Look into My Eyes: Subalternity and Physicallity in Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost [abstract]
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In Gayatri Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak?" She maintains that no the subaltern cannot speak. This is because the subaltern's identity has been constructed and shaped by western ideologies, and there is no space outside of Western ideology for the Subaltern to speak from. Because of colonialism, the subaltern has been separated from their history and culture and attempts to recover and reclaim a history and culture before colonialism fail because of the existing influence of colonialism and neocolonialism. Michael Ondaatje in his novel Anil's Ghost implies that the subaltern can speak. However, speaking means something different for Ondaatje than it does for Spivak. For Spivak for the Subaltern to speak, subalterns must unite and form a collective voice and identity which can be spoken and received on the global stage. The subaltern must also be free from the colonial forces that are trying to speak for it. For Ondaatje speaking means subalterns creating some sort of meaning and identity for themselves in the midst of colonial violence and this meaning can only be created and communicated on the local level. Also, for Ondaatje this speaking can best happen on the physical level because this is an identity which is fragmentary, and can not be fully articulated in oral or written language because of the forces trying to suppress and control subaltern identity and understandings of history.
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