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Literary Analysis Something Torn And New

891 words - 4 pages

EGL 002October 31, 2012Literary Analysis EssayDismemberment of AfricaIn Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's, Something Torn and New, Thiong'o seeks to explain how Africa was dis-membered and its identity was destroyed and European memory deeply embedded in its place. The colonization of Africa robbed Africa of not only the physical resources as considered by many, but the identity and memory as well, thus creating dismemberment.Thiong'o first describes dis-membering practices as both literal and metaphorical. For he gives the examples of King Hinsta of the Xhosas in South Africa, who was beheaded by the Europeans and his head sent to a museum, an act of domination meant to show that Africans were now subservient to European interests since they had and controlled the head which is responsible for all thought processes and decisions. The metaphoric part of dis-membering took the form of separating the man from his continent through slavery. By cutting of the man from his roots, his people and his language, his memory would be lost and replaced by the one from the new land he would be living in.Language is the key element to the process of dis-membering and planting of European memory in Africa. He introduces two words, linguicide- defined as the total elimination of a language by whatever means necessary, willingly or violently. The other word linguifam is defined as deliberate starving of one's language. Linguicide was used on slaves and is undoubtedly still being used in countries where you cannot speak your own language but have to adapt or speak a universal language as a means of communication. Linguifam was used and is still being used in Africa where foreign languages are now considered official and above native languages and how people must use these in communicating.In contrast to dis-membering, Thiong'o introduces the subject of remembering visions; his explanation of how the remembering started. Ngugi outlines the role played by the Africans in the diaspora, as well as on the continent. He also seeks to explain the role of linguicide and linguifam both on the continent and in the diaspora, as tools of dismemberment and how they ironically play a role in the remembering stage.Thiong'o refers to an African myth that portrays a story of pain, death, dismemberment and how love and determination resulted in remembering and bringing to life of the same character. This resembles the story of Africa; how slavery and colonialism brought untold death, pain and suffering to both Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, and how through determination and love for the continent, African peoples fought colonialists and liberated their continent, and sought to remember their broken and shattered identity. There have been some conscious efforts made...

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