1 CLASS INTER RUPTIONS: CROSS CLASS RELATIONSHIPS IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN AMERICAN AN By ROBIN BROOKS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2 Â© 2014 Robin Brooks
3 To TJB, a true warrior
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I would like to thank my dissertation chair, Leah Rosenberg. She has always shared in my excitement about literature of the African diaspora, and I am appreciative of the awesome and compassionate feedback she has provided concerning my project throughout this process. In addition, I would like to thank my committee members, Amy Ongiri and Apollo Amoko, for their support of my project and for simply being genuine people. They both possess a wealth of knowledge and I am very thankful that they shared some of it with me over these past few years. My external committee member, Faye Harrison, deserves high praises as well. Not o nly did she further my intellectual project with her advice but also she offered me valuable information that I can carry with me throughout my career. I appreciate that I was able to enjoy numerous office visits, lunch dates, and academic events with her for five years. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge RaÃºl SÃ¡nchez who helped me with my first academic publication and who was a source o f support my entire time at UF; Debra Walker King who led an independent study on African American litera ry theory and criticism for me; and both Kenneth Kidd and Phil Wegner who facilitated my smooth start and acclimation to the PhD program. Also, I give great thanks to those who offered me feedback and facilitated my research while I was in residence at the Universi ty of the West Indies, Mona in Kingston, Jamaica, especially Nadi Edwards who is such a kind hearted person, Carolyn Cooper, Michael Bucknor, Anthea Morrison, Carolyn Allen, Khitanya Petgrave and Verene Shepherd. Likewise, I offer thanks to the writers who allowed me to interview them and use their work in this project, including Olive Senior, Diana McCaulay, Merle Hodge, Sharon Burney, Keisha Brissette and Natalee Cole. Some of the organizations and offices that have supported my research during my doctora l studies deserve mention as well, including the Modern Language Association (South Atlantic), the Working Class Studies Association, the Florida Education Fund, the UF Graduate School, and the UF Office of
5 Graduate Minority Programs. It excited me that ot hers agreed that my project was a worthwhile venture. Certainly, I cannot forget about my new and old friends, colleagues, and professors for their assistance on this journey. I count it a blessing that there are far too many to name! I am grateful forever . Finally, I give the greatest thanks to my biological and McKnight families for their unwavering faith in me, encouragement, cheers, and prayers throughout this stage in my life. Thank you for shaping me into the person I am today. I could never repay you for all that you have done, and I am humbled even more that you would never ask that of me.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION C LASS LINES: LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING ........... 10 Historicizing Issues of Class ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 21 Defining Class and Working Class ................................ ................................ ......................... 29 Methodological and Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ .......... 33 ................................ ................................ ........................ 38 Novels and Politics: Work with an Agenda ................................ ................................ ............ 43 Chapter Summaries ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 48 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 51 2 CRICK CRACK, MONKEY AND OLIVE DANCING LESSONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 62 ................................ ............................. 67 ................................ ................. 76 Challenging the System: Resistance and Alternate Paths ................................ ....................... 86 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 92 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 93 3 THE WRONG AND RIGHT SIDES OF THE TRACKS: MAPPING THE LINDEN HILLS ................ 96 Class Friendship ................................ ................................ ......... 101 Class Friend ship ................................ ................................ ..... 115 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 129 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 130 4 THE HAVES AND THE HA VE NOTS: BARRIERS TO CROSS CLASS DIALOGUE DOG HEART ................................ ................................ ......... 134 Uptown and Downtown: Class Divides in Jamaica ................................ .............................. 137 Climbing Over Invisible Walls: Stereotypes, Prejudices, and Misunderstandings .............. 145 Teach Dem How to Act, Dem Nuh Know ................................ ................................ ............ 155 Globalization and Human Rights Violations ................................ ................................ ........ 158 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 165 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 166
7 5 ROMANTIC FLIRTATIONS: INTIMATE LIAISONS ACROSS (CLASS) BORDERS TAR BABY TIDE RUNNING .. 170 The Romantic Cross Class Relationships ................................ ................................ ............. 172 Romancing the Working Classes in Tar Baby ................................ ................................ ...... 177 Romance, Fantasies, and Class in Tide Running ................................ ................................ .. 189 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 201 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 202 6 CONCLUSION A (CLASS) LOOK INTO THE FUTURE ................................ .............. 208 ................................ ................................ .................. 208 Notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 211 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 212 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 236
8 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CLASS INTER RUPTIONS: CROSS CLASS RELATIONSHIPS IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN AMERICAN AN By Robin Brooks August 2014 Chair: Leah Rosenberg Major: English Participating in contemporary discourses on class relations, this dissertation project examines literary representations of class, particularly working class portrayals, in African the 2010 s . I argue that literary artists, including Gloria Naylor , Toni Morrison, Dawn Turner Trice, Olive Senior, Merle Hodge, Oonya Kempadoo, and Diana McCaulay, advocate for a reassessment of economic, social and political practices within U . S . and Caribbean societi es while leading readers to greater their literary portrayals to critique: 1) class inequalities of their respective nations and 2) class division within A frican American and Caribbean communities. The cross class relationship trope is a literary technique that pairs two characters from different class backgrounds, and generally, the cross class relationships are between working class and middle class characters. T his project identifies four types of cross class relationships that African American and Caribbean authors underscore, including community based relationships, romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships. Foregrounding class in general and working classes in particular, my project fills a gap in contemporary literary studies and working class studies. Despite the fact that many African
