characters) as they take there role in Aime Cesaire Une.

To start with both books were derived from the writing back process by restructuring and reinterpreting the original texts from the colonial and postcolonial of Europe respectively. This method also consists of translating the understanding of particular colonial literature by reflecting the immigrant experiences as people lived from the colonised standpoint. The research also conveys the reading from colonisation and post-colonisation. These kinds of writing, therefore, expand into new worlds including the pre-empting that took place in the nineteenth century when the empires arose. The canonical authors ensured that they interacted with the outside world from Europe thus conveying the opinion of what happened during the colonial era.

The literature is also described in hyberbolisation sets and realities especially the ones that have the cultural propaganda. The works are also inspired by the feudally hierarchized system that reflects on colonialisms of the subjugation systems which involve violence and savage but taken in the form of a civilised way of living in the world through obedience. The practice in the colonial era is predicted from the binary options of others and self, servant or master, silence and voice and dominated and dominator. It is, therefore, one reason why this paper will revolve around these terms while examining the impact of language on the realisation of cultural translation.

Coetzee’s and Cesaire narration as compared to Defoe’s and Shakespeare's canonical works resemble what was called Homi Bhabha through the cultural translation even though it defines the concept of the representation of the culture, leading to a direct intercultural contact. In the postcolonial studies, the interpretations and self perceives into the otherness of the literature an language happens to be the product of unequal exchange but under the up-down, vertical relationship between the colonised and coloniser. We will, therefore, develop both the concepts of both authors concerning the assertion, of the African culture, consciousness, and identity.

Master/Slaves

The most character noticed in Foe is that he usually suffers from mutilation starting from the eighteenth century under the name Daniel Defoe because he was metaphorically mutilated of the invisible Foe. As much it has been interpreted in the literature, the term ‘Foe’ also referred to the Native Wild Friday and the European archenemy. However, the name was also echoed as ‘Defoe’ where the audience became aware when they analysed the literature further. From this view, Coetzee’s novel deliberates Daniel Defoe’s mutilation due to his humble origins that makes him lose his social superiority.

Again, while the names talk more about the identity of an individual’s status, Coetzee has a character of the archetypical coloniser. While this is imposed in the name of Caliban which acts as an identity as he is chosen, the master/slave roles are however changed by Coetzee. For instance, the colonised is imposed because of the identification of Foe and Cruso.

In Une Tempete, Prospero institulizes the language for his mother to feed his servants  (Ariel and Caliban) the word of the master so that the community could accept and understand them. This will make their language to be civilised because they would have managed to realise their master’s word. This style was mostly used by the Mulato slaves Ariel who always thought that the hybridised figure as compared to Caliban who rejected the rebels to get their promise. Even though Caliban and Ariel were shaped into the image of Prospero, the characters had a different reaction to that of the identity and learning construction.

In both books, almost every character goes through mutilation starting with Daniel Defoe, the author of the British eighteenth century. Language, in this case, remains the only tool that Caliban has being a member of the segregate minority. Since he had been tasked with the mission civilisatrice of a coloniser expert who domesticated the savage, he had to be taught how to speak, interact and communicate concerning behaviour. However, Caliban had to give evidence to show that he was an enemy of fear and his mission was to make sure the European King has fallen. In this case, Caliban puts his master to the test by using the improper message to create systematic violence between the slave and the master.

Prospero regrets having given him a tool that is so powerful which makes Caliban very rebellious and not friendly (Baig et al., 222). Caliban only tool as a black slave is a language which equips him to be ready for the mission. After teaching the colony the new language and new behaviours, the colonisers feels that the territory owes him. The colonisers see this as a tough task of civilising the original settlement. Caliban feels it is time to use language that he has learnt to use it to achieve his objective of overthrowing the king. Caliban turns to be violent but not physically to his master by using native language when conversing.

Their different races and coloniser/ colony positions between Caliban and Prospero makes Prospero address Caliban that way. This way of solving is used to maintain the identity of Europeans and their social status. The style of directing was also to show differentiation between the colonisers and colonies. Without the identity, Prospero would be seen as lost. Treating the colonised differently made Prospero recreate his character as a European and maintain it. Maintain the integrity makes him continue belonging to the European culture.

