TTh 3:00-4:15 p.m., Shingleton Hall 8

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

WRETCHED OF THE EARTH Assignment for Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016

We have discussed the ways that foreign invaders can distort descriptions of other cultures that they view through their own cultural lenses. We also know that, as readers, we must be careful not to distort our perceptions of other cultures through our own cultural lenses. In today's selection from The Wretched of the Earth, most of the chapter entitled "On National Culture," Frantz Fanon pushes this learning one step further by advocating for a national literature and, more, "a poetry of revolt" (226).

Assignment: In a two- to three-paragraph comment to this post, answer this prompt: Explain what Fanon means when he advocates for a “poetry of revolt.” Why is literature important to a liberation struggle? How does Keita Fodeba's play, "African Dawn," exemplify Fanon’s idea? Cite both the play and the selection from Fanon's book in support of your claim. Use standard English. Include your name. Your comment may respond to previous comments as long as it otherwise fulfills these assignment criteria. Citation includes in-text citation and a list of Works Cited. See the citation link on this blog for instructions. This assignment counts as one participation grade and is due by 1:00 p.m. on 2/25/16.

9 comments:

  1. Michelle Adams

    In this selection, author Frantz Fanon argues that in order to successfully stand as an independent nation, the natives of the area need to be continually defining their own culture. He discusses art, particularly literature, as one means of accomplishing this, saying it is the, “duty of a native poet,” to establish and share what his peers believe via a, “poetry of revolt," (Fanon 226). Furthermore, he believes strongly in the power of literature to unify a nation and prevent, “cultural obliteration,” the stripping of a people's cultural identity (Fanon 236). He also argues that colonization changes literature, as he shows by including Keita Fodeba’s dramatic poem, "African Dawn.”
    In Fodeba’s poem, Fanon’s argument that the oppressed write to empower their peers against the oppressors in their writing is exemplified (Fanon 240). The readers see their loved ones as Naman, Fodeba’s soldier character, and relate to his wife, Kadia, who, “weep[s] over her misfortune,” at the thought of losing her husband (Fodeba 229). They then feel betrayed by their oppressors, as the work, “calls on the whole people to fight for their existence as a nation,” by making them aware of the reality and severity of the situation (Fanon 240). Fanon’s inclusion of the poem helps us as separated readers feel that the situation was real, but also further serves his persuasive purpose by including a relatable story that hits home to his oppressed readers.

    Works Cited

    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

    (These should be correctly indented, italicized, etc., but it won't let me format it correctly as a blog post - sad face!)

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  2. Wyatt Dillon

    Fanon suggests that in order for a nation to remain independent, its natives must maintain national consciousness and national culture must be continually reinforced, defined, and praised in its preservation. In order for cultural preservation to occur, Fanon considers literature to be the most important and advocates for a “poetry of revolt,” (Fanon, 226), as “a poem is the assembling and moving together of determining original values,” (Fanon, 226). He discusses how poetry reinforces a national consciousness by reinstating cultural values, defining historical national moments, and securing the culture for future generations (Fanon, 227). Thus, Fanon suggests that literature is particularly important in the preservation of culture and the continued existence of a nation. He associates the creativity of literature with life and without this he argues that oppression ensues. Consequently, he defines national literature as a “literature of combat because it is the will to liberty expressed in terms of time and space,” (Fanon, 240). Fanon further emphasizes the importance of literature as a means for preservation of national culture through the inclusion of Keita Fodeba’s “African Dawn”, which displays how literature can be altered by colonialism.

    Keita Fodeba’s “African Dawn” exemplifies Fanons idea that a literature of combat is a means to preserve national culture, promote national consciousness, and secure the independence of a nation. Fanon argues that “African Dawn” is an example of the effectiveness of literature in a colonized nation stating, “the understanding of the poem is not merely an intellectual advance, but a political advance,” (Fanon 231). “African Dawn” is an example of a literature of combat, a “poetry of revolt,” considering it documents the injustice Naman faced while calling for native action against oppression and colonization, “Naman! You have not danced that dance that is named after me. Others will dance it,” (Fobeda, 231). The message conveyed in “African Dawn” correlates with Fanon’s ideas as the poem invokes emotion and educates its audience about the injustices the natives are subject to. The inclusion of this poem is pertinent to Fanon’s argument, as it allows the reader to grasp the situation and understand the importance of literature to combat further oppression. As a result, “African Dawn" not only demonstrates Fanon’s ideas, but also proves vital to a nation’s continued independence and the existence of a national culture.

