Avatar - An Analogy For The Colonization Process Essay

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In this essay, I will evaluate the film, Avatar, as a context for the colonization process. I will thus begin with an abstract of the film’s subject matter and state its leitmotif, then, move onto define the concepts colonization, dependency theory and elaborate on their correlation. Whilst delineating between and discussing these concepts I will illustrate how these notions are of relevance to the subtext and are, thus, applicable to the film. Avatar is a science fiction film, and part adventure movie (Avatar, 2009). It is a story set in a fantasy world a few million light years away from planet earth. On this planet, called Pandora, an indigenous hunter-gatherer population, the Na’vi, live in harmony with nature and the distinct absence of modern technology or weapons. They are non-the-less portrayed as a primitive people that wear feathers, bones and animal skins. Pandora, the planet of the Na’vi is a lush fauna and flora as well as a mineral rich planet. Human beings, through universal exploration, discover Pandora and encounter the Na’vi. What ensues is an attempt by the humans, through militarized industrial action, to exploit the planet’s natural resources. The coveted material in this case is a fictional mineral called “unobtainium” (Avatar, 2009). The movie is undoubtedly a critical re-evaluation of colonization and attempts to tell the story of colonization from the colonized perspective. But, what is colonization, what are its effects and how is it mirrored in this film? A working definition of the concept should elucidate its ramifications. Thus, colonialism can be defined “as a system of domination, which involves the subjugation of one group of people by another (Ghandi, 1988:8). To this effect, it has been argued that colonialism is the active acquisition of foreign territories and people with the intention of exercising dominion over them

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