May 25, 2024

Sahar Jamshideyan

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
Education: M.Sc in علوم انسانی
Faculty: Literature and Human Sciences


Representation of the Subaltern in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing
Type Presentation
Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak, subaltern, sati and deconstruction
Researchers Sahar Jamshideyan


The problem of representing others has always been an essential part of postcolonial and gender studies. The present article aims at shedding light on the representation of subalterns in the novel Homegoing (2016) by Yaa Gyasi from Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak's point of view. A great part of Spivak's work deals with criticizing Western philosophy and literature for not doing justice to minority groups. In her essay "Can the Subaltern Speak?" she raised the question that if it is possible for someone outside the hierarchies of power to speak and represent herself/himself. Focusing on an Indian ritual called sati, the practice of widow immolation oh her dead husband's pyre, Spivak contends that this practice was understood either by the British as a barbaric act or by the native elites as an act of love. Spivak concludes that subaltern as such cannot speak and even if she talks she is not heard. To Spivak, the heterogeneity of the subalterns and the double effacement of subaltern women are of great importance. Gyasi's award-winning novel, Homegoing, pictures three generations of African-Americans and all the difficulties they have gone through since slavery days to modern times. The present article aims at investigating silenced subalterns in the novel, the factors which contribute to their silences and the writer's attitude toward subaltern erasure. The article would conclude that Gyasi's novel, with special attention to female subalternity, can give voice to minority groups and be a paradigm for solving the problem of subaltern erasure.