A lot of people have disagreed with Frederic Jameson’s article “Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism,” but I have to say I tend to agree with the main intentions of his paper. Jameson argues that all literature produced in Third World countries are inherently allegorical of the colonial struggle. While there are some works I don’t think fall under the category of allegory, I definitely agree with the point Jameson was trying to make that it is impossible for a Third World author to avoid having the effects of colonialism be a major theme or driving force in his work. This may just be the interpretation of an International Relations student who struggles with white man’s guilt, but when I read Third World Literature, I can’t help but see how the plot, characters, or resolution can be seen as a reference to colonialism. Even reading “The Water of Cure,” I couldn’t help but notice how the main character’s relationship with Malam Zurke seemed to be symbolic of Africa’s relationship with the colonial powers. (It made me think of the quote about the missionaries from Things Fall Apart “We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay”) As long as the work is set in a post-colonial country, I feel as though the effects of colonialism are inherently present, even if not explicitly stated. And that, I believe, was Jameson’s main intention: to say that a Third World author cannot escape the throngs of post-colonial ideals.


About audreyvorhees

Freshman at American University, studying International Development in sub-Saharan Africa, love travelling and African languages.

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