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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Post-colonialism in Chapter 1: The City Under Siege

By the second page of the first chapter, there is already an indication of post-colonialism while Desiderio describes the city that is attacked by Dr. Hoffman:
The word "indigenous" was unmentionable. Yet some of the buildings, dating from the colonial period, were impressive - the Cathedral; the Opera House; stone memorials of a past to which few, if any, of us had contributed though, since I was of Indian extraction, I suffered the ironic knowledge that my forefathers had anointed the foundations of the state with a good deal of their blood (16).
Desiderio plainly states how the establishment of the city negatively effected the indigenous peoples. Stating that the foundations were "anointed. . .with a good deal of their[Indian] blood," Desiderio conjures images and scenarios of explorers and settlers wantonly killing confused "savages" for land, entire villages struck dead by viruses and diseases from lack of immunity, and forced Indian labor in constructing that same Cathedral on Opera house described as being so "impressive." It is all the more condemning to think of the chief religious structure and meeting place and the nexus of entertainment for the city as being built as a result of many innocent deaths. By indicating that indigenous is an unmentionable word, one can see that this is because of either guilt because of the settlers slaughtering of the natives or because of fear of the Indians, either for retaliation or from misunderstandings originating from the very first days of contact. Desiderio himself is a product of colonialism. His mother was forced to seel her body to survive in white culture and his father was an unknown white man. The effects of his "disinheritance" coalesce in what keeps him safe from the machines of Dr. Hoffman. Could he not realize his disadvantage and see how his own people were treated, yet not being one with those people, he wouldn't have had the sardonic and indifferent attitude that helped him become the savior of the city.

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