Arms Akimbo: Africana Women in Contemporary Literature

By Janice Lee Liddell; Yakini Belinda Kemp | Go to book overview

8
Fire and Ice
The Socioeconomics of Romantic Love in When Rocks Dance by Elizabeth Nunez-Harrell

THELMA B. THOMPSON-DELOATCH

Somewhere among the older Jamaican rhymes and quips is, or was, this couplet:

Men are dogs, they are made to roam
Women are cats to stay at home.

To the Caribbean woman writer, the deeper cultural norm that supports such a notion is well known and well examined. It is the basis for Susheila Nasta's observation that "the post-colonial woman writer is not only involved in making herself heard, in changing the architecture of male-centered ideologies and languages. . . . [S]he has also to subvert and demythologize indigenous male writings and traditions which seek to label her" (xv).

Critical exegeses on Caribbean women's writings are replete with examinations of the contrasting issues represented in this literature: past/present/future, oppressor/victim, youth/age, native/foreign. But one focus that marks the emergence of Caribbean women's fiction as significant is the varied responses to the female dilemma and their varied strategies for resistance and survival.

In Elizabeth Nunez-Harrell's novel When Rocks Dance, seemingly, a conscious effort is made to include the various oppositional forces that tend to appear in the postcolonial writings. The novel takes its integrity from conflicts whose roots rest in the colonial system; race; and gender, class, politics, religion, culture, history, and geography. Romantic in the classical sense, the novel balances the mythical with the historic and sociological concepts of womanhood and seeks to resolve selected con

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