9 American and Caribbean literary artists themselves accentuate the closely intertwined roles of race, gender, and class in defining identity, contemporary scholarship in the fields of African American and Caribbean literary studies tends to emphasize race and gender in shaping a tion of class. Just as much as African American and Caribbean scholarship has elided working class portrayals in their analyses, scholars within the field of working class studies have not conducted comprehensive examinations on African American or Caribbe an literature. Ultimately, this project demonstrates how African American and Caribbean writers contribute to literary, class, and feminist studies and how they participate in contemporary discourses on class through their use of the cross class relationsh ip trope, which offers a lens for examining class within literature.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION CLASS LINES: LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING the subject tha the silence talking about class and coming to terms with where we stand is a necessary step if we are to live in a world where prosperity and plenty can be shared, where justice can be realized in our public and private lives. bell hooks Where We Stand: Class Matters The role of class, specifically working class portrayals, in African American and Civil Rights and post independence time period (1970 2010s ) is the focus of this project. 1 Writers have delineated working class culture in literary works since the nineteenth century in English speaking Caribbean nations and since the seventeenth century in the United States (U . S . ). 2 Working c lass characters or characters representative of the folk or peasant culture were common and popular features of literature in places such as Jamaica and Trinidad; in fact, working class protagonists held a place of prominence in Anglophone Caribbean litera ture throughout the 1900s. 3 U . S . society, in contrast, either disregarded or deemed working class portrayals as part of an alternative literary tradition. Only during specific times in U . S . history, such as the Depression era of the 1930s, did literature a bout wor king classes receive acclaim . Despite the fact that many African American and Caribbean literary artists themselves continue to accentuate the closely intertwined roles of race, gender, and class in defining identity, contemporary scholarship in th e fields of African American and Caribbean literary studies tends to emphasize race and gender in shaping a further discussions on the topic of class, this projec t explores literary features that portray class both class consciousness and class conflict among the literature of African American and Anglophone Caribbean women. 4 Notwithstanding the different national and literary
11 histories, the working class images in African American and Anglophone Caribbean literatures invoke the experiences of groups of people often marginalized in economic, social, and political class re a tool for these authors to challenge traditional or dominant narratives on class and to provide commentary on contemporary class ideologies. I argue th at contemporary African American and Anglophone Caribbean women writers advocate for a reassessment of economic, social and political practices within U . S . and Caribbean societies while leading readers to greater class consciousness. Specifically, the lite rary artists use a cross class relationship trope in their literary portrayals to critique: 1) class inequalities of their respective nations and 2) class division within African American and Caribbean communities. This trope is a central way through which the authors address issues of class and the novels under exploration in this study clearly evince this trope. The cross class relationship trope is a literary technique that pairs two characters from different class backgrounds, and generally, the cross c lass relationships are between working class characters and middle class characters. 5 Sociological studies on relationships reveal this pairing to be an accurate depiction. 6 In the literary works, the protagonist can be working class, middle class, male or female. The authors pair the protagonist with another character who, usually, is close in age and/or the same gender (but from a different class backg round). At times, the literary texts may have two protagonists (one working class and the other middle class) who form the cross class relationship and who may be in the same age group and/or share the same gender. In each case, the authors connect the cross class pair to a con cern or issue that unites the two characters. The common concern or issue is a key theme or it is associated with a key theme that the authors
12 are emphasizing in the literary work. 7 Interestingly, the authors do not always concentrate directly on work plac es or job sites, settings where there are obvious power relationships between an employer and employee. This is significant because it reveals that the authors are not solely or simply dealing with wages; their depictions and discussions of class expand be yond income brackets. 8 To address the spectrum of concerns highlighted by the cross class relationship trope, this project ident ifies four types of relationships, including : community based relationships, romantic relationships, family relationships, and f riendships. 9 Through these analyses , this project demonstrates how African American and Caribbean writers contribute to literary, class, and feminist studies and how they participate in contemporary discourse s on class through their use of the cross class relationship trope, which offers a lens for examining class within literature. 10 The African American and Caribbean writers in this project often have similar commentary about class inequalities in the U . S . and Caribbean nations and class division within African American and Caribbean communities. In other words, they use the trope to convey that class disparities are working in similar and detrimental ways; thus, an extreme amount of variation does not exis t in the way the authors use the trope. They convey that class conflict and division impedes formation of cross class alliances in general and intraracial class division among African American and Caribbean populations causes further strife within these al ready monolithic perspective or myth that all of African American and Caribbean populations face the same barriers. Both groups of writers present depictions th at suggest the working class populations within these groups, in general, rarely experience upward class mobility. 11 The cross class relationships also expose how some characters come to understand and resist
13 dominant class ideologies. Some authors earnestl y emphasize resistance to various forms of oppression on the parts of working class characters. At times, authors express both apathy and resistance among different characters, presenting models and counter models. Authors emphasize that being conscious of ruling ideologies is the first step in being able to resist them. 12 Resistance in these literary works should not be a surprise, as Patricia Hill Collins asserts that sts, so Feminist Thought 274). 13 the trope to interrogate the detrimental impact of inequities among African American and Caribbean populations is a form of resistance in itself. By in creasing the attention paid to the confluences of these two bodies of literature, scholars can better delineate the long standing relations between America and Caribbean nations. 14 Although the African American and Caribbean writers in this project overwhel mingly use the cross class relationship trope in similar ways, points of difference do exist among their portrayals. Among the African American novels, the most common type of cross class relationship depicted is a friendship between two characters. That i s not the case in the Caribbean novels; the cross class characters tend to be antagonists and more variety in the types of cross class relationships exists . 15 Also, the characters who comprise the relationships in the African American novels are usually African American. In the Caribbean novels, the ethnic makeup of the protagonists varies , though all are Caribbean . The ethnic vari ety allow s the authors to convey a strong correlation betw een cl ass and phenotype ; the lighter a person is the more likely he/she is a part of a higher class. 16 Only in minor ways do the authors differ in their use of the trope concerning characterization.
