The ten short stories in Zoë Wicomb’s volume You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) revolve around the development of the educated, middle-class protagonist-narrator Frieda Shenton, a South African coloured girl born when apartheid began. Given the strong continuity provided by this developing figure, You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town has often been interpreted as a novel-like fictional account or Bildungsroman. My paper, instead, purports to discuss the importance of the short story form in You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town as vehicle of ideological resistance. Indeed, the presence of single short narratives allows for the emergence of different protagonists, – mostly outcasts and outsiders – who, at times, can counteract the predominance (and authority) of the main, educated narrative voice. My aim, therefore, is to examine how the short story genre gives voice to these alternative and liminal protagonists, thereby destabilizing the coherence of major narratives, and, ultimately, of socio-political structures. In particular, the narrative focus on these figures opens up gaps and fissures in the flow of narration, allowing for the construction of new meanings – in the same way as the different short stories, creating gaps in the macro-structure of the volume, allow for the emergence of alternative protagonists. In fact, their unconventional otherness leads them to take on the creative role usually reserved to the protagonist-narrator. Thus, the short narrative form in You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town brings to the fore the resistance to colonial appropriation and categorization, a resistance embodied by these liminal, alternative figures.

‘Minor’ Protagonists? Outcasts and Outsiders as Resistance in Zoë Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town / M. Fossati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Borders, Intersections, and Identity in the Contemporary Short Story in English tenutosi a Santiago de Compostela nel 2019.

‘Minor’ Protagonists? Outcasts and Outsiders as Resistance in Zoë Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town

M. Fossati
2019

Abstract

The ten short stories in Zoë Wicomb’s volume You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) revolve around the development of the educated, middle-class protagonist-narrator Frieda Shenton, a South African coloured girl born when apartheid began. Given the strong continuity provided by this developing figure, You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town has often been interpreted as a novel-like fictional account or Bildungsroman. My paper, instead, purports to discuss the importance of the short story form in You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town as vehicle of ideological resistance. Indeed, the presence of single short narratives allows for the emergence of different protagonists, – mostly outcasts and outsiders – who, at times, can counteract the predominance (and authority) of the main, educated narrative voice. My aim, therefore, is to examine how the short story genre gives voice to these alternative and liminal protagonists, thereby destabilizing the coherence of major narratives, and, ultimately, of socio-political structures. In particular, the narrative focus on these figures opens up gaps and fissures in the flow of narration, allowing for the construction of new meanings – in the same way as the different short stories, creating gaps in the macro-structure of the volume, allow for the emergence of alternative protagonists. In fact, their unconventional otherness leads them to take on the creative role usually reserved to the protagonist-narrator. Thus, the short narrative form in You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town brings to the fore the resistance to colonial appropriation and categorization, a resistance embodied by these liminal, alternative figures.
Settore L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese
European Network for Short Fiction Research-ENSFR
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
‘Minor’ Protagonists? Outcasts and Outsiders as Resistance in Zoë Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town / M. Fossati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Borders, Intersections, and Identity in the Contemporary Short Story in English tenutosi a Santiago de Compostela nel 2019.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/828238
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