Voicing the Censored Self: Reinscriptions of Un-Freedom in Suchen Christine Lim’s “Fistful of Colours”

By Grace V. S. Chin.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper probes the connection between the established structures of censorship operating in the narratives of race and culture and their psychological implications on the subjective interiority of the central character, Suwen, in Suchen Christine Lim’s “Fistful of Colours”. By focusing on the foreclosure of subject-formation through Suwen’s failure of voice and agency, the text stresses the debilitating effects of state and cultural authority on the gendered subjectivity through her internalized condition of un-freedom. At the same time, trauma in the form of sexual molestation also contributes to reinforcing the inner mechanisms of self-censorship. The recurring textual silences and voids, projected by the corporeal body’s daily rituals of avoidance and self-censorship, not only reaffirm the psychical wounds and dislocations working in the interiority, but also point to places where creative expressions of the censored self are enabled. This double-edged paradox deconstructs the narrow interpretation of censorship as a form of foreclosure, while attaching different connotations to the discourse of censorship as a means to locating different spaces of expression and agency.

Keywords: Postcolonial, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Censorship

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 9, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.145MB).

Dr. Grace V. S. Chin

Lecturer, Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Dr. Grace V. S. Chin received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Malaya and her Ph.D. degree in English literature from the University of Hong Kong. She is currently teaching English literature and language at the University of Brunei Darussalam. As a former journalist in Malaysia, Dr. Chin is interested in exploring the concepts of censorship and freedom and their effects on gendered identities and subjectivities.


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