Can the Subaltern Be Heard: Subalternisation in the Context of the God of Small Things


Colonialism and Post-colonialism are theoretically speaking two mutually entangled but conflicting terms. Colonialism prospered on exploitation, hegemony, control, and deprivation of the colonized; creating an aura of its “otherness” for the specific goals. Spivak’s “Can the subaltern speak” draws attention to the “ general attribute of subordination in the south Asian society” and “oppressed subject”position in the context of the oppression exercised by the colonial politics and legacy. The postcolonial theory despite intricacies surrounding its complex interdisciplinary nature and definition . This paper argues that Roy fluctuates subtly between two opposing colonial and post-colonial modes and draws on both to develop a complex pattern of meanings in her award winning The God of Small Things. Roy’s preoccupation with the colonial legacy seems to work in two directions. There is a palpable affiliation with the colonial legacy in terms of will to bring about some sort of social reforms in the culturally enclosed and diversified society of India and secondly promote women liberalism as a part of Feminist schematics to bring to end gender discrimination and materialize female emancipation. She reverts to the colonial mode of social reformation in the Indian subcontinent and raises strong voice against societal division along castes and creeds; acknowledging Spivak like enabling part of the colonialism.Written in 1969, the novel repeats history to draw attention to need for substantial social reformation in the independent India.

Author Information
Fiza Tauqeer, Imperial College of Business Studies, Pakistan

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2015
Stream: Literature - Asian Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon