Publication Date

4-15-2018

Advisor(s)

Christina Crosby

Major

English

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The project of this thesis is to understand the ways that three Caribbean women writers—Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, and Erna Brodber—recover voice and orality from the powers of colonial recitation and mimicry and the printed word. Each author is positioned between Gayatri Spivak's work on measured silence and Edouard Glissant's "explosive scream." The native woman is continually refracted and driven out into silence, while the Caribbean body can't inhabit this silence and remains restless—a body following a voice. This thesis considers first measuring silence—how to write out of silence and the way in which the Caribbean woman's silence is always inflected with levels of voice and orality. Next, it turns to the possibility of subaltern speech in Jamaica Kincaid's work. It will also consider how Caribbean oral forms transform through a turn to the written—how Rhys couldn't capture or express Christophine's orality through a rewriting of the European novel, but how other Caribbean texts, like Kincaid's and Brodber's, "take shape at the edge of writing and speech" (Glissant, Caribbean Discourse 147). After establishing the intimate connection between voice and body in Caribbean women's writing, the thesis will turn towards place and location—tracking a turn in Caribbean literary criticism from an emphasis on migratory subjectivities in the 90s to a more recent emphasis on those who have remained in the Caribbean. Lastly, I'll consider the ways that voice, body, and place converge in Brodber's Myal.

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