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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Wat oor is, is die Self : verblyf in 'n boomholte in Wilma Stockenström se : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

In Wilma Stockenström se roman (1981) - in sewe tale vertaal en in 2004 heruitgegee - is die verteller 'n 15de-eeuse slavin wat haar laaste lewensdae in 'n kremetartboom-holte êrens in Afrika deurbring. Hierdie artikel fokus op die uitbeelding van die rekonstruksie van die slavin se persoonlike identiteit in die laaste fase van haar lewe. Die ondersoek is gerig op die ontleding van die prosesse waardeur die Self, gekonstrueer binne sosiale en kulturele verband, herontdek en nuut gedefinieer word in verhouding tot en deur interaksie met die natuur as die Ander, as daardie entiteit waarmee interaksie plaasvind om die Self te voorskyn te roep. Die teoretiese uitgangspunt vir hierdie ondersoek is Stuart Hall en Homi Bhabha se beskouing van identiteit in terme van verskille (eerder as gedeelde eienskappe) en die interaktiewe verhouding met die Ander, wat die Self in groter besonderhede openbaar. Die doel is om vas te stel op watter wyse die natuur as die Ander figureer en om die rol van die natuur ten opsigte van die rekonstruksie van die slavin se identiteit te ondersoek. Eers word die fokus gerig op die verkenning van die sosiaal-gekonstrueerde identiteit van die slavin, dan op die representasie van die prosesse - afwisselende prosesse van differensiasie ten opsigte van en vereenselwiging met die omringende natuurwêreld - wat lei tot die opheffing en oorstyging van haar slawe-identiteit en 'n ruimer, nuutsoortige verwesenliking van die Self. bied op unieke wyse literêre uitdaging aan die Westerse diensbaarheidsbeskouing van die natuur. In plaas van die siening dat die natuur die mens tot nut en voordeel is in 'n sin wat ondergeskiktheid en menslike uitbuiting impliseer, beeld hierdie roman die mens uit in eksistensiële afhanklikheid van die natuur as die wesentlike Ander in die prosesse met behulp waarvan die Self ge(re)konstrueer en volledig begryp word.


Wilma Stockenström's 1981 novel was reissued by NB Publishers in 2004. In this novel the narrator is a nameless 15th-century slave woman who spends the last part of her life in the hollow of a baobab tree after an unsuccessful journey of discovery through Africa during which her owner died. My investigation is concerned with the way the reconstruction of personal identity by the slave woman is portrayed in this final phase of her life.
While gender issues have been central in various critical discussions of , this article intends to move beyond such interpretations to bring an even closer focus on the exceptionally rich content of the novel by approaching it from an ecocritical perspective for the first time. Following ecocriticism's procedure of "study(ing) literary texts with reference to the interaction between human activity and the vast range of 'natural' or non-human phenomena which bears upon human experience" (Childs and Fowler 2009:65), the focus will be on the influence of nature on identity in this novel. The slave woman's sojourn in the baobab tree brings an end to her spiritual and social enslavement and represents a return to the primeval roots of humanity while experiencing the dualistic relationship of dependency on, and tension with, nature. This investigation will analyse the processes through which the Self, initially constructed within social and cultural contexts, is rediscovered and newly defined in relation to, and by interaction with, nature as the Other in the process of identity (re)construction. The key aspect is the slave woman's arriving at self-knowledge through reaching the core of humanness, experienced in the most fundamental relationship humankind has known since the day of creation, namely the one with nature.

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/content/litnet/10/1/EJC137967
2013-03-01
2016-12-08
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