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Mary Magdalene or Virgin Mary: Nationalism and the Concept of Woman in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Sayyed Rahim Moosavinia, Seyyede Maryam Hosseini & Shahid Chamran

University of Ahvaz, Iran

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Abstract

Foucault believes that people live in systems of power different from one era to another. He applies the term “power archives” to demonstrate that those inside an institute cannot be aware of the subtle ways of power imposed on them. Likewise, it would be oversimplification to think that with the apparent end of colonialism, the colonized subjects will be free from subjugating contexts. In the case of women, the situation is even worse since they are repressed by both the colonialist and the post-colonial nationalist. “Under the anxiety of the influence” of the former colonial father, the once-belittled colonial men turn to support their females in terms of their body and soul, and in this way define them inside a strictly demarcated roles of good wives, mothers, and households or vicious prostitutes. Bessie Head in her semi-autobiographical masterpiece subtly examines this idea and through her coloured protagonist, Elizabeth, attempts to re-deconstruct this notion.

The Utopian Quest in Bessie Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather and Maru

Adamu Pangmeshi, University of Maroua

Abstract

Prior to Nelson Mandela’s ascension to power in South Africa, literature of the country had been essentially a protest against the dehumanizing treatment that was meted on the Blacks by the minority Whites who were at the helm of power through the policy of apartheid. This somehow created socio-political upheavals and a pervasive atmosphere. Consequently, some writers while unfolding this social enigma, did so with a vision of proposing an ideal society for humanity. One of them is Bessie Head. This paper seeks to examine Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather and Maru in a bid to demonstrate that her quest for a perfect society has been provoked by her experiences in life and the dystopian South African. Informed by new historicism, it is argued that an ideal or a perfect society is a figment of the imagination.

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