14 The authors display their greatest difference r egarding choice s of topic or thematic emphasis . This is to be expected given that this project is founded on the premise that a relationship exists between the literary texts and historical material realities. Put differently, the African American and Caribbean authors pro duce literary texts that engage historical phenomena related to the economic, social, and political realms of their societies. Thus, the issues the authors highlight using the cross class relationship trope vary to reflect changes over the 1970 2010 s conte mporary period. Caribbean writers have moved away from dealing with their newness as freely independent nations. Many now probe the failure of Caribbean nations to realize full citizenship or equal opportunities for all in the decades following independenc e. A lack of access to adequate education is a specific instance. Also, an increase of concentration on external influences (particularly from the U . S . ) is present, underscoring the fragility or dependency, in some cases, of Caribbean nations. 17 African Ame rican writers maintain an interest over this entire period in intraracial class antagonism, stressing its self sabotag ing nature and the dangers it pos es for African American communities in a majority white nation. What differs across the period, however, is that the writers greatly intensify their scrutiny of the divisions and intraracial stratification within the communities. Reflecting the increasing disparities between African Americans, all of the African American novels in this project feature intrara cial class antagonism as a significant part of the narrative, but those published later possess more blatant condemnation of the separations by featuring characters that boldly protest this particular state of affairs. Although intraracial class antagonism exists in the Caribbean novels, the antagonism is usually secondary or acts as a backdrop to another major concern under scrutiny by the authors. African American writers also challenge the myth or elusiveness of the American Dream and the costs associate d with chasing after the Dream in the later published novels. They emphasize that
15 upward class mobility is not simple or easy and deliver an alternative narrative, in some cases, by showing tenacious working class characters who do not excel in mainstream society. Some of the writers, too, expand their purview to the African diaspora, not just African Americans. By comparing the two bodies of literature, one learns that the authors fashion or shape the trope to address key or specific issues affecting worki ng class populations in their national communities. Moreover, scholarship in other disciplines, especially the emerging field of working class studies, helps illuminate the structure of the cross class relationship trope. 18 In particular, Michael Zweig, a scholar of economics and working class studies, asserts in Do With It? that to better understand the intricacies of working class life , scholars must also classes undergirds the tenets of the cross class relationship trope. He writes: Power exists as a relationship between and among different p eople or groups. This means that we cannot talk about one class of people alone, without looking at relationships between that class and others. Working class studies, then, necessarily involves the study of other classes, most importantly the capitalist c lass. But in working class studies, we look at all classes in society from the point of view of working people their lives, experiences, needs, and interests. (4) W orking class studies itself sees multiple class analysis as necessary, and writers are engag ing in such a class analysis through the cross class relationships they introduce in their work. 19 Thus, the assertion by Zweig reinforces the cross class relationship trope, as the African American and Caribbean writers in this project deliver portrayals o f other classes in their analyses of working classes. Despite the diverse historical experiences of African American and Caribbean people, there is some common ground among their literary and cultural history. The writers under study concentrate on severa l related themes to explore class inequalities and they provide similar commentary that underscores the urgency of addressing working class situations that are often
16 dismal. But why are they documenting and highlighting these conditions? What does having a particular class status mean for people? What do the authors suggest impedes upward class mobility? These literary artists are intervening in class discourse because they are aware that olitical, and psychological Still, class, particularly working class portrayals in African American and Caribbean literature is a significant yet under invest igated area of inquiry in contemporary literary studies. My project spans multiple literar y fields, but, specifically, advances scholarship and fills a gap in the fields of African American and Caribbean literary studies as well as working class literary s : African American and Caribbean Women's Fictions of History Black Subjects: Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery , directly engages with and contrib utes to a growing body of scholarship that analyzes these two groups of writers together. In fact, it converses with the work of these scholars because it, too, examines places of convergence among the two bodies of literature. Rody adds to the field with interpretations of historical moments dating back to New World slavery and their re imagination of history. 20 She focuses on mother figure their creative relationships to the past by means of the unconventional, feminist story of a history of slavery and its connection to the formation of black subjectivity. She identifies resistan domination is the prototype for a black resistant subjectivity, a founding model of African American and Afro izer argues that they
