Postcolonialism in Halflead Bay
Question: How do the literary works mediate or contribute to readers’ understandings of history and/or culture. Discuss with reference to one or more works studied.
‘Halflead Bay,’ a long-story taken from Nam Le’s The Boat collection, is classified as a Bildungsroman: a story of education, similar to that of the coming of age style. More specifically, this genre focuses on the main character and the hardship and experiences they endure, which ultimately produce some crucial moral development, which contribute to the character’s maturity. Considering Le’s history, as a refugee and as an immigrant to Australia from Vietnam, it it is clear that his writing has a sense of postcolonial elements. These two points significantly support Le’s work in mirroring the culture and history of Australia, which not coincidentally, is the location in which the story is set.
Jamie, a confused teenager on the cusp of adulthood, has to cope with the emotional burden of his dying mother, the onset of his sexual maturity and the pressure of gaining his fathers respect. Jamie is portrayed as a strong character by indirectly stating how he is handling his mothers withering state. As a reader, it is hard to put yourself in his position but Le captures the essence of a powerful character dealing with this obstacle the best he can. Le represents Jamie as the most emotionally controlled male in the house, posing his character as a mediator; he also cares for his mother, which is another supporting factor. This can be related to Australia as the fact that Jamie is not as old as his father but still has the ability to control him self better, can be used to understand the concept of Australia being a young country and enduring hardships just the same. An example of this would be the Stolen Generation of the Indigenous people in the early