Aphra Behn - is an English novelist, poet and dramatist. As a child she was taken to live in Suriname, West Indies. It was during this period of her life that the novel Oroonoko takes place. In , when England surrendered Suriname to the Dutch, she returned to England and married. She was supposedly employed by Charles II as a spy in Antwerp during the war of to After the war, Aphra took up writing as her career and some consider her the first professional female writer in England.
Oroonoko influenced the development of the English novel and is important for several reasons. Alpha Behn spends a lot of time discussing Oroonoko and Imoinda's beauty. Her ideal of beauty, however, is based on the Eurocentric ideals of the western world. His Nose was rising and Roman , instead of African and flat. His Mouth, the finest shap'd that could be seen The whole Proportion and Air of his Face was so noble, and exactly form'd, that, bating his Colour, there cou'd be nothing in Nature more beautiful, agreeable, and handsome" Of course, Behn's characterization of Oroonoko and Imoinda was necessary to convince her Eurocentric audience that these characters were worth caring about Brown.
How receptive would Behn's audience have been if Oroonoko's tribe had practiced the method of tribal scarring that Sembene Ousmane portrays in his short story "Tribal Scars" Ousmane? In "Tribal Scars", Sembene Ousmane presents a theory of how tribal scarring first began. It begins with a group of men sitting around a table drinking tea and discussing current affairs.
When the subject of tribal scarring comes up, the table erupts into a melee of confusion with everyone wanting to add his opinion of how the practice first started. The story that is eventually accepted by all is that African tribes began scarring themselves so they would not be taken as slaves, and ever since then, tribal scarring has been a symbol of freedom See text page on " Tribal Scars ".
If Oroonoko's tribe had practiced tribal scarring, Aphra Behn would have had trouble convincing her readers that the African's were worth saving. The practice of tribal scarring would most likely have reinforced to her readers that Africans were savages and unlike Europeans in any way. This would not have helped Behn's cause to fight slavery. For the sake of her book and her cause, Behn had to create characters with European characteristics and behaviors.
How They Treat Their Women: There has been some discussion about whether Imoinda was actually sold into slavery or if she just exchanged one form of slavery for another See discussion question 2 below.
In Imoinda's tribe, women were owned by their men. They had no rights of choice. When Oroonoko's grandfather beckoned, Imoinda's only recourse was to obey. Yet, the power she held over Oroonoko was so strong that this most powerful warrior of the land was reduced to a blubbering idiot when he lost her.
On the other hand, when Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart , he created a world where women, although they have certain privileges in the tribe, hold very little influence over their men See Things Fall Apart text page for more information. How can these two authors, writing about the same people the Ibo , portray such different perspectives regarding gender?
Both Behn and Achebe concentrate on the qualities that make their characters most believable to their audiences. Behn was writing for a strictly European audience and Achebe was writing for an audience that consisted of Westerners and colonized Africans who had been immersed in Western ideology. We must also consider the gender of the authors. It is evident that Behn, a woman and a romance writer, would want to create female characters who held power over their male counterparts.
Achebe, on the other hand, writes from a man's point of view and could not let his character be sidetracked by foolish sentimentality. If Achebe had instilled a romantic bone in Okonkwo's character, it would have detracted from the overall message that Achebe set out to achieve.
He was not writing a romance fiction. He was writing a story to make people more aware of the effects of colonization then, and the lingering effects of colonization on Africa still today. Fact or Fiction and Does it Matter?
There has been much scholarly discourse about the truthfulness of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko. In one of my favorite essays, "Truth, Falsehood, and Fiction in Oroonoko ", Robert Chibka compares the duplicity Prince Oroonoko suffers at the hands of the white man with the duplicity the readers suffer at the hand of Ms. It is obvious to even the most casual reader that the story must have at least some fictional elements because events are described that neither the narrator nor her source could possibly know.
