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Silence and Oroonoko

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Megan Weber

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of Silence and Oroonoko

Silence Romance Tradition "Oroonoko can serve as a theoretical test case for the necessary connection of race and gender, a model for the mutual interaction of the positions of the oppressed in the literary discourse of its own age" (Brown 27). "Sex happens and sexual desire is there, but it is not mentioned in the text. The king cannot value the heroine on the basis of her intelligence or personality, for she cannot speak: she is literally reduced to the value of her body. The king’s desire for a woman who will be silent shows this preference for the body and, connected with that, sex" (Williams 94). "And Imoinda, who saw with some joy the change in the prince's face, and found it in her own, strove to divert the king from beholding either, by a forced caress, with which she met him, which was a new wound in the heart of the poor dying prince. But as soon as the king was busied in looking on some fine thing of Imoinda's making, she had time to tell the prince with her angry, but love-darting eyes, that she resented this coldness, and bemoaned her own miserable captivity. Nor were his eyes silent, but answered hers again, as much as eyes could do...And they spoke so well, and so effectually...And 'twas this powerful language alone that in an instant conveyed all the thoughts of their souls to each other" (88). "Though Behn’s message is closely associated with romance chivalry and a feudalist ethos, its aim is to bridge ideological schisms...In her mediatory position, the narrator thus transposes romance qualities to the contemporary world, implying a critique as well as a notion of what the contemporary world needs in order to be restored. Such incorporation of romance values into a verisimilar context makes her novelistic function dialectical rather than realistic" (Holmesland 57, 61).
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