Both The Poisonwood Bible and Alice
in Wonderland ask the question: “What role does feminism play in
colonialism?” Colonialism and imperialism are typically movements attributed to
men—not only colonizing and conquering new lands, but also figuratively
conquering women themselves. However, both texts figure women as colonists,
though unsuccessful ones. They are not aggressively conquering the new lands
they come in contact with, but are rather displaced females who are disoriented
and confused by the shift from the values and doctrine of their patriarchal
homeland and the things they have learned in the new world. Do these texts make
a point that women are not conquerors, but absorbers? Are they saying that
women are primarily interested in having empathy for and understanding new
people and practices rather than overcoming and replacing them?
I plan on circulating this question through an email to my fellow writers and staffers on Insight Magazine with me.