Colonialism In Venus Hottentot

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Suzan Lori Parks’ play, Venus Hottentot, depicts a life of a native African woman named Saartjie Bartman, who travelled to Europe by deception, and was exploited first as an ugly creature for a show and then as an object of study for anatomists. Saartjie Baartman was born in 1789 in Eastern Cape of South Africa, and worked on a Dutch colonial farm. As a teenager, Saartjie attracted the attention of a ship’s doctor, William Dunlop, who is represented in the play as The Man. William Dunlop expecting to make fortune on Saartjie’s unusual for Europeans body deceived Saartjie and took her to England, where she was exhibited in a freak show. Then, in 1814 Saartjie was sold to George Cuvier, Napoleon’s surgeon, who I represented in the play as The Baron Docteour. Cuvier studied Saartjie’s anatomy and after her death dissected the body for closer investigation. Suzan Lori Parks in Venus Hottentot criticizes racism and colonialism trough the character of Saartjie Baartman, represented in the play as Venus Hottentot. Particularly, Parks emphasizes European image of African people characterized as savage and backward, and economic exploitation of African people. Parks illustrates how European colonizers were able to evade the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The character of Venus Hottentot does not represent only one person but all people in Africa. However, Parks depicts Venus Hottentot as a narrow-minded person, who is in pursuit of fame and rich life becomes a co-author
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