This article considers how postcolonial narratives written partly in the first-person plural collective voice reflect recent critical developments in postcolonial studies rather than echoing the outmoded “writing back” paradigm. Even colonial texts such as Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of the “Narcissus,” according to narratologists the earliest example of extensive we-narration to which postcolonial authors respond, dramatize the inherent multiplicity of the self rather than writing into being an opposition between a colonial “we” and a colonized “other.” Early postcolonial we-narratives such as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat, this essay suggests, also display a narrative “we” that transgresses the conventional postcolonial center/periphery paradigm. Here the first-person plural voice becomes a marker of multidirectional inclusions and demarcations, equally highlighting the internal fragmentation of the collective “we.”

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