Spivak is Frustrating
After discussing some of Spivak's thoughts in "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism" and "A Literary Representation of the Subaltern: A Woman's Text From the Third World", I am frustrated. In "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism", we said that Spivak wants us to see the underlying constraints imposed by imperialism in texts like "Frankenstein" and "Jane Eyre". In particular, we said that Spivak sees "Jane Eyre", despite its reputation as a progressive and feminist text, as one that actually follows an old script. Shaped by imperialism, Jane also acts as a force of it when she ascends the ladder of social and economic mobility by marrying the wealthy Mr. Rochester, at the expense of the other and "other-ed" woman, Bertha. Imperialism is everywhere; it permeates even our classic literary texts, Spivak says. In class, we pointed out all the various ways in which imperialism exists institutionally and how we choose to submit to it, especially in higher education. My frustration is, well, where do we go from here? So now that we have this awareness or improved understanding of how imperialized every single one of our thought processes is, that's it? And any ways through which we might seek to subvert hegemonic, imperialist forces is probably in some way tinged by imperialism? We just have to accept that there's no way out? Not that I could even imagine what that alternative would be, but at least Woolf gave us the outsider's society, flawed though it may be. Perhaps a way out doesn't exist, but surely ones that are "less wrong" exist. I'd like to see Spivak discuss those possibilities.