The British have influenced the perspective of the Caribbean people in
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
The British have influenced the perspective of the Caribbean people in many ways. The people's self awareness, religion, language, and culture has coped with the influx of British ideals and in coping, the people have changed to appease the islands' highly influential British population. Three excepts highly influenced by the British ideals are "Crick Crack Monkey" by Merle Hodge, "My Aunt Gold Teeth" by V. S. Naipaul, and "If I could Write This in Fire, I Would Write This in Fire" by Michelle Cliff. All three excepts show the among the people of the islands, whether native or foreign. In examining the three passages, each author presents a unique perspective. Hodge's story is presented through the eyes of a black , lower class girl of Trinidad in the 1950s. Naipaul uses an unidentified East Indian boy to tell his story. A young white girl becomes the narrator of cliff's excerpt. By using Cliff's perspective to examine the perspective of the other two passages. A unique interpretation of the British influence on the Caribbean people develops.
Friction among people of different color is clearly displayed within the writings; However, looking at the story of "Crick Crack Monkey" through the eyes of a young white girl, rather than a young black girl, the reader might see the injustice and the ethnic discrimination that a black person must endure. She would not be accustomed to being called a "little black nincompoop" (Hodge 457), and she would most likely not have to suffer a physical beating with a ruler (Hodge 456). In Lady Aunt Gold Teeth, the issue of color is evident through the aunt's religious affiliation. Changing the color of the narrator in My Aunt Gold Teeth might make a difference in the way the person perceives their aunt. For example, the narrator says, "I was rather ashamed at the exhibition" (Na 463), when his aunt appears to have "got the spirit" (CS 462). The Indian boy is probably more ashamed of the aunt's reference to "Hail Mary" than her physical exhibition. From the perspective of a white Anglican child at that time, the behavior of the aunt would be acceptable and understandable, but for the Indian boy, brought up on Hinduism, such actions would seem foreign and confusing. Racism is evident in the writings by Caribbean authors, and their intent to expose the British as the perpetrators of the racism is
also apparent when looking at it through a white girl's perspective.
Religious confusion is another result of the British occupation in the Caribbean. Both Hodge and Naipaul use their writing to expose the problems Caribbean people experience with religion. The influence of the church is made apparent in the writings by all three authors. A striking example can be found on page 455 in Hodge's story "Crick Crack Monkey". The narrator of the story tells how the students made "sound" at the beginning and at end of each class period. The "sound" were the classic English "Our Father", the children did not understand the words. The children just memorized the sounds and not the actual meaning. Hodge writes the sound Mrs. Hind attempt to redeem the children; however, this is in the perspective of a adult looking back at her childhood, at the time the "Our Father" was just sound. Another example, "every Sunday afternoon Tantie dressed Toddan and me and sent us to the Pentecost Sunday-school in preference to that of the Anglican church" (Hodge 455); however, in school "under Mrs. Hind's direction we would recite Children of the Empire Ye Are Brothers All" (Hodge 454). Hodge wrote of both religious experiences to show the confusion that the children were undergoing, In the other passage by Naipaul, a similar confusion exists. "Aunt Gold Teeth" is confused by the barrage of propaganda by the various religious groups, and "every day her religious schizophrenia gr[ows]" (Naipaul 459). In trading the narrators' perspectives, one can assume the young white girl would react differently to the situation than the Indian boy. Assuming the white girl believes in Christianity, she would probably be happy, rather than confused, about the aunt's conversion in faith. The authors clearly show the people's confusion with religion, and in the process, they show the problem lies in
View Full Essay
Merle Hodge, V. S. Naipaul, Hodge
More Free Essays Like This