17 repre e institution of slavery. Although my study acknowledges the historical antecedents that laid the foundation for current conditions, it, in contrast, concentrates mainly on contemporary events or proceedings and examines how writers converse with them to highlight the situations and predicaments of African American and Caribbean working class populations. My project interrogates a different topic altogether class one in which neither of these scholars intensely focuses. Despite the tremendous advances these scholars have made, no one has taken up the project of provi ding a n ample examination of the cross class re lationships trope, and a lack of criticism, in general, that centers on working class subjects in contemporary African American T his dissertation project, like th ose of Rody and Keizer, illuminates connections between African American and Caribbean writers. 21 Among contemporary critical studies focusing solely on African American literary studies, many scholars have not written comprehensive explanations of class w ithin their texts either. For instance, class does not garner much attention in the broad work The Contemporary African American Novel (2004) by literary critic Bernard W. Bell . On the section of novels of passing, he notes briefly that some writers such as Nella Larsen and Jessie Fauset focused more on class than color (110), but he does not develop thi s line of inquiry. though I also assume that race, ethnicity, class, and gender are intimately linked, the theory, history, an Additionally, literary scholar Cheryl A. Wall provides an exemplary analysis of works by contemporary writers in Worrying the Line: Black Women Writers, Lineage, and Literary Tr adition (2005) . She uses a trope from the blues music tradition to examine the ways authors
18 create family genealogies extending back to slavery and fill in the gaps with information from non written sources like dream s, visions, and photographs. Wall exami nes some of the same authors under study in this project, including Toni Morris on and Gl oria Naylor, but race and gender tend to take preced ence over class in her analyses, which is characteristic of a number of contemporary scholars. 22 Moreover, the few sc holars who have addressed class usually do so only in minor ways or their central focus is not on working classes. 23 Contemporary Caribbean literary sch olars have also skirted class analyses. Few of them have attempted to explore questions related to the s izeable working classes in the region. Literary scholar George Lamming, in his well the peasant in many West Indian novels, but he does not dedicate much attention to detailed examinations of the peasant or working class in this essay. 24 characteristic and has been influential. 25 He describes the West Indian novel as that written by and about West Indians, and he anticipates a key working class studies debate which discusses wh ether or not middle class authors can write about working class subjects. 26 La mming observes that many West Indian novelists have a middle class education, and he esteems novelists such as l that has restored the West the contribution of the West Indian novel to English reading, specifying that the peasant themes are the tremendous contributi on. Unfortunately, the peasant themes are not named in his essay nor do they receive an elaborate discussion. Lamming presents the peasantry as outside of colonial ideology and indoctrination or, rather, the peasantry is presented as having a culture that is not shaped by colo nialism (and therefore disrespect for Caribbean culture and people). Yet, this perspective is unrealistic and l ooking to the working class or peasantry as an antidote or
19 escape from colonial ind octri nation or assimilation does not address the realities and power dynamics of the class hierarchy itself. Still, some Caribbean scholars are advocating for analyses of class. Margaret Bass looks at class and race simultaneously in four Caribbean novels and, in her analysis, she reveals how skin color plays a role in cl ass status in Caribbean nations . She also mentions women being abused despite their class and men being abusive despite their class. 27 In addition, Belinda Edmondson, in Caribbean Middlebrow , pr ovides fertile ground for the inve stigation of, specifically, middle class es within Caribbean societies. In fact, Edmondson 28 Without a doubt, the literary criticism being produced i n these fields is significant; n onetheless, recent scholarship on y excludes working class analyse s. Just a s much as African American and Caribbean scholarship has elided class portrayals in their analyses, scholars within the field of working class studies have not conducted studies on African American or Caribbean literature in substantial detail. Working cla ss literary studies is a part of the emerging field of working class studies. 29 Key scho lars of working class literary studies , such as Janet Zandy, Paul Lauter, and Michelle Tokarczyk, emphasize that working class is not just about white males. Zandy and T okarc zyk writing. Many texts ordinarily categorized as ethnic or African American can also be read as working class te xts. This is not a privileging of class over race or gender or sexual identities, but rather an insistence that any analysis of race, gender, sexuality, even disability, cannot be Hands 91). Ironically, however, portrayals o f working class
20 African American, Caribbean and other ethnic groups are seriously lacking in the field. Tokarczy k also admits that and ethnicity, difficulty recognizing that working class status crosses racial emphasis in original, Class 13), which results in continued thoughts of working classes being white males. She tries to combat this misconception by focusing on an Asian American writer, Maxine Hong Kingston, and a Mexican American write r, Sandra Cisneros, in her book Class Definitions . She also Some anthologies such as Nicholas Coles and Janet American Working Class Literature include excerpts from African American authors such as To ni Cade Bambara and Ann Petry. Zandy, in Calling Home , also includes short essa ys by Audre Lorde and Bambara. Still, within the emerging field of working class studies, critiques of African American and Car ibbean literature is largely absent. The field has yet to fully embrace the diversity of working classes. the difficult class relations within the U . S . and within the Caribbean since its renaissa nce began in the 1970s. 30 Their work reflects the reality of steep class divisions both within African American and Caribbean communities and the steady increase in unequal distribution of income and wealth since the 1970s. However, despite a wealth of scho larship on black women writers and a growing interest in class among literary scholars, there has been remarkably little work on the Filling this gap, this project investigates the cross cla ss relationship trope and its operation as a lens for examining class in general and how working class people, specifically, function within existing hierarchies in contemporary societies. The trope helps the authors theorize about working class subjectivi ty and it is a tool the authors use to interrogate several issues pertinent to working class culture. In any
