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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

Print version ISSN 0041-476X

Abstract

MURRAY, Jessica. Remembering the short stories of Yvonne Vera: a postcolonial and feminist reading of Why Don't You Carve Other Animals. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2011, vol.48, n.2, pp. 136-154. ISSN 0041-476X.

The Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera is one of the most important writers to emerge from the African continent over the last two decades. Although she has received widespread critical acclaim as well as academic scrutiny, analyses of her work have mostly focused on her novels. This article attempts to redress this scholarly imbalance by offering a close textual analysis of Why Don't You Carve Other Animals? through a critical lens of postcolonial and feminist theory. In these stories Vera articulates the internal thoughts of her characters in order to explore the way that oppressed people negotiate the fact of their oppression. It is particularly the female characters' reflections that reveal the complexity of the position occupied by colonised women and the sophistication of their attempts to address the layered marginalisation to which they are subjected. Vera shows that, for them, an unproblematic participation in the nationalist movement for liberating Zimbabwe from colonial oppression is simply not an option. The article explores the specifically gendered expectations and obstacles that shape the female characters' struggles in the Zimbabwean context.

Keywords : Feminism; marginalisation; national liberation; postcolonial; Yvonne Vera; Zimbabwean writing.

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