With that fact acknowledged, how much should we believe of the rest of Ms. And then she has at times stated that whatever accounts that were not her own, they were of the hero of the story. In this way, Donald emphasizes on the fact that some life accounts in the book were those which had never been recorded for the history of Behn and thus there might be an element of fiction in the narrative. In the whole account, Donald emphasizes the fact that the narration is not of silent observation in case of the novel and its writing Behn in some cases, as Donald states, emphasized this fact that she was had in some way or the other, been an active participant and had an active role in the entire series of events.
One of the things upon which ti should be concentrated is the fact whether or not she did go to Suriname which was the place where Imoinda had gone after she was sold. According to the author, she had gone there and thus had been inspired by the place. Along with that, she states that she might have indeed encountered a slave who might have been an African prince.
This gives us an idea that the narrative might indeed have been true. However, according to critics, this might be considered a baffling contradiction that there could be a possibility that the author could be lying about her life and about all her experiences that she has been inspired by, for the novels and for the stories that she has written.
The researchers have decided that there is an extremely high probability that the author never really visited Surinam and that she has been lying about it all her life and about her inspiration Donald; Donaldson.
Donaldson on the other hand, does not aim to emphasize on a particular stand whether the narrative is true or a fictional account. On the contrary, she states that the entire account of Oroonoko is full of contradictions. The traveling accounts, the accounts of people, the different situations and scenarios present in the narrative are actually such that it is actually hard to believe that the entire account be true.
However, there are certain elements in the book that make it seem real as well Donaldson. However, it must be stated that there could be a possibility that the entire recollection or narrative true but it cannot be completely stated for sure, until there are facts and figures from dependable sources, who can claim to put up a stand to augment or contradict the entire argument.
Even though the entire paper has provided quotations and research findings about how the author may have actually lied about her experiences and her inspirations for the novel or the factual account, I would still conclude that there is no requirement to know whether the story is false or true. There is just the need to understand that the narrative is a source of learning and knowledge about how the slaves were treated at those times.
Oroonoko combines elements of classical Greek heroes and their hubris, with the selflessness of the Christ motif. The narrator idealizes Oroonoko, focusing on his physical, intellectual, and social features. She is…… [Read More].
Oroonoko or the Royal Slave. Or the oyal Slave The first two paragraphs serve as an introduction to the novella, and try to show the reader this is supposed to be a true story. Just reading these first two paragraphs, it sounds as if this could be a romance or a tragic romance. The natives are important to the whites because they trade with them and the natives show them how to survive.
The English don't enslave them because they are "useful" to them. The blacks do the work in Surinam. The people who want slaves contract with a slave ship, and when the ship comes back, they get the slaves they paid for.
Behn's description shows these people have a distinct culture, enjoy ornaments and colorful clothing, and he makes them sound dashing and…… [Read More]. Oroonoko Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko is about a young man who was born a prince and dies a slave.
As an African male, Oroonoko is subjected to the racism of the white males who have all the power in his society. In the time period that Aphra Behn was writing, Africans were being captured and enslaved no matter what their birth status. Even a prince could find himself enslaved and forced to work for white oppressors.
Oroonoko essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Oroonoko by Aphra Behn.
- An Analysis of Oroonoko's Blackness In her essay "Oroonoko's Blackness," Katherine Gallagher argues that there are three layers to "Oroonoko." These layers are .
Oroonoko, by Aphra Behn, illustrates that slavery is unethical, humiliating, demoralizing, and worse than death. Oroonoko is a powerful story about the tribulations of a gallant prince named Oroonoko. [In the essay below, Bernbaum addresses the question of realism in Oroonoko, concluding that much of Behn's material came from secondhand sources. Historians of .
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: Oroonoko as an Anti-Slavery Text Although from a modern perspective, there are instances of racism, particularly evident because of the outmoded use of language and descriptions of Africans, this is essentially an anti-slavery (and for that matter, anti-racist) text. 1. Oroonoko begins with the narrator’s claim that the story she will tell is a true one. Discuss the significance of this claim. Is truth always valued in the novel? Are there any points at which it seems like the narrator might not be telling the truth? 2. The novella depicts different kinds of slavery.