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Mother and Motherland in Jamaica Kincaid

Sabrina Brancato

This book introduces students to the work of the Caribbean writer Jamaica Kincaid. The author offers a close analysis of six of Kincaid’s works, reading the central theme of the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter as a metaphor for the dialectic of power and powerlessness governing nature and history. Placed in the specific context of the Caribbean in colonial times, the mother-daughter plot reads as an allegory of the conflict between the motherland and the colony. The association is played out at two levels, with the nurturing figure of childhood embodying the African-rooted Caribbean world, and the scornful mother of adolescence evoking the subjugating colonial power. Two conflicting worlds, the African and the European, meet in the duplicitous figure of the mother.
Contents: At the Bottom of the River: Mothering and the Quest for the Self – Annie John: Growing Up Under Mother Empire – A Small Place: The Legacy of Colonialism in Post-Colonial Antigua – Lucy: Between Worlds – The Autobiography of My Mother: The Decolonisation of the Body My Brother: The Homicidal Maternal Womb Revisited.