The Marxist Aspect in Bessie Head's A Question of Power

Mohamed Fathi Helaly


South Africa is one country where racial discrimination was widespread. Like the rest of the color-skinned people, colored writers in South Africa are marginalized and denied the right to express their experiences of living in a society riddled with racial inequality and oppression. Marxism is a school of thought that is concerned about the conflict between the dominant powerful classes and the oppressed ones in any given society. According to Marxism, literary texts are viewed as material that can be interpreted within historical contexts. South Africa is a country where the Apartheid System has been dominant. It is a country that has people of different ethnicity: the White, the Black and the Colored who are known as people of mixed race or hybrid. In South Africa colored people are doubly oppressed by their community, as they belong neither to the Black nor to the White. The colored people are marginalized and demeaned to a very degraded status by their society. Bessie Head is a South African female writer who is concerned about the clash between the different classes in her society. In this study the researcher wants to explore the class-struggle of women in general and the hybrid females in particular under the Apartheid System from a Marxist point of view. As a South-African female writer, Head is concerned about the struggle for power between the White and The Black, on the one hand, and between the hybrids on the other. A Question of Power can be seen as an indictment of the governing system in South Africa. It is a system that governs people not as ordinary human beings but according to the color of their skin. It is an autobiographical novel that tells the story of Elizabeth as a women living under the Apartheid System. Elizabeth, the fictional character of Bessie Head, has to suffer greatly as a woman but her suffering as a hybrid is even greater. On the one hand, she is socially marginalized as a female living in a patriarchal society. On the other hand, she is also culturally colonized as an individual living in a society where racial discrimination is prevailing. On account of what is mentioned so far Elizabeth is suffering from an identity crisis.



Oppression, mixed, patriarchal, power, conflict, Marxism, deprivation, Apartheid, hybrid, indictment, colonized, marginalized

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