Postcolonial Trauma in Kateb Yacine’s Nedjma

Lana Waleed, Fatima Muhaidat


This study discusses traumatic effects of colonialism upon characters in Kateb Yacine’s Nedjma (1956). Colonialism damages the psyche of the colonized, causing them a lot of emotional and mental pain. This traumatic pain makes the colonized easy victims of inner weakness and violence. The life of the colonized is worthless, making some of them helplessly accept their intolerable life as it is while others find counter violence a way to reduce their tension and misery. As a result of experiencing massive losses, characters in the novel show different signs of trauma; they seem overwhelmed by a sense of loss, violence, denial and confusion. With feelings of self-inferiority instilled into their minds, the colonized become programmed to accept the superiority of their oppressors. Losing faith in the power of their native language to express themselves, they use their colonizers’ language and copy their lifestyle. Moreover, the racism and dehumanization experienced during years of colonization lead to a breach between the colonized and their social and moral values. This state of estrangement in the life of the colonized undermines their self-confidence and their sense of identity. Loss of strong meaningful connections with native origins makes them submissive or even victims of self-dehumanization and aimlessness. With no hope to turn the tide, colonialism may result in considerable distortion in the social structures and values of the colonized, affecting their personal attitudes and their relationships with the world around them.


World literature; Postcolonial trauma; Symptoms of trauma; Kateb Yacine; Nedjma

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