Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fanon Discussion Questions

1.) What is Fanon's perspective on the Algerian stereotypes he presents? How must the colonized free themselves from the common stereotypes?
2.) When does colonization succeed, according to Fanon?
3.) What does Fanon mean when he states, "it is the consciousness that needs help" (229)? How does an individual's "consciousness" allow them to either give into oppression or liberate themselves from it?
4.) Does Fanon justify violence? In what circumstances, and how?
5.) Why does the colonized individual eventually pit himself against his neighbor? Is this just? How does Fanon utilize historical examples to justify crime as a tactic for survival?
6.) Does Fanon successfully show that oppression harms the mental and behavioral tendencies of individuals across all ages, genders, nationalities, social classes, etc.?


  1. The third question concerning Fanon's sentiment that "it is the consciousness that needs help" is one that I find particularly interesting in that it reminds me of ideas presented in Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses." Rushdie's ideas seem reminiscent of Fanon's; it is largely the consciousness of an individual that determines whether they are successfully oppressed. In Rushdie's novel, it is the question of whether or not the "other," namely immigrants, succumb to the stereotypes projected on them. In one case, the individual succumbs to the projections, and goes mad. In the other case, the individual re-appropriates the stereotype in order to show power - and this individual overcame the oppression of the projections.
    I feel that Fanon's assertions mirror this - one's consciousness does seem to determine whether one succumbs to oppression or liberate oneself from it.

  2. In response to the second question "When does colonization succeed, according to Fanon?":

    The act of colonization shows a form of authority over the colonized people and as a result, these colonized people became 'dominated people' but were still human beings underneath. Fanon describes how colonization has succeeded only when nature has been 'tamed' so to say. Naturally, nature is a place that is 'hostile, ungovernable, and fundamentally rebellious' (p.182), therefore there is a lack or order or structure in this state of 'untamed' nature. This could be both political and economic aspects. This aspect of nature and the idea of moving away from this natural state is one that we see recurring throughout the course and links us back to the beginning of semester when we looked into Locke & Rousseau. Fanon writes that colonization is the result of nature being tamed. It shows the movement from one state of nature to another and as a result colonization is said to have succeeded.

  3. Fanon does justify violence because he sees pure violence as the only remedy to colonialism. I feel like he is basically advocating the eye for an eye policy. The colonized should bring upon violent actions just as how the colonizer has treated them. I can see where Fanon is coming from in regards to violence to reach freedom. The colonized have experienced immense pain and tragedy both physically and mentally, and a self-satisfying resolution or release can be through acts of violence. However, this violence should not be looked at as just a means to justify and seek revenge, but it could also be that opportunity for a new life for these slaves- that freedom.


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