Cultural invasion, negative knowledge, self-expression and the prose narratives of Papua New Guinea
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis examines the imperialistic literary imaginings in New Guinea and the indigenous literature that has emerged in the last two and a half decades. The experiences of colonialism and the invasive role colonialism played in the cultural, social and religious life of the people of Papua New Guinea are the centre of discussion in this thesis. Cultural invasion made possible the setting up of colonial institutions which could maintain their power, control and dominance by forcibly conditioning the indigenous mind with a negative knowledge, and demanded the indigenous people to accept without protest, dissent, or resistance the colonial control, power and knowledge. In the imperialistic colonial discourse there was nothing human about the New Guinean, except that the New Guinean was part of the literary landscape the colonial writers explored for their own self and cultural identity. It is against this literature that the emergence of indigenous self-expression is founded. The emergence of the indigenous Papua New Guinean author is entwined with the social, political, cultural, and economical transition from being a colonial territory to an independent nation. The Papua New Guinean authors studied are aware of these experiences; this forces them to draw from their own personal experiences as much as possible. It is this feature of drawing from personal experiences that characterizes the Papua New Guinea narrative tradition as autobiographical. However the emphasis of this thesis is to determine, qualify and expose the literature of Papua New Guinea as a post-colonial literature. Theories of post-colonial literature are used frequently in this thesis, but not with the intent to obstruct one of the aims of this thesis: to analyse from within the literature of Papua New Guinea, which when closely analysed reveals it has its own influences from the oral traditions as well as from the indigenous social, cultural and linguistic contexts.