Hemingway, Race, and Colonialism

  • Richard Fantina

Abstract

To the discussion of theories of reactionary masochism in chapter 1, another nonprogressive element must be added—the suggested engagement of masochism with colonialism. Spilka has demonstrated that Hemingway, in his youth, absorbed the fiction of Kipling and Marryat and this can account in part for his easy acceptance of colonial projects. Both Silverman and Siegel comment on the incongruous conjunction of masochism and colonialism. Siegel maintains that “male masochism, forbidden direct expression in the modern world, collaborates with colonialism” (25). In this connection, she discusses the work of Mary Webb, Thomas Hardy, and others. A more perfect union of colonialism and masochism finds expression in the life and work of T.E. Lawrence to whom Silverman devotes a long and incisive chapter (299–338). Despite the masochism and homoeroticism of his written work and his visceral attachment to the Arab cause, Lawrence never seriously deviated from British policy in the Middle East, even when he knew the Foreign Office was lying through its teeth to the Arabs during World War I.1 In Lawrence, a case could be made for his empathy with an oppressed race, that as an official of a decadent ruling race, he recognized and sought to identify with the Arab Revolt. In a different context, Frantz Fanon comments on African American folktales (i.e., Br’er Rabbit stories) in which the characters identified as blacks outsmart and ultimately defeat their supposedly more sophisticated opponents.

Keywords

Platinum Luminated Stein Arena Defend 

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© Richard Fantina 2005

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  • Richard Fantina

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