Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women

By Simone A. James Alexander | Go to book overview

Introduction

Reclaiming Identities
Afro-Caribbean Women Writers Writing the Self

Although recent scholarship has attempted to give voice to women's writings, notably those of Western women, Caribbean women writers and their writings have received little critical attention, and as such their works have seldom been given the serious scholarly attention or sustained critical scrutiny they deserve. In conformity with this lack, comparatively little has been published about Afro-Caribbean women writers. Despite this oversight or minimal acknowledgment of their works, it would be misleading to suggest that Caribbean women writers have not gained some level of recognition over the last decade. Among the writers who have gained national and international recognition are Paule Marshall and Maryse Condé. 1.

The three Caribbean women writers who are at the forefront and arguably occupy center stage of Caribbean writings in the Western Hemisphere are Paule Marshall, Maryse Condé, and Jamaica Kincaid. 2. Although geographically situated in the West, these women establish a direct and distinct connection with the Caribbean as they write “home.” 3. It is rather ironic that though situated in the “master's house,” the women are empowered and heroically assert

____________________
1.
Paule Marshall's most recent novel, Daughters (1992), was selected by Booklist as the best novel of the year. Maryse Condé was the recipient of the prestigious French award Le Grand Prix Litteraire de la Femme, and the first woman to be honored as a Puterbaugh Fellow by the University of Oklahoma. Grace Nichols's I Is a Long Memoried Woman won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1983. Zee Edgell's first novel, Beka Lamb (1982), won the 1982 Fawcett Society Book Prize.
2.
This assertion is not intended to undermine or overlook the great works by other Caribbean women authors, but these three women are often found on college curricula and are taught more often in U.S. colleges and universities. They are also frequently the subjects of ongoing debates at conferences.
3.
All three authors reside permanently in the United States but have maintained connections with their respective homes, Kincaid with Antigua, Marshall with her adopted home, Barbados (she is a first-generation immigrant of Barbadian parentage), and Condé with Guadeloupe, either through their writings or

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