“The way in which all this affects the reading process seems to be as follows: as western readers whose tastes (and much else) have been formed by our own modernisms, a popular or socially realistic third-world novel tends to come before us, not immediately, but as though already-read” (66)

Jameson does have some reasonable arguments in his text, but as many of you disagree with his views, I have to do the same. This statement struck me as particularly interesting. Jameson’s beginning argument seems to suggest naivety in what he considers ‘third-world literature’ which I don’t believe is necessarily true. While books written in a western sense is considered intellectually acceptable, and further preferred and looked highly upon, it doesn’t mean that other forms of writing are subordinate to these. In his view the ‘third-world novel’ is something that the first world has already read. However, I would argue this is not the case. The market literature that we’ve recently read have been humorous in some cases and curious or interesting in others. In none of the market literature would I argue that I’ve already heard the story before or could really relate it to any western text, new or old. The culture is different, the underlying messages/morals are different, and the way of writing is also very different. I would characterize this as a new way of looking at a different way of life than we are used to.

He states that the ‘Other’ reader finds third world literature to be “fresh” and interesting. People write what they are familiar with, how they envision life in order to connect with their audience. This does not mean that other audiences cannot understand the text to be ‘fresh’ as well. Jameson goes on to say that, “it would be presumptuous to offer some general theory of what is often called third- world literature” (68). Although, it seems to me like he is very much being “presumptuous” in categorizing third-world literature. He believes that the allegorical nature is inherent in third-world literature and basically cannot move past this point of postcolonial struggles.

In order not to repeat too much of what was already said, I will just end with the fact that I agree with others in reference to Graham Furniss and his rejection of Jameson’s understanding of an essential postcolonial element implemented into third-world literature.


About karadim

I am a first year graduate student at American University's MA Literature program.

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