Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing Essay

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Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's 'Surfacing' Margaret Atwood's novel 'Surfacing' demonstrates the complex question of identity for an English-speaking Canadian female. Identity, for the protagonist has become problematic because of her role as a victim of colonial forces. She has been colonized by men in the patriarchal society in which she grew up, by Americans and their cultural imperialism, or neo-colonialism as it has come to be known as, and the Euro-centric legacy that remains in her country although the physical presence of English and French rulers have gone. This collective colonial experience of the protagonist, and the analogous …show more content…
The damage caused to those who have been colonized (which I use as an umbrella term to encompass the collective experience outlined above) is platformed by Atwood through her focus on how one individual has been affected, and just as the novel chooses to focus on certain effects and issues of colonization, so I choose to focus on those of language, history and culture. This brief examination of their problematic nature for the protagonist of the novel should demonstrate their role in feminist postcolonial discourse, their importance to an individual's construction of identity, and how vital our sense of self is to our mental well-being. 'Surfacing' does not deal with the physical act of colonising a country, but instead it focuses on the aftermath and the mental colonising that still exists, long after so-called decolonisation has occurred; this is a much more insidious form of colonization and control and it has left people with words that do not express their ideas, a displacement from the country or cultural group to which they belong and a past

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