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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Silence and Representation in Selected Postcolonial Texts
Authors: Zachariah, Tirzah
Supervisor(s): Murphy, David
Keywords: silence
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2016
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis discusses female silence, voice and representation as portrayed in four postcolonial novels written by Asian female writers or those from the Asian diaspora. The novels included in the corpus are The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo, Brick Lane by Monica Ali and Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne. This thesis aims to explore the different strategies adopted by the authors to represent different forms of silence of the type highlighted in theoretical work by Spivak, Olsen and Showalter. The novels analysed open up new contexts in which issues of silence, migration, displacement and multiculturalism, which are central in postcolonial literature, are explored. In its examination of these issues in detail, the thesis has been influenced by postcolonial and diasporic studies, with a focus on women’s issues and feminist thought. Instead of focusing on the role of silence solely in relation to specific characters, the thesis attempts to engage with the complex ways in which these narratives represent various forms, moments and scenes of silence. From the analysis, we can exemplify that the novels can also be used to suggest the ambivalences of speaking/not-speaking via the narrative representations of silence. Authorial silence involves the author’s deliberate refusal to speak directly in the text ; instead, the author utilises several literary devices to convey something indirectly to the reader. Silence is also linked to concepts such as shame, secrets and gossip. One is likely to refrain from speaking if he or she is ashamed, secretive or is the topic of gossip in one’s community. There are also some female characters who are portrayed as not-speaking, or choosing to remain silent so as not to cause problems for the family. A few other characters have been portrayed as refusing to speak out as they have been traumatised into silence. Lastly, women can also be complicit in holding on to patriarchal structures and in the process, attempt to speak out in order to to silence or to cause problems to other women.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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