Representing Otherness: A Comparative Study of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North

Lahcen AIT IDIR

Abstract


Otherness remains, to borrow Lévi-Strauss’s words, an ‘empty signifier’; for its meaning is floating and is endlessly open to different interpretations depending on the context wherein it is used as the Derridean thinking has suggested . Yet, seen in the light of postcolonial scholarship, the concept of Otherness is basically suggestive of two entities which are different from each other in many ways and aspects. With regard to Orientalist and colonialist writings, there is always a tendency to build walls of demarcation between Europeans and non-Europeans. In the process of Othering, the construction of the Self entails unavoidably that of the Other. Clear enough; the positive representation of the Self who enjoys but affirmative qualities presupposes a derogatory representation of the Other, which is fraught with downgrading images. In this respect, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a good case in point wherein Africans are “Othered” and seen as being quite different from those who belong to the community of European ‘selves’. In the course of Othering Africans, Conrad’s narrative relies on a network of rhetorical strategies such as surveillance, stereotype and debasement.

Keywords


otherness; colonialism; postcolonialism; Joseph Conrad; Tayeb Salih; Discursive strategies;

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