How can language become representative of identity?
And where does the interlinking of identity and language emanate from? and how does language become representative of identity? Smith tells us; “The rhetoric gesture in postcolonial literary theory is to celebrate the opening up of things that are said to have been closed” . We can identify this understanding dualistically. okpik, while writing from an autobiographical context is opening her lost history, which encompasses both self-identity. Sze explains; “She […] draws on her Inupiat heritage, but she is firmly rooted in the complexities, tensions, and challenges of our contemporary world”. This contribution to human communication and observations through language is a speech that establishes a system of relationships, a system of language that becomes an identifier to lost culture and therefore her once lost identity. Who has control over meaning?
Okpik is allegorical, a symbolic narrative, which holds major hidden features. Corpse whale is a symbolic reference to death. How symbols come to be known and so brought back into being force becomes potent, this is where power lies.
Barry tells us; “Fanon argued that the first step for ‘colonized’ people in finding a voice and an identity is to reclaim their own past.” It is from this sense of interlinking concepts that we can begin to consider the relationship between language and power and language and identity. okpik symbolically casts out a net in search of recognition or remembrance, it is her rhetoric, her uses of lost language that opens a deeper understanding of identity, that once saw her set apart, her words become her social identity, perhaps autobiographical, but also with a sense of re-establishing connections with a partially lost or fully lost culture. In the collection Corpse Whale, language Is used to explore identity and utilizes the native tongue; its effects are that of traditional oration, the style of using recognized and existing language. It is her relationship with the world so to speak, this can be recognised through Thiong’o’s concepts;