Slavery, Racism and Colonial Ambivalence: A Postcolonial Perspective on Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Or the Royal Slave: A True History

Authors

  • Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Zahid Iqbal Assistant Professor, Department of English and Literary Studies (DELS), University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Amina Abbas M. Phil Scholar, Department of English and Literary Studies (DELS), University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47205/plhr.2022(6-II)17

Keywords:

Colonial Encounters, Postcolonialism, Racism, Slavery, Violence, Resistance

Abstract

Behn’s Oroonoko, published in 1688, is about its hero’s love, rebellion, and execution in the erstwhile Dutch and English colony, Surinam. The novel reflects Behn’s colonial ambivalence and her racist ideology regarding the treatment of the institution of commercial slavery and the subsequent miseries of its hero, Oroonoko. To the novelist, Oroonoko belongs to a gloomy race therefore his enslavers seem to be justified in transporting him from Africa to Surinam, the site for his dynamic and decisive confrontation against the institution of chattel slavery. Hence, the study ascertains that the novel is not an antislavery document, rather, it upholds and justifies colonial suppositions on the subject of slavery although in ambivalent manners. The current rereading of the novel goes against the interpretations that view it as a political allegory, feminist text, or a valuable document in the field of antislavery literature. Accordingly, it is evidenced how the colonizers used the institution of slavery to de-culturize and dehumanize the blacks in the colonial locations.

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Published

2022-06-30

Details

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How to Cite

Zahid Iqbal, H. M., & Abbas, A. (2022). Slavery, Racism and Colonial Ambivalence: A Postcolonial Perspective on Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Or the Royal Slave: A True History. Pakistan Languages and Humanities Review, 6(2), 201–211. https://doi.org/10.47205/plhr.2022(6-II)17