Riassunto esame Cultura e Letteratura Inglese I, prof. Polopoli, libro consigliato Cambridge, Caryl Philips
colonial writing, because colonial people used to take journal where used to describe what they
Emily tries to be a neutral observer, using rhetorical strategies of the perfect scientist, in order to
sound objective and truthful. However, in colonial writing, the notion of absolute objectivity is false
and it’s used to construct a Eurocentric perspective. Emily: ‘as is commonly known’ p. 24; ‘I am led
to believe’ p. 28; ‘it should be clear’ p. 25; “The gentleman informed me, in a short but edifying
lecture, that the true natives of this region were of an Indian origin (hence the name West Indies).
Sadly, they were discovered to be too troublesome and unused to European ways and has to be
dispatched.” P. 24.
Despite her objective formulation, her words contain her subjectivity. She never questions white
superiority but she always takes it for granted. She always uncritically accepts historical facts and
events that white men tell her, without investigate about their truth.
As a would-be scholar, her diligent report reveals an uncritical mind rather than an investigative
When Emily describes black people what she usually does is to employ a zoological vocabulary.
Her choice of words and terms is not innocent and limited to the European world view. In front of
the unknown she describes it using a European code.
Still on a carriage on her way to the plantation, she comes across “a number of pigs (…), and after
them a small parcel of monkeys.” But what she has taken for pigs and monkeys are “nothing other
than negro children, naked as they were born, parading in a feral manner” (pp. 23-4). She
repeatedly associates the black inhabitants of the island with the animal kingdom and classifies
them as subhuman. In negating their humanity, she constructs the slaves different from white
people and their unredeemable savagery.
Emily’s point of view expresses an idea of identity and culture, that is fixed. The colonizers role
was that of making black people civilized. She refers to slave homes as “narrow nests” (67) and
the noises coming from the slave village as a distant “braying” (32). Observing the black people’s
favourite pastime of dancing after sunset, she comments as follows: “their movements appeared to
be wholly dictated by the caprice of the moment” (p. 44)
Throughout the text there are many examples of Emily’s reflections about her changing ideas, and
in this way, she constructs black people otherness. She reacts to the unknown, by building their
difference, using, and creating stereotypes. The colony and its inhabitants are constructed in
Emily’s mind, which mirrors the European mind.
“I looked on with revulsion as these cannibals clamoured to indulge themselves with this meat, and
I wished that with the growth of civilisation in the negro, the gorging of such unacceptable swinish
parts might soon cease” (p. 44)
Emily casts a disapproving look upon black people’s passion for wearing extravagant clothes on
Sundays and festive occasions. She prefers to see “the negroes, male and female, in their filthy
native garb, for in these circumstances they do not violate laws of taste which civilized people have
spent many centuries to establish.” (p. 66)
The eating habits of the slaves make Emily be convinced that they are below or beyond what she
considers properly human and that’s why she feels this hate towards them, their cultures, and their
habits. For Emily, their half-nakedness is itself sign and symptom of sexual intemperance: “Negro
relations would appear to have much in common with those practised by animals in the field, for
they seem to find nothing unnatural in breeding with whomsoever they should stumble upon.” (p.
36) • Cambridge’s first-person narrative is in the form of a spiritual testament. He recounts his
life, his childhood in the Africa where he grows up as Olumide. He was kidnapped and
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher morreale.9 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Cultura e Letteratura inglese I e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Catania - Unict o del prof Polopoli Valeria.
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