Provide a 10 pages analysis while answering the following question: Compare and Contrast the Novels of Maru by Bessie Head and Massacre River by Rene Philoctete. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide. An abstract is required. One often marvels at the wonders of colonialism and what it has supposedly achieved for the natives of the colonies. Influenced by the writing and historical accounts of western writers, most of whom are notoriously biased and one sided, we readily jump to the conclusion that it has lifted Asia and the dark continent of Africa out of the wilderness and backwardness and brought to it the fruits of Western civilization. Yet colonization is a two-edged sword. As Joseph Conrad pointed out in Heart of Darkness (Conrad, 8), colonization was undertaken for specific motives, the most direct being to loot and plunder the resources of these conquered lands and send them back to the home country. It also served to make the natives subservient and compliant to the colonizers, who viewed them as nothing more than cheap labor. The truth is that colonization not only robbed the African natives of local resources, it also robbed them of respect and love for their own culture, as Achebe aptly notes in Things Fall Apart (Achebe, 14). They were like lost souls riding on a tide of fear and the unknown. The colonizers were well known for creating strife and disunity among the different tribes that inhabited these lands, for their own long term benefit. Let us therefore look at the accounts of Bessie Head in Maru (1995) and Rene Philoctete in Massacre River (2005) as they give a local flavor to the events and also are an eye opener, being accounts of ethnic discrimination and strife from the viewpoint of the oppressed. Therein lies their value. Discussion Frederick Mlaponi writes that colonialism is but an euphemism for a land or people being conquered by another through force or cunning or both. The Europeans had come to Africa and Asia in the late eighteenth century subsequent to the Industrial Revolution in their own countries. They were in search of cheap labor and other material resources in order to supplement the demands back home (www.contentcaboodle.com). As we know, besides their industrial and intellectual wealth neither Britain, nor the Dutch, Portuguese, French or any of the other sea powers had the natural or mineral resources that are so much in abundance on the African and Asian continents. Like Columbus before them, they sought out these journeys to bring fame and glory to themselves and their homelands. Even if we look at the signs of progress in transport, communication and other infrastructure, a little reflection will show that this was all for the benefit of the colonizers rather than the colonized. It either made ruling the natives easy or helped them with looting the resources they came for. Since the colonizers were definitely at a disadvantage in terms of numbers, they sought to divide and rule the natives as best they could. Preventing a unity on any account, they would use customs, traditions, false stories and rumors and even religious beliefs to divide and put the natives against each other, in tune with their desires and motives. The natives were thus concerned with who would get the most out of their masters while preventing other ethnic groups from doing so. It was the dog and the bone game with the loser getting nothing. The novel Maru begins with the incident of a Masarwa woman dying while giving birth to a baby girl. The girl is thus orphaned at birth. There is a political feud going on between the Botswanan and Masarwa tribes. Even the Botswanan nurses under the administration of the missionaries refuse to touch the dead woman or take care of the child. It is left up to the missionary’s wife, Margaret Cadmore, to rescue the child and raise it.
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