Reader-Response Theory and Dialogic Analysis of Gerald Vizenor’s The Heirs of Columbus


  •  Ghazala Rashid    
  •  Ali Ahmed Kharal    

Abstract

This article has employed the theory of Bakhtin’s (1895–1975) dialogism, and Wolfgang Iser’s (1926–2007) reader-response theory to examine the socio-political, and historical implications of Gerald Vizenor’s The Heirs of Columbus. The Heirs of Columbus (Heirs) was written to dismantle the historical oppression of Native Americans (NA) throughout the post Columbian era. Dialogism is an umbrella term that creates difference between historical and Native American discourse, providing new passages to comprehend the marginalized silenced other; in other words, it helps create a voice for the vanishing Indian. We have systematically identified the use of dialogic techniques like subversion, carnival, polyphony and heteroglossia in Heirs while, at the same time, analyzing his text through the framework of Iser’s reader-response theory. We have come to the conclusion that Iser’s theory is not enough to analyze Vizenor’s revolutionary text since Vizenor provokes his readers to draw their own conclusions rather than conforming to set of fixed ideals of author.



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