Postcolonial literature, which includes literary criticism, is any literature that depicts or interprets colonialism and imperialism from the point of view of the colonized. It is also characterized as the view-from-below or the subaltern view.
For too long, many contend, the story of colonized, displaced, or oppressed peoples was told from the point of view of the conqueror. Notorious examples are Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden," which praises white colonizers for all they put up with trying to "civilize" ungrateful "savages" and the genre of "happy plantation" literature, including Gone with the Wind, that portrays black people as contented and joyful in slavery.
Post-colonial literature tells a far different story. Most often, it is written by a member of a colonized or subaltern group. Writers with knowledge of what it is like to be colonized or oppressed, such as Chinua Achebe, or, in the non-fiction world, Franz Fanon or Edward Said, often can give an authentic and corrective view of what that experience feels like and how it has been misconstrued by the ruling classes.
Post-colonial critics take the perspective of the oppressed and colonized in works of literature. Many critics, for example, have come to the defense of Shakespeare's Caliban in The Tempest, who teaches Prospero how to survive and then is enslaved by him and called a monster.