Prospero acknowledges that for him to be the master and have power over the colonised land support from the subordinate is required. Without being recognised and supported by them, he cannot rule. Caliban increases rebelliousness to Prospero government shows that he is behaving the same way as the authority. Tempete highlights that a revolution is the only way that will break the salve master bond.

Voice

The Novel by Coetzee is related to the apartheid period in South Africa. Friday lack of speech symbolises the way the government controlled and denied free communication of its citizens. The same as Friday in the novel the apartheid regime led to segregation and lack of the freedom of speech to South Africans.

The hierarchy of the citizens according to Foe’s novel is the European men, European ladies second and the slaves last. Coetzee using a female as the narrator shows how many accounts in the book cannot be trusted. The female character may have explained the reason why Friday did not show any respect. Friday does not see Susan as an authority because she does not behave according to the Negro culture. Susan’s consistent curiosity to learn about Friday’s past and mingling to his privacy makes Friday not respect her. This part shows how Friday was to determine the new style of speech which Susan was presenting to him.

Freedom

Friday silence and Caliban freedom to behave they he wants makes them be portrayed as resistant to the new culture. Caliban uses his freedom to plan a revolution against Prospero, his master. Prospero in another way tries to teach his slaves the original language and them to adopt his culture which fails, and Caliban uses this as an advantage to rebel Prospero. In this plot, Cesaire shows how the slave can surpass the coloniser and overthrow him. Caliban is seen as uncivilised as he does not want to adopt the new culture by challenging his master and wanting to defeat him.  

Prospero has the illusion that if Caliban can speak using his language and adapting his culture, then he is civilised. Caliban understands this, and even after learning the new style he still refuses to use it. Caliban now rebels using native language knowing that communication is the only tool that he has to win back freedom. Caliban resistance continues because he understands that learning of the new language would not stop him from being a slave.

Friday uses the non-verbal language because of his silence. Susan Barton sees Friday lack of speech as being a beast because he cannot express his thoughts. Animals cannot communicate, and so Friday is categorised as one.  Friday silence is symbolised as him lacking intelligence. Friday now is portrayed to be uncivilised. Not having the verbal language makes Friday not to be able to reveal his thoughts to the master which makes him not civilised. Lack of communication also makes not to have an identity. The silence in some way is seen as a way of resisting to the new culture and learning the original style. Lack of expression makes Friday now to be civilised and be seen as a cannibal.

Friday evidence of not being civilised also shows up when Susan passed a fingernail in his teeth, and he opened his mouth to eat it. Wanting to bite the nail showed how the cannibalism culture sill in Friday (Robinson 204). But in Friday’s culture men were being shown respect through cannibalism. In comparison, Cesaire writings showed how Caliban used language, and in Foe’s novel, Friday used to silence not to be civilised. Communication was seen as a way of civilisation which both Caliban and Friday lacked. Caliban uncivilised is shown when Ariel accepts and recognises Prospero as the authority he does not. Prospero then describes him as an ape.

Caliban uses language to try to win many people even the Europeans to the fight against Prospero and colonisation. In contrast, Friday uses silences and does not interact with the outside world to fight the masters. Friday’s silence helps him to understand his thoughts and identity.  Friday rejecting to wear shoes showed how uncivilised he was because animals also do not wear shoes. In Friday mind he saw if he wears the boots it means he will be conforming to the maters culture. Friday's rejection Susan to join him in dancing also showed the civilisation. Prospero is denying Caliban the freedom to go and get an education as other people showed how Caliban was imprisoned. If Caliban had gotten the education then he would have fought his freedom early and those of his people. Friday not relaying any information to Susan showed how he was struggling to get his freedom.

The use of words likes Uhuru (Swahili word which means freedom) by Caliban just showed how he wanted freedom. Caliban believed in the use of language to fight for his freedom. He was singing songs from his native language (Ounde) which Prospero did not understand to pass his message to want freedom. Susan Barton was trying to get information from Friday by pleasing which showed reversed roles, but Friday rejected. Friday was very obedient in doing everything that the master wanted but silent in communicating with them. Friday understood that his silence was the tool he could use to get free.

