Metonymy-(A figure of speech characterized by) the action of substituting for a word or phrase denoting an object, action, institution,etc., a word or phrase denoting a property or something associated with it; an instance of this (menon). In other words, it is an instance of substituting an attribute/part of something, or something associated with that something, for the thing itself.
(This definition may prove useful to understanding what the "menace of mimicry" is.)
"The menace of mimicry is its double vision[...]And it is a double vision that is a result of the partial representation/recognition of the colonial object" (88) Say, in this case, the "colonial object" is the black man.
"The menace of mimicry[...]is a desire that reverses 'in part' the colonial appropriation by now producing a partial vision of the colonizer's presence, a gaze of otherness which liberates marginal elements and shatters the unity of man's being through which he extends his sovereignty"(88-89). The "gaze of otherness[...]shatters the unity of man's being," and he can thusly only see himself in parts which represent a greater whole, in the fragmentation of his identity, as opposed the the "myth of the undifferentiated whole white body"(92).
"The observer becomes the observed and 'partial' representation rearticulates the whole notion of identity and alienates it from essence," since that essence is now based on 'parts' of an identity, attributes of it which cannot define the whole of a man's identity. It is this metonymic practice of 'partializing' the colonial object's identity that creates the bread of identity crisis found in Othello, for instance. The notion of the observer (that is, the colonialist/observer of the colonial object) becoming the observed (observed by the colonial object) is very critical in a play where the question of whose gaze defines the identity of the tragic figure. Bhabha points to the problems of assigning one quality to an entire race when he talks about "metonymies of presence (90). Othello becomes the observer of the Venetian men and mimics a representation of them, thereby creating an inauthentic reality for himself, by problematically "rearticulating 'reality' as mimicry" (91).
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