According to postcolonial theory, postcolonial literature tends to depict non-Westerners – the native Other – as a homogenous mass, portrayed as carrying all the dark human traits. The Other is often represented as, for instance, being exotic, violent, hostile and mysterious, and either stands in opposition to, or is portrayed as being completely different from the Westerner.
With postcolonial theory as a background, this study is a close-reading analysis and comparison of Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942), which takes place in a colonial Algeria, and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999), which is set in postcolonial South Africa. The novels have been analysed in terms of representation of the Other, as well as the power relations and hierarchy between Westerners and natives, in order to see if these aspects are portrayed differently due to the fact that one novel is written pre-independence and the other post-independence.
The results show that the representation of the Other is in accordance with postcolonial theory, in both novels. The natives are exoticised, portrayed as violent and mysterious in a hostile manner, and the plot is viewed from the perspective of the Western, white male protagonist. However, the power relations differ; in The Stranger, the Westerners are definitely superior, whereas in Disgrace, some of the characters still consider themselves to be superior, but their power has declined – the natives strike back, leaving the white population with a choice: to comply to the new order, or to find themselves in a state of disgrace.
2013. , 31 p.
The Stranger, Disgrace, Albert Camus, J.M. Coetzee, postcolonial theory, comparative literature