21 case, this project brings visibility to the often invisible working class populations in America and Caribbean nations. The study acknowledges ther e has been a history of working class representations in novels and there continues to be currently but that their roles are understudied. The aim is not to say that working classes are the foundation of African American and Caribbean literatures, as some scholars posit. Rather, the study highlights ways in which these novels participate in various discourses, including feminist and working class literary traditions. 31 Historicizing Issues of Class Defining terms like class and working class has always bee n complex and debatable. One point of agreement among scholars is that these concepts do not fit into neat categories and they are sometimes controversial and contested. Indeed, such terms are difficult to define, as people are not fixed in classes. Furthe rmore, notions of class also vary within different nations and geographical regions. 32 Thus, a historical overview of the development of class in African American and Caribbea n thought is necessary. Michael Denning discusses the history of class formations in Culture in the Age of T hree Worlds of specific historical conjunctures requires not a static sense of the working class or the middle discussions of class were widespread in the preceding literary and cultural arts period of the Black Arts Movement that began in the 1960s, the decrease of class focused scholarship in the contemporary period is ironic. This dissertation, which examines literature fro m 1970 to the 2010 s , acknowledges the Black Arts Movement, especially its focus on working classes, for laying a foundation for my scholarship. The history of class, class stratification, and class formation among African Americans is a topic that severa Blueprint for African
22 examinations on the absence of class portrayals in contemporary African American literary criti working class cultural movement (152), for putting forth detailed analyses of working class aesthetic production. Mullen calls for more coherent analyses of working classes in Africa n American literary studies, arguing that a framework of race has displaced class. Beginning with the slave narrative tradition, critics, according to Mullen, most often see slavery as making race instead of class (148). 33 Between slavery and the Black Arts Movement is a large span of years and class formations among African Americans developed in significant ways over this expansive time period. Literary scholar Andrea N. Williams, in Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), focuse s on class distinctions in literature during the postbellum period. She examines how writers themselves and the characters they portrayed negotiated their class positions. Concerning African American women in particular, the club movement of the late nine teenth and early twentieth century was very aware of class differences. In Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894 1994 , Deborah Gray White discusses the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), one of the largest assemblies of bl ack its class overtones, is based on an ideology of racial uplift. In her book Ida B. Wells Barnett & American Reform 1880 1930 , Patricia Schecter defines racial u endorsed thrift, sobriety, Christian morality, education, service, and bourgeois family norms as a mostly middle class, believed white Americans would look upon African Americans in a more favorable manner if all African Americans imitated their standards. Angela Y. Davis critiques
23 this belief in Blues Legacies and Black Feminism is the premise that middle class women embody a standard their poorer sisters should be would continue, as is evident even today. 34 e Great Migration, a period that witnessed the formation of more black neighborhoods in northern cities and a burgeoning black middle class, according to sociologist Mary Pattillo McCoy in Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Cla ss ( 16 17 ). Years earlier, W.E.B. Du Bois had imagined African Americans, but by 1935, when he published Black Reconstruction in America, 1860 1880 , he began to express more socialist leanings and it would eventually become clear to him that he needed to revise his Talented Tenth concept. 35 Meanwhile, Richard Wright, one of the most recognized writers of protest fiction of the 1940s and 1950s, began to critique the race politics of the American Left after being part of the Communist Party during the 1930s Depression era. He no longer believed it offered what African American working classes needed. His novels, including Native Son , Black Boy , and Outsider , would eve ntually be republished during the time period of the Black Arts Movement because of their Black Nationalist stance. 36 Additional changes that caused further shifts among African Americans continued in the mid to late twentieth century. Pattillo McCoy expla ins that the economic growth during the post 7 ). Examining this reality, bell hooks, in Killing Rage: Ending Racism , notes that upward mobility was an aim of black leaders of the Civil Rights Movement , and she
