A Comparative Study on the Chauvinism of Nationalist Discourse in Selected Poems by Mahmoud Darwish, Maya Angelou and Rudyard Kipling

Hussein H. Zeidanin

Abstract


Poststructuralists, such as Foucault, conceived discourse as "a form of power that circulates in the social field and can attach to strategies of domination as well as those of resistance" (Diamond & Quinby, 1988, p. 185). Discourse denotes a system of thought through which knowledge is produced, truth is constructed and maintained, and power relations are redefined. The current article examines the nationalist discourse disseminated and adopted in selected poems by the Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish, African American writer Maya Angelou and British writer Rudyard Kipling. Nationalist discourse, the article argues, usually revives the sense of resistance, self-esteem and pride in the subaltern groups of the colonized and the oppressed but breeds a quest for expansion and domination in the colonizer. It holds overt and covert chauvinistic implications that necessarily deepen interracial conflicts. The chauvinistic aspects associated with the poems include an emphasis on the hierarchy of races, race-based division of the world's continents, and homogeneity of races and cultures. The comparisons the article makes proceed from the essential representation of self and other and the subsequent feelings of disrespect, distrust and fear that characterize the attitudes and perspectives of people identifying with different cultures and homelands. The article questions the dominant narratives underlying national identity in colonial and anti-colonial contexts. It further questions the monolithic concept of home, which nationalists advance to fuel colonial expansion or anti-colonial resistance. The article finds that racial and cultural chauvinism lies at the core of the nationalist discourse the selected poems reproduce.  


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v10n2p55

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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