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標題: Spectral Truth: Rewriting Human Rights in Michael Ondaatje''s Anil''s Ghost
作者: 劉書宏
Liu, Shu-hung
關鍵字: diaspora;離散;professionalism;history-writing;truth;NGO;human rights;專業主義;歷史書寫;真理;非政府組織;人權
出版社: 外國語文學系

This thesis examines the global extension of human rights in the work of Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost. Human rights are the concepts accompanied with sets of laws protecting the basic needs and freedom of human beings. However, when human rights are taken as the medium of negotiation between the West and the East, they might be problematic. Anil's Ghost contributes to the political discussion about the applicability of a universal human rights discourse and the West's strategy to legislate those rights as the “universal truth.” Ondaatje sets the historical background of the novel in the 1980s when the civil war of Sri Lanka took place. Because of the numerous deaths caused by the civil war, an UN-sponsored non-government organization is dispatched to take charge of the human rights investigation in Sri Lanka. The protagonist, Anil, as the representative of the non-government organization, is responsible for seeking the evidence to determine whether the Sri Lankan government has been killing and torturing its people during the civil war. By focusing on Anil's investigation, this thesis will unveil how “human rights” are perceived as the “universal truth” in the West and its possible inapplicability in the local Sri Lanka.
The first chapter examines Anil's diasporic identity constructed on the basis of western professionalism. Trained and selected as a professional specialist, Anil is interpellated by the professional ideology. The second chapter discusses how Ondaatje composes the novel by coordinating two approaches of history-writing. Comparing and contrasting the concepts of history between the West and the East, Ondaatje also emphasizes the fact that the two approaches, the documentary research and the constructivist approach, are both necessary and indispensable. The third chapter discusses the discourses of truth and human rights. This chapter examines that Anil's idea of truth and human rights constructed on the basis of the western epistemology and institution. The conclusion of the thesis highlights the local concepts of truth. It also discusses if Ondaatje provides any possibility in the novel to solve the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Appears in Collections:外國語文學系所

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