    Works Cited:

    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

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  3. Fanon explains that it is important to use literature during a liberation struggle because literature reminds the reader why they need liberty. Literature describes why a person has to fight for their rights. In "African Dawn" Naman us told that he must fight for "the white people"(qtd. Fanon 229). This is suppose to be a great honor but the reader already knows Naman will die. Kadia compares the white people to death because she already lost her first husband. Fodeba sets up the play that way to show that there is no real honor dying for the white people. The honor is that you sacrifice yourself so the village does not have to sacrifice other members.

    Fanon's idea is that culture is important, especially when culture actually supports you. Naman comes home in the play to be killed on his homeland by the police. Fanon knows that someone has to explain why the new culture the French present is terrible. Someone has to enlighten the people that the new culture is dangerous and deadly. The French will present their culture in literature and try to convince the people that their culture is superior. The only way that the people can conchore their oppressors, is by understanding what they are fighting against.

    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

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  4. According to Fanon, you need to kick out those that oppress you in your homeland. In order to do such thing, you need literature. Literature is among the two things you need in order to overthrow an oppressor. And so he advocates for a “poetry of revolt.” Poetry of Revolt is to produce/learn your own literature which is reflective of your own culture. What I am understanding as I am reading Wretched of the Earth, is that it is essential for you to know your own culture. If you forget your own culture, I think that you will eventually accept your oppression by a colonizer. But you cannot let this happen. Once you understand, learn, and start producing your own culture, you will join or at least support the freedom struggle. Oppressors seek to destroy your culture for the very reason you don’t join the fight for freedom. “A national culture under colonial domination is a contested culture whose destruction is sought in systematic fashion” (Fanon, 237). Fanon also says, “The poverty of the people, national oppression, and the inhibition of culture are one and the same thing. After a century of colonial domination we find a culture which is rigid in the extreme, or rather what we find are dregs of culture, its mineral strata” (238). I find this sentence to be powerful as Fanon is saying how ones culture disappearing is the same as oppression and poverty of the people. Trying to make the people forget about their culture is what the oppressors seek to do so the people don’t rise up to overthrow them.

    I think Keita Fodeba's play, "African Dawn," does exemplify Fanon’s idea. This is not just an intellectual play, according to Fanon, but it is political as well (231). He mentions on page 232, “In colonized countries, colonialism, after having made use of the natives on the battlefields, uses them as trained soldiers to put down the movements of independence” (Fanon). We see this when Fodeba says, “The white men have sent a district guard to ask for a man from the village who will go to the war in their country” (229). Therefore, I think this again highlights how it is important to know about your culture so that you're not acting against your true self and nation.

    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

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  5. Fanon advocates for a poetry of revolt in order for oppressed nations to get rid of their colonizers. Fanon states that it is important for the poet to truly know his people since writing about one's culture can be difficult when so much has been adopted by the colonizers (Fanon 226). The poetry must be used to encourage people to embrace their culture rather than feel as if their culture is inferior to that of the colonizers (Fanon 236).If people are not proud of their own culture they will be likely to accept the will of a dominating culture. Fanon highlights the importance of literature in a revolution when he mentions how storytellers in Algeria were systematically arrested by police once they became popular again because they were providing fuel for a revolution by unifying the public (Fanon 240).This example reinforces the threat that national consciousness can pose to an oppressor.

    The play "African Dawn" by Keita Fodeba exemplifies the importance of a national consciousness. When the village receives a notice that a young man is to be chosen to serve in World War II, the men are concerned with choosing someone that will make the Europeans see Africans in a more positive light (Fodeba 229). They still have the desire to be accepted by their colonizers. This play also shows how the country's involvement in the war distracted them from the problems in their own country. The village celebrated Naman's success in was with feasts, but paid no attention to the disputes going on in their own country that later killed Naman.