24 (16 3). 37 The Black Power Movement that arose in part because of disappointment with the Civil Rights Movement presented a radical shift in American society. A number of scholars who examine the Black Arts Movement and the aesthetic production resulting from it reference the (1968), described the movement (29). In her discussion of these movements in Specta cular Blackness: The Cultural Politics of the Black Power Movement and the Search for a Black Aesthetic , Amy Ongiri culture, however, was very much in keeping with t African Americans who were severely disenfranchised and often chronically unemployed. 38 The critiques waged during this time period necessarily leads to a discussion of leftist traditions. Overlaps between leftist traditions and black cultural thought have a far reaching history. One of the major thinkers on issues of class associated with African Americans and Caribbean individuals is Cedric Robinson. His comprehensive Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition agement with leftist traditions. Besides explaining the work of Marx and Friedrich Engels and discussing the different forms of Marxism, he clarifies their influences on black intellectual traditions and movements. 39 h is considered the founding emphasis on the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Their work and the classes they outline within it
25 have continued to play crucial role s in both academic and non academic circles. 40 James Smethurst also traces connections between leftist traditions and the Black Arts and Black Power Movements in Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s . With Mullen, Smethurst edits Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism, and Twentieth Century Literature of the United States to further illuminate the intersections between leftist traditions colle Like One of the Family , as the first proletarian no vel by a black woman. 41 Also, Alan Wald , in his essay in the collection, discusses Marxist influences on Crisis of the Negro Intellectual . In ists through the Eyes of Harold 42). Esteeming alliances, the influential Walter Rodney, like so many others, discusses the hards hips, predicaments, and history of working classes and class in general throughout the Caribbean. In The Groundings with My Brothers , Rodney notes that the enterprise of slavery in the West Indies was based, first, on economics; however, race soon came to play a part in the system as well (25) . Rodney offers praise to African Americans who were committed to improving the conditions of black people, especially those affiliated with the Black Power Movement (20). Admiring the movement, Rodney outlined what Bl ack Power meant in the West Indies: 1) a break from imperialism, 2) power among the black masses, and 3) reconstructing
26 society in the image of blacks (28). 42 His points aligned with combatting the viciousness of colonialism. As a result of colonialism, th ere is not nearly as much scholarship on the history of class, class stratification, and class formations in the Caribbean as there is concerning African Americans. The long history of colonialism impeded the circumstances of the majority black populations in Caribbean nations, but the 1930s, consumed with labor revolts, was a significant period in Caribbean history that anticipated the independence of these nations. Leah Rosenberg, in Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature , discusses the up risings and their impact on Caribbean literature in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. She informs that, as a result of the Great Depression, a number of Caribbean people who went abroad to the U . S . and Latin America for employment purposes had to return hom e. While abroad, they were exposed to political information that would eventually facilitate their key roles in the labor revolts once they returned to their homelands. Caribbean literature, consequently, changed dramatically. Rosenberg reveals that previo literature across classes and races began to form. 43 bec ause it uncovers a century of Caribbean writing that has been long neglected in Caribbean literary studies, but it also highlights the working class themes of the literature and the elite and middle class backgrounds of its writers. In essence, the literar y history of Anglophone Caribbean nations is closely tied to issues of class in the societies, as the literature was designed to participate in their struggle for political, economic, and social freedom. 44 Scholars like Bass note that the black population r
27 material of literature is not surprising. Literary artists and critics like Kamau Brathwaite and George Lamming championed the idea that the 1960s were th e foundational years of Caribbean literature (erroneously) and exalted the peasant novel. 45 Working class characters, called by various names, including peasant and folk, have been common and popular features of Caribbean literature, and Lamming and Brathwa i te have discussed this primacy. Brathwaite has long praised the culture of Caribbean working classes. He was a co founder of the Caribbean Artist s Movement (1966 1972), and in History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbea n Poetry , language he identifies as the language of the slaves and servants (5). Gordon Rohlehr has critiqued Lamming and Brathwaite for loosely using the terms peasant and folk. 46 He also criti reflected against colonial values (385). He also ta (388). 47 Indeed, conceptualizing class is not a simple exercise; yet, some scholars continue to take on the challenge. In Downtown Ladies , anthropologist Gina Ulysse outlines four main classes in Jamaica: the lower class, middle class, upper class and elites. 48 f the population comprises
28 identifies four and five tier class stratification systems and outlines research on class that societies. Like many w orking class studies scholars, he notes that working classes actually are often unemployed. Additionally, Stuart Hall examines the intricacies of race, class and color in tructured in within these approaches emphasizes the important role of physical characteristics, includ ing skin color, in Caribbean class systems. Robinson, too, acknowledges issues of color and the interplay of various ethnicities, including Indian and Chinese, within Caribbean class formations. He discusses indentured and free labor in Trinidad and immigr ant influences on the wages of native laborers. Moreover, he of the Blacks, particularly the intelligentsia, sought to substitute education and literature as currency in the inter Trinidad, the renowned C. L. R. James who was a part of the black middle class would join ist that James would author The Black Jacobins 49 As with African Americans, concerns of class also drew some Caribbean individuals to leftist traditions. Overall, the history of class and class formations among African American and Caribbean people is extensive and elucidates the various ways class has been conceived.