Assimilation

For Friday and his master who was dead, their racial and hierarchical differences were primarily the behaviour. While Friday was obedient in doing the duties assigned to him, Cruso avoided forcing him to engage him on any unwanted assimilation or communication under the coloniser’s cultural values. While the primary character in Robinson, it also acculturates Friday through his costumes and language on Coetzee’s narration. Cruso also plays a vital role because he is not interested in forcing Friday to acculturation that he does not desire.

Tension then built up and ruined the bond between Prospero and Caliban because no one knew who to blame. This makes Friday remain uncanny in Coetzee's on whether his tongue should be cut. If this happened, he would not have the understanding of the European rule. However, Friday denied that he can manage to transmit and communicate knowledge. He also feared that he would have robbed a story from the past.

Caliban a character in the play of Tempest is a person who is very resistant and not ready to learn (Robinson, 431). Friday from a character from Foe is a very obedient person who is prepared to learn but cannot because of not having the speech organs (Baig et al., 239).  Both of them cannot be able to interpret and understand information presented to them. Caliban cannot be able to learn a new language by choice, but for Friday the reasons are beyond his control. 

Friday, on the other hand, is linguistic mutilation that is silenced. This confinement, for instance, acts as a passive in resistance because it makes Friday not to learn the coloniser's language thus preventing him from communicating to the people that have a similar style. This made Friday unable to use the same word as used by Coetzee who was a political writer. Coetzee also used to create the anti-colonial writings to address the invader to learn how to adapt from the invader. The mutilation of Friday is also perceived to prevent the chances of the human relationship.

Becoming a slave entails a lot of trauma that makes one uproot the other person from their native homeland and take them to an unknown area where they contact different classed of races that are forbidden. This mutilation conjures the difference when it comes to cultures through a profound silence between the cultures thus dissociating the understanding between two cultures.  One way to solve the issues of the European foreigner is by overcoming the cultural differences that impositions the native language of the foreigner. This also enables the communication to be interesting between using the corresponding noun and the adjective native since the colonised native adapts to the coloniser’s native language.

Caliban relationship with his master Prospero is a violent one as Caliban is very resistant to what his masters commands him to do. From the play, it was portraying that Caliban was imprisoned himself by lack of language to communicate to his master. The lack of communication to use made it difficult for him to communicate with his master. Caliban using his native language like Kiswahili when saying the word Uhuru (meaning freedom) made it impossible to communicate with the master (Robinson 435.)

For Friday he was ready to learn a new language with the help of Susan who tries to teach to use feminist's philosophy of using silence and body (Baig et al., 241). Susan tries to bring back Friday speech by use of fingers which is the only option. Lack of background about the new language makes it difficult for Friday to learn reading and writing texts. Prospero gave the gift of "water of berries"to Caliban, only for Caliban to reject the gift (Robinson, 240 ). The charity which symbolises language shows how Caliban was very reluctant even to try to learn. It is also seen as a way by Caliban to resist the colonisation as learning the new language meant that he would be dependent on Prospero.

For Friday there was no way of teaching him the new language because of lack of tongue. Susan struggles of preparing the original speech to become as tricky as Susan has no history about Friday which makes the learning more hectic. Prospero in the play and writing is seen to control the egos of Caliban which makes it difficult for a smooth relationship. The managing and monitoring of Caliban make him more resistant to want to learn the language for his interpretation.

For Friday many the Europeans colonisers did not see it as possible for a slave to learn voluntarily to learn. This way it was hard for Friday to learn any language first because he was a slave and second his condition of lack of tongue. Caliban would have been able to end his slavery from Prospero by use of language but because he did not understand it was challenging to do that (Robinson 247).

When shouting Uhuru, a Kiswahili word (meaning freedom) showed that he was fighting to be free, but his master was not able to understand. Another example is when he was singing a song in a native language (Ouende) showed he wanted freedom which could have gotten but his master was not able to interpret. Friday lack of speech made it impossible for him to ask for freedom. It was hard for him to fight for his freedom as the most significant weapon to use would be communication (Baig et al., 237).

