Disorienting the Native Struggle for Independence: A Postcolonial Reading of Leila Slimani's Historical Novel, The Country of Others
Keywords:The Country of Others, Leila Slimani, Post-colonial reading, Struggle for independence
Novels can both reinforce colonialism and undermine liberation movements, especially when they echo colonial narratives. This dynamic is critically examined in Leila Slimani's historical novel, "The Country of Others," through a postcolonial close reading approach. The novel's depiction of France's colonialism in Morocco is presented in a misleading light. It offers a stark contrast in character portrayal: European characters are depicted as agents of a “civilizing mission,” with aspirations to bring prosperity, good health, and education to Moroccans. This portrayal not only feeds into a narrative of cultural superiority, depicting Europeans as emotionally complex and culturally advanced, but also subtly suggests benevolence in their colonial endeavors. Conversely, indigenous Moroccan characters are shown in a more one-dimensional and negative manner, often associated with violence, particularly against women. Furthermore, the novel intertwines Morocco's struggle for national independence with contemporary discourses on Islamic extremism, casting this historical fight less as a pursuit of freedom and more as an aggressive and antagonistic movement.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Hamza Bekkaoui
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