International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The African Female Body as a form of Resistance in a Post-Colonialist Context: A Study of Marlene Nourbese Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks
Abeer Refky Seddeek

The main aim of this paper was to discuss the Afro-Caribbean poet Marlene Nourbese Philip’s feminism in a postcolonial context as evident in her work She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989). The study aimed to show that She Tries Her Tongue was a clear protest against the gendered, racist and sexist silencing practiced by the colonisers against the colonised. The study illustrated that the tool the black female used to protest against her white master was her body, represented in her tongue that she used to break the silence imposed on her. The themes elaborated were: defying the white patriarchal oppression; repressing female sexuality by Western Christianity and patriarchal authority; challenging patriarchal discourse by resorting to mother tongue and culture; passing the mother tongue to younger generations to preserve identity; and assuming a new shape to find true identity despite all the misfortunes endured. Finally, though Philip did not claim to achieve complete victory over the oppressor’s culture or to break his hegemony, she embodied the increasing power of her tongue to maintain her image and identity.

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