Samuel Selvon And Caliban

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Abstract: Samuel Selvon is one of the most popular and internationally acclaimed contemporary postcolonial Caribbean writers. He is placed apart by the sheer range and variety of his published works, which include ten novels and a collection of short stories (Ways of Sunlight), a great number of short stories, poems and essays to newspapers and magazines and several plays for radio and television. He is also renowned because he became one of the founding fathers of the Caribbean literacy renaissance of the 1950s. As a postcolonial writer, Selvon seeks to illustrate the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. Homi K Bhabha, a contemporary postcolonial critic, employs some postcolonial notions like ‘hybridity,’ ‘unhomeliness,’ ‘creolization,’…show more content…
From their writings and from the real experience of the ‘New World’ they created their own paradigms. Many writers from the region challenge Shakespeare’s depiction of Caliban as bestial and brutal, and reclaim his image as an icon of Caribbean self-assertion although Shakespeare did not explicitly state that the setting of The Tempest is the Caribbean. The power relations between Prospero and Caliban are suggestive of the master-slave relationship found on the plantation. In this context, the Caliban-Prospero relationship leads to the larger issue of language. Caliban is Prospero’s slave. Prospero also claims that Caliban did not know the use of language until he was taught by his master. Thus, the only way Caliban can express himself is within the parameters of his master’s tongue. Miranda obviously believes it to be a great honour and reminds Caliban how she “took pains to make thee [him] speak” (The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2, 16) and dismisses Caliban’s previous way of speaking as sheer ‘gabble’. However, Caliban himself obviously takes a very different view and in a memorable quote that is often cited by anti-colonialist critics he tells them: “You taught me language; and my profit on’t is I know how to curse” (The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2, 16). He goes on further to wish “the red plague rid you for teaching me your language!” (The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2, 16) clearly not sharing Miranda’s view that she has done him a great service. George Lamming, in his collection of essays The Pleasures of Exile (1960), argues for this reason that Caliban is imprisoned in Prospero’s language: “There is no escape from the prison of Prospero’s gift. This is the first important achievement of the colonizing process” (The Pleasures of Exile, 109). He

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