Caribbean autobiography and orature
Pfeiffer, Mark Armin
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Texts from Caribbean authors serve as a framework for questions of individual self representation that blends the aesthetics of both oral literature and written literature while situating identity within a collective context. In the discussion of Jamaica Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother, Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory, Maryse Condé I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, and Audre Lordes Zami: A New Spelling of My Name this dissertation studies the choice of component elements in autobiographical texts and shows how the use of autobiographical practices, oral literature and collective identity construct identities that resist sexist and racist ideologies and work to re-cast ethnic and feminine identities in positive terms. In showing how these texts generate a range of feminine and feminist constructions of identity in which questions of gender, ethnicity and sexuality are primary concerns, the study identifies common practices and themes despite the diversity of the texts. As a common framework to all these texts, life writing, especially fictional autobiography, is shown to be a practice of engagement and resistance through which identity can be textually constructed in ways that politicize self-representation and challenge prevalent discourses that remain from the colonial and postcolonial histories of the Caribbean islands.