 Civilising

Caliban, he has been described as an evil who cannot change. His characters are similar to a person who has not evolved or showed any signs of humanity (Robinson, 244). Caliban is very rude and does not want to change. For Friday he is willing to learn and be civilised, but lack of speech makes it difficult for him. Friday also lacks the support from the colonisers to enable him to change because they believe his willingness to want to change (Baig et al. 235).  Caliban is very savage and not friendly which makes it difficult for him to embrace new ways. Friday is described to be very friendly and open who is ready to embrace the change of lifestyle but being unable to communicate made him not change entirely. 

Caliban lack of civilisation is portrayed that he has not able to separate himself from the natural world. Caliban here is likened to an animal which shows that he behaves like an animal. Friday acts like a human, but lack of communication makes him be seen as uncivilised because also animals cannot communicate. Caliban show of no civilisation portrayed as he refused to accept that he was a slave and that would help him find his identity.

The denial of receiving his status made it hard for him to get civilised. Friday took his situation a slave and person who lacks speech and thus strived to learn more things to be enlightened (Robinson, 248). Learning to use fingers to communicate showed that he was ready to learn wanted to be civilised as others. Prospero was offering Caliban chances of civilisation and power, but he kept rejecting. The resisting made it hard for him to embrace change and learn new things. Being given power and rejecting showed he was not ready to accept change which would have brought his freedom and civilisation.

Friday was not resistant, but he was not getting the opportunities like Caliban. The only weapon that Friday got was trying to learn new speech which was very difficult (Baig et al., 240). Caliban resisting colonisation showed that he did not want to learn the many things that are brought by the colonisers which they cannot have. The resisting also showed his animal behaviours which are very uncivilised. Friday on the other side was not aggressive and accepted to colonised without rebelling and remained friendly. The friendliness showed how civilised Friday was and not being rebellious.

Not being able to understand the language used in the Caribbean by Caliban and showed how he was not civilised. Civilisation means being able to interact with other and communicate effectively freely. Friday was able to be friendly and interact freely but not able to talk. Caliban was refusing to receive gifts from his master just showed how uncivilised was. Gifts are gestures that show friendship.

Caliban rejecting it showed that he was not in the idea of forming a friendly relationship with his master. Friday was accepting Susan to teach him new ways of speech just showed how civilised he was. The use of native language by Caliban even knowing that no one understands just showed how uncivilised he was. Friday learning to use fingers and visualising as his way of the speech showed civilisation as everybody would communicate with him (Baig et al., 240).

Concussion

Comparisons of the two slaves Friday from Foe and Caliban from the tempest narratives that are often presented as in the form of cultural translation such as the transcultural exchange and negotiation. The literature is also described in hyberbolisation sets and realities especially the ones that have the cultural propaganda. In both books, almost every character goes through mutilation starting with Daniel Defoe, the author of the British eighteenth century.

To begin with, both books were derived from the writing back process by restructuring and reinterpreting the original texts from the colonial and postcolonial of Europe respectively. This style was mostly used by the Mulato slaves Ariel who always thought that the hybridised figure as compared to Caliban who rejected the rebels to get their promise. Both authors have managed to show the similarities about freedom, voice, master-slave and civilising by using various methods to ensure that the audience understands. As a result, both books show that the characters played multiple roles. For the master-slave, it shows how both had difficulties in using language and this brought contradictions between the two. As a result, the slave ends up receiving a punishment that they don’t deserve. In civilising, Caliban, he has been described as an evil who cannot change. His characters are similar to a person who has not evolved or showed any signs of humanity

 

Reference

Baig, Mirza Muhammad Zubair. “His/Her Man Friday: Re-Righting /-Writing of an Inaccessible Cannibal in J.M. Coetzee’s Foe. “Kashmir Journal of Language Research, vol. 19, no 2, July 2016, p 239.EBSCOhost, 

Robinson, James E. ‘Caribbean Caliban: Shifting the “I” of the storm.” Comparative Drama, vol. 33, no. 4, Winter99/2000 1999, p. 431. EBSCOhost,

November 24, 2023
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