Internal Conflict : First Wave Criticism Essay

1203 Words Nov 13th, 2014 null Page
Few theoretical fields can compare with the amount of internal conflict that plagues postcolonial theory: a semmingly constant stream of debates centring on internal rather than external elements. One such debate can be located between the ‘first wave’ and ‘second wave’ critics of the theory, who are often engaged with one another in a rather antagonistic manner. A simple explanation of the stances of each wave can be stated as such: first wave criticism challenges the colonial status quo, whereas second wave instigates a critique of first wave criticism. Therefore, as Ellen Grunkemeier states, it is “inappropriate” to class the second wave as a replacement of the first wave; rather they co-exist within the theory, clashing but neither gaining the upper hand. The divide that exists between these two modes of criticism can be tentatively narrowed down to the essential difference of interests: first wave criticism is primarily concerned with literary analysis, whereas second wave critics promote a shift towards the political. This essay will endeavour to discuss the divide which exists between ‘first wave’ and ‘second wave’ postcolonial criticism, with specific focus paid to their disagreement on the issue of ‘resistance’ using J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians and Derek Walcott’s Omeros as literary examples. The Oxford Dictionary definition of the word ‘resistance’ is “the refusal to accept or comply with something”. Both first and second wave postcolonial…

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