29 Defining Class and Working Class This history of class among African American and Caribbean communities confirms the complexity in delineating class. The term class is commonly the first concept scholars broach in working class studies. 50 Zweig is a forerunner of working class studies, and his assessment of class structure in U . S . society is by far one of the most embraced in the field of working class studies. However, Zweig approaches the subject of class from a social science perspective; in fact, the mission statement for The Center for Study of Working Class Life in which he directs 51 Although scholars of working class literary studies may w ord their definitions and descriptions of key concepts in a slightly different manner than social scientists such as Zweig, they are in agreement with Zweig and are providing similar and complementary descriptions. 52 The variety of definitions and descripti ons of foundational into account multiple definitions of class (5). 53 s and the power relati Majority 15). 54 of people connected to one another, and made different from one anothe r, by the ways they Majority 11). The economic power people gain because of their occupation s usually translates to them also having political and cultural power in the larger society ( Majority 4). Zweig maintai ns that when studying class the focus should be on power rather than on income and lifestyles because class is about economics, although he admits ( Majority 11
30 model of class that links socioeconomic structures with power differences based on work and about sixty two percent of the population according to Z definition, the U . S . working class collectively has potential power to contest the authority of the capitalist class that makes up about two percent of the population. 55 Zweig is optimistic that concerted efforts among working classes can lead to soc ia l movements that will better their circumstances. Within working cla ss literary studies, Paul Lauter and Ann Fitzgerald offer a detailed explanation of class. In their anthology, they assert that class is an economic and social phenomenon and that class 4). 56 As a result, class is constantly in formation or being re examined, so discrepancies about the meaning of class and the difficulty in demarcating class cate gories should not be a surprise (9 scholars to identify class more easily in literary works. For instanc e, they clarify that class entails and how more easily locate a scene i n a novel where a character is examining his life experiences and they can compare the character and his experiences with another character. Conversely, trying to explain a scene solely in terms of power can be difficult, especially when even Zweig admits that Majority 12). Consequently, my dissertation project subscribes to a composite definition of class that highlights specific areas of comparisons among people. I define class as a dynamic set of relationshi ps between groups of people with similar economic, social and political status or with
31 similarities in the following areas: wealth, income, occupation, education, and lifestyle (behavior, values, and attitudes). 57 The aim of my definition is to clarify that class has influences beyond solely economics. Although I agree that class involves power, I stress, in my definition of class, the elements that can make people powerful (i.e. their economic, social and political status). 58 Having a more detailed definitio n of class facilitates analysis of the texts under exploration in this dissertation project. Furthermore, the writers in my project construct class in their novels as a descriptive and analytical category. They describe characters based on the features out lined in the latter part of my definition and they analyze the relationships between classes, which is the first part of my definition, with focus on capitalist or exploitative systems. Together, the scholarly consensus is that class shifts and is shaped b y specific historical phenomena, and it is necessary to analyze classes in relation to one another. Following explanations of the term class is the discussion on defining working class, which reveals a general consensus on who fits this classification. Ren ny Christopher, Carolyn Whitson, Zweig, Coles, Zandy and Lauter provide three overlapping definitions of working class es that adequately address the groups on which my project focuses. Christopher and Whitson possess a commonplace definition, noting member collar, wage earning sector of our society, where people tend not to have college educations or manual laborer is the visual evoked when imagining working classes. However, deindustrialization and the movement of workers from factory based jobs and other jobs with blue collared shirts to other low must be an addendum to this description that reveals working class people work jobs with a variety of colored collars. 59
32 Staying true to his belief about the magnitude of power (as I mentioned in the section on of people who, when they go to 4). Certainly, working classes do possess less power than other classes. Coles and Zandy that works, producing the goods and services that build i). It is a reality that some working class people sometimes do not have work. A final and one of the most comprehensive depictions of working classes comes from Lauter who, in his foundational essay, writes that members of working classes are: Those who sell their labor for wages; who create in that labor and have tak en from as surely as work on farms and those whose labor is extorted fro m them by slavery and peonage. (111 ) 60 Granted, this is a large segment of people that Lauter identifies, but this definition represents the diversity among working class people. Moreover, because the description is so meticulous, it sufficiently describes the working class characters portrayed in the texts I analyze, so the term working class does not take on an altogether separate meaning for African Americans and those in the Caribbean. What makes the working class members of these groups different is that they simultaneously experience multi ple jeopardies (race, class, gender , location, etc.) which can make their circumstances different from other working class members (or those who are not people of color) who do not have these experiences. Concisely, the definition of working class in my pr economic, social, and political matters.
33 Methodological and Theoretical Framework This study employs a multilayered conceptual framework for interpretation and explicat ion of contemporary African American and Caribbean literature. The historical frame and Theory is useful to my methodology for its articulation of three critical period s , or what 61 The second renaissance is the s tarting point for my approaches between the Civil Rights/pre inde pendence period and the Post Civil Rights/post literary output and the criticism on these writers. The second renaissance is also germane to this project because it coincides with the critical and theoretical shifts of African American literary studies during the 1970s expressed in a number of critical texts. 62 an important founda 63 In fact, concerning the year 1970, editors of write, seventy was a significant year for the emerging concepts of race/gender/class and Black Women Novelists and the Nationalist Aesthetic ment in literary history when novels and critical works by authors such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade
