Magazine article New Internationalist

Growing Up Stupid under the Union Jack

Magazine article New Internationalist

Growing Up Stupid under the Union Jack

Article excerpt

by Austin Clarke (Signal Books/Ian Randle Publishers, ISBN 1 902669 70 3/976 637 108 3)

[Graph Not Transcribed]

First published in 1980, Austin Clarke's memoir of his education in 1940s Barbados is, on the surface, an uncomplicated and affable tale of a colonial boyhood. But captured in its pages - and typified by that splendid title - is a laser-sharp portrait of the stratifications and petty tyrannies of the colonial system and the daily idiocies brought about by imposing a structure of English rules and attitudes on a small Caribbean island.

Clarke's book opens with his admission, as a scholarship boy, into the prestigious Combermere School, an establishment which prepared boys for careers in the Civil Service or the Law with a strict regime of Latin and French, Pythagoras' theorem and flogging. In his wonderfully vivid account of wartime Barbados, Clarke exposed the faultlines of colonial Bajan life. …

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