Volume 4, Issue 4, December 2019, Page: 83-92
The ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Al-Tayyib Salih's Season of Migration to the North: Postcolonial Study
Redwan Gabr El-Sobky, Faculty of Arts, Menoufeya University, Shebin El-Koom, Egypt
Received: Mar. 6, 2019;       Accepted: Jul. 4, 2019;       Published: Dec. 16, 2019
DOI: 10.11648/j.ellc.20190404.11      View  177      Downloads  67
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Salih's Season of Migration to the North are about Man’s journey into his self, and the discoveries to be made there about the 'other'. Both novels present the unpleasant and painful experience of colonialism in Africa which has great effects on almost all faces of life such as language, education, religion, popular culture and the like. If Salih's Season of Migration to the North (1966) deals with the perceptions of people in the third world to the West, Conrad's Heart of Darkness deals with the perceptions of Europeans to the third world in Africa. The two novels illustrate that the clashes between East and West are not only external but they are internal too, forcing one to question one's place in a new culture. Marlow's self-concept consists of mental images he has of himself: physical appearance as a white, accomplishments, skills, social talents, roles, intellectual traits, and emotional states. Thus, he feels superior to other Africans. Mustafa Sa’eed's self-concept is that he is intelligent but black and inferior to the Europeans. When he talks about himself Saied sees that he has a wonderful ability for understanding and his mind is like a sharp knife. But he never made use of his intelligence as it should be. Sa’eed emerges as a person who has abused the colonial system because he was abused and destroyed by it, and who has returned to the Sudan, bearing with him the rot and destruction he has come to embody. In both novels the 'self' and the 'other' can be compared in terms of the past colonial experience. The colonial 'other' in Conrad's Heart of Darkness is presented as a vital, alive, wild, superior, triumphant and has an identity, a face, and a personage. But in Season of Migration to the North, the narrator and Mustafa Sa’eed are presented as inferior, passive and degraded. If the narrative of Season expresses a concern about future relations between Arabs and English and asks the question of whether or not Arabs and English can ever truly co-exist, the narrative of Heart of Darkness investigates the same theme but at large. Both novels are based mostly on the cultural and imperial background.
Other, Self, West Africa, Colonial Relationship, Conrad, Salih
To cite this article
Redwan Gabr El-Sobky, The ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Al-Tayyib Salih's Season of Migration to the North: Postcolonial Study, English Language, Literature & Culture. Vol. 4, No. 4, 2019, pp. 83-92. doi: 10.11648/j.ellc.20190404.11
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Joffe, Phil. "Africa and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: The 'Bloody Racist' as Demystifier of Imperialism," in Keith Carabine et al., eds., Conrad's Literary Career. London: Pickering & Chatto Publishers, 1992, 78.
Gail Ching-Liang Low, “The Difficulty of Difference.” In Julian Wolfreys ed. Literary Theories: A Reader and Guide. New York: UP, 1999. p. 463.
Deepika Bahri, “Introduction to Postcolonial Studies”, Fall 1996. p. 38 Online/ http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Intro.html
Bill Gareth Griffiths Ashcroft and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures, London: Routledge, 1989, p. 45.
Robyn Creswell, “Eloquent Phantom: Tayyib Salih’s Search for an elusive present," Harper's Magazine, August 7th, 2009, p. 78 Online/http://harpers.org/archive/2009/06/hbc-90005162
Tayyib Salih, Season of Migration to the North. Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies, Oxford, UK: Heinemann, 1991, p. 30.
Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'," Massachusetts Review. 18. 1977, 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough, London: W. W Norton and Co., 1988, pp. 251-261. Online: http://kirbyk.net/hod/image.of.africa.html
Charles E. Bressler, Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999, p. 265.
John Lye, “Some Issues in Post-colonial theory." Cotemporary Literary Theory, Ontario: Brock UP, (Canada), 1998, p. 11.
Rogers, Carl. "Self-Concept" Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2nd ed. Gale Group, 2001.
Philip Brickman and Ronnie J. Bulman. "Pleasure and Pain in Social Comparison." In Social Comparison Processes: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives, eds. Jerry M. Suls and Richard L. Miller, 149-186. Washington, DC: Hemisphere. 1977, 150.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, New York: Bantam, 1981, p. 43.
J. B. Rotter, “Level of aspiration as a method of studying personality”, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 31, 1942. pp. 410-422.
U. Muller, and K. Runions, Origins of Understanding Self and Other: James Mark Baldwin's Theory, Patterson C. H., 1961, p., 25.
Edward Said, The World, the Text and the Critic, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1983, p. 131.
Edward Said, Orientalism, New York: Vintage, 1979, p. 325.
Nabil Matar, “Tayyib Salih's Season of Migration to the North: Circles of Deceit," In Season of Migration to the North by Tayyib Salih: A Casebook, Edited by Mona Takieddine Amyuni. Beirut: The American University of Beirut Press, 1985, pp. 113-122.
Jocelyn Brians, Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1960, p. 1.
Addison Wesley Longman, et al, The Longman Anthology of British Literature, vol. B. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, & Pearson, 2009 p. 2239.
Browse journals by subject