    Works Cited

    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. "African Dawn". The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

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  6. When Fanon addresses the concept of a “poetry of revolt”, he is discussing how poets can utilize their power of writing to portray their views and opinions on a sensitive subject. Fanon notes that writing “is also descriptive and analytical poetry” (Fanon 226). This demonstrates how smart and careful you have to be with your writing to allow the reader to successfully encrypt your work. The reader will eventually figure out the author’s true message after analyzing the writing. Fanon also adds how the rhythm of the writing can help to communicate the power of the message.

    Literature is essential to a liberation struggle because it allows citizens to speak out to and/or against the government. Literature is what speaks to people and it sparks a fire within them, which strengthens their rebellion. Fanon writes, “while at the beginning the native intellectual used to produce his work to be read exclusively by the oppressor, whether with the intention of charming him or of denouncing him… now the native writer progressively takes on the habit of addressing his own people” (Fanon 240). He refers to this type of essential literature literature as a literature of combat because it calls to the people to fight for the existence of their nation. Literature allows the nation to develop and grow a new culture after their previous culture was eradicated by colonization.

    Keita Fodeba’s play, “African Dawn”, exemplifies this concept that the colonizers invade and take over these nations, force then to change their lifestyle, force them into battle to defend someone else’s territory, and ultimately use them against their own people. Fanon states that he chose to quote this poem because it is “not merely an intellectual advance, but a political advance” (Fanon 231). Taman’s unfortunate death while returning to his country was the result of colonialism. It is a “poem of revolt” because it is addressed to the oppressed people who are able to relate to the story in the hopes that it will make them want to fight for the independence of their nation.

    Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove, 1963. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. "African Dawn. The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

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  7. Veronica LaRusso

    When Frantz Fanon talks about advocating for a “poetry of revolt”, he is referring to the importance of literature. Fanon wanted to get rid of colonizers in oppressed nations and thought a “poetry of revolt” would aid in that effort. Fanon finds literature important because it can capture the essence of a culture, which he believes could be influenced negatively by the colonizers. To Fanon, colonizers represent oppression and that would be detrimental to keeping your cultural history in tact. Fanon wanted to encourage people to embrace their culture and not feel like it is inferior to the incoming colonizers (Fanon 236). To quote Fanon, “The poverty of the people, national oppression, and the inhibition of culture are one and the same thing. After a century of colonial domination we find a culture which is rigid in the extreme, or rather what we find are dregs of culture, its mineral strata” (Fanon 238).

    Keita Fodeba’s poem, “African Dawn” exemplifies Fanon’s idea. When Fodeba states, “The white men have sent a district guard to ask for a man from the village who will go to the war in their country” (Fodeba 229) I believe this highlights the importance to both authors to fight for their cultural presence. This play also highlights how the country’s involvement in the war could be distracting them from their issues. The opposers try to present their culture as superior instead of embracing everyone's individual differences.


    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.

    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brenda Lee Nieves
    ENG Contemp Fiction

    Professor Brown

    24 February 2016



    When Frantz Fanon refers to”poetry of revolt” he is basically saying to write about the harsh treatment during an oppressed time in history. Although, these pieces of literature may shed light on negative factors they are recording and voicing the hardships of many who have suffered. Fanon believes that through writing and embracing their culture they are standing up for who they are; it is in a way a silent fight against colonizers. By doing so the people who take part of this revolt the reality of the nation actions will be acknowledged (Fannon 236). Adding on it states, “The struggle itself in it’s development and in it’s internal progression sends culture around different paths and traces out entirely new ones for it.” ( 245) This shows that Fanon believes this literature is necessary for history to further. Through these pieces of literature the culture of a nation are able to analyze and improve further actions in future history. Which is the ultimate reason why literature is important in a liberation struggle.



    Keita Fodeba further explains Fanon’s idea with the poem “African Dawn” because Fodeba explains the hardships of people who are under colonization. It states “But months later...He lies in the land of Senegal.” (231). This quote was important in an extensive amount of ways and Fannon realized the connections of Guinea and Senegal. The fact that they are both oppressed by the French and is fighting for another country. Fodeba is explaining how this man was left in another land and not brought back and honored. Although his people viewed him as an honorable man; the colonizers just saw it as a misfortune a white man killed him and they body wasn’t important to them (231).



    Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 226-248. Print.



    Fodeba, Keita. “African Dawn." The Wretched of the Earth. Ed. Frantz Fanon. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York: Grove, 2005. 227-231. Print"

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  9. (I swear I wasn't late) -via Brenda

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