Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women

By Simone A. James Alexander | Go to book overview

1

Resisting Zombification
(Re)Writing/Righting the Literary Canon

Coming of age in Antigua—so touching and familiar . . . it could be happening to any of us, anywhere, any time, any place.

New York Times Book Review

I don't think that American women have much that we can draw from. I mean the use of language is very different, and their concerns are much different. A much different sensibility. For instance, I think that American black people seem to feel almost-that being black is a predestination in some way. They have a kind of nationalism that we don't have: black nationalism. Because they are a minority, they are more concerned with their identity being extinct, whereas we don't feel that way. Everybody is black. I mean, we don't think white people are permanent. We don't feel permanent, either, but that feeling of “there will always be white people sitting on top of black people”—we don't have. . . . Black nationalism in this country is very much because there is an acceptance, in some way, of how the majority of population have thought about black people. There is very much an internalization of that. Why else have “black pride”? I mean there is no reason to be particularly proud of something you can't help. It is not an effort you made and you became black. It is just the way you are. There is nothing particularly pleasing or displeasing about it. But if you could somehow let them understand that their view of you had nothing to do with you and it remains with them, they are befuddled. But I believe that is a very West Indian trait. They have never really buckled, maybe because they are a majority.

—Jamaica Kincaid, “A Lot of Memory”

The two quotes, the first by the New York Times Book Review, the other by the author Jamaica Kincaid herself, illuminate as well as serve as precursors to the ambivalence and contradictions often linked to both the author and her work. Inasmuch as Kincaid's works

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