34 black American women novelists have become in creasingly visible in the academy, and have Also, Hena Maes Jelinek and BÃ©nÃ©dicte Ledent observe a similar progression among Caribbean women writers , nce of a new generation of novelists may be viewed as one of the main developments of Caribbean literature since the seventies, the long awaited recognition of writing by women was a n even more striking phenomenon (177). Furthermore, the 1990s began to re in publications and scholarship on black women emerged inside and outside of the academy in that decade. 64 This project studies the development of the cross class relationship trope since the renaiss since the beginning of this renaissance the cross class relationship has remained a significant trope in Af rican Am erican writing. Because of these key moments, this project centers on prose fiction publications the 2010 s . To examine the development of this trope since the renaissance of African American and Caribbe , I created spe cific criteria for the selection of my literary works. Each of the novels identified in this study has class tension or conflict as a substantial or dominant part of the plot with working class being one of the class levels explored via setting, scene desc riptions, characterization, and other literary elements. In essence, class tension is central to the novel. Also, a great deal of the fiction produced in this period is in the form of novels a change from the predominantly poetry and drama of the Black Art s Movement which is why novels are my primary focus. 65 Furthermore, this project directly participates in black feminist traditions of resistance: it focuses on African American and Caribbean women writers as a stance of resistance against the vilification and pathological claims that black women
35 have had to deal with for decades. Relentlessly, black women have been accused of being destroyers of black family structures, and they have been blamed for unjust situations that really are the result of racist, cl assist, and sexist structural systems worldwide. This project challenge s these myths that demonize and pathologize black working class women and provide a much more nuanced non pathologizing vision of black working class women. Like many literary projects produced in the last few years, this project employs a mixed use theoretical frame. I draw on a wide range of materials from different fields and disciplines, including history, anthropology, sociology, economics, working class studies, Marxism, postcolonialism, black and Caribbean feminism, and literary and cultural criticism. These approaches are used to substantiate the contention of this project which is that the literary artists use a cross class relationship trope to critiq ue class inequalities of their respective nations and class division within African American and Caribbean communities. Black feminist and Caribbean feminist approaches are essential to my study. Some of the key scholars that help define this area of my p roject are Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, Violet Black Feminist Thought is a foundational text for this dissertation. A number of books by hooks, especially Where We Stand , help clarify p oints in the project. hooks asserts that examinations of class are sorely missing in recent scholarship. 66 Black working class has been rendered mostly invisible within contemporary U.S. Black feminist Twentieth Barriteau declares that, in C which prevailing ideologies affect women's access to status, power and material resources is
3 6 67 Like Barriteau, Mohammed produces scholarship concerning issues of women and gender in Caribbean nation s. masculinities and femininities (8). Barriteau and Mohammed also acknowledge the influences and connections betwee n black and Caribbean feminist thought. Ascribing to feminist and working class studies discourses, I desire not to separate class from other significant elements such as race, gender, sexuality, and nationality but to highlight class and bring it to the f orefront of literary studies since it is so crucial but receives less attention than these other elements. Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality when analyzing racial discrimination and sexual discrimination concerning black women. 68 For Crens haw, an intersectional approach considers the multiple relations of oppression such as race, gender and class that black women encounter. She critiqued anti racist and feminist studies for not taking into account the intersectional oppressions of women of However, some scholars like Joanne Conaghan oppose intersectionality as an analytic. She unpick or unravel the many ways in which inequ ality is produced and sustained. If we are truly to get to grips with the problem of inequality we need to develop more effective analytical and usefulness of intersectionality; in this project, it assists me in my close reading of the literary works, helping me to identify various factors affecting the characters circumstances. 69 Traditional academic areas such as history, sociology, economics, and literary t heory and criticism are also pillars of this project. A number of works by scholars such as Andrea N. Williams and Rhonda Cobham Sander are vital to my project because of their specific attention
37 to issues of African American and Caribbean literary analysi s. Their work aids me in developing my close analysis of the literature and allows me to be in conversation with these scholars . Their work is dispersed throughout the dissertation. The work of Carl C. Campbell on the history of education in Caribbean assi sts me in my analysis on educational systems in my second chapter. Similarly, sociologist Mary McCoy explaining the context for my chapter on neighborhood class divisions. Economics studies, partic ularly by Erik Olin Wright, were helpful in my delineations of the cross class relationship trope, while anthropologist Leith Mullings, in On Our Own Terms , helped me understand the depictions of characters who are counter models, as opposed to positive mo dels. 70 In many ways, t he literary writers in this project are in dialogue with these social scientists and are examining many of the same phenomena as these social scientists . 71 Additional theoretical perspectives play significant roles in my dissertation project. I make use of Marxist theoretical perspectives, such as An organic intellectuals . 72 In his Prison Notebooks , Gramsci defines an organic intellectua l as someone who rises from within the people and helps by expressing the experiences or ideas of the people. They can make interventions and bring about cultural change. Arguably, some of the characters in the novels are organic intellectuals. Fanon, a pr eeminent scholar on neocolonialism, offers valuable insight through Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks . Many of his ideas still to scholarship on human rights and globalization. Anthropologist Faye Harrison and Alison Brysk both have a wealth of scholarship in these areas that allow me to expand my discussion of class to a global arena.
38 In addition to these areas, I draw on working cl ass literary traditions and working class studies. The novels in this study connect with working class literary traditions because their contents deal extensively with issues concerning working class people. Whether or not the authors consciously chose to write novels that fit within a working class literary tradition is not the point here. They are participating in the working class literary traditions expressed in books New Working Class Studies Transforming Ameri can Realism: Working Class Women Writers of the Twentieth Century, and Literature, Class, and Culture: An Anthology. Together, these various approaches facilitate my assessment of the literary works by African American and Caribbean women writers. A Literary Fieldwork Experience Although some of the authors whose novels are discussed in this project were born into working class families many years ago, the social milieu in which the authors currently reside would not clas sify as working class. Rather, the authors would most likely hold a middle class status today. In essence, the middle class authors in this project present working class portrayals in their literature, although they themselves are not working class. 73 This leads to the question: What are some of the subjects, topics, and themes that are present in the work of those who currently identify as working class or who h ave recently emerged from a working class background? In an attempt to answer this question, I authors who describe themselves as working class and who write novels, plays, short stories, or poetry. As an African American from a working class background, I was not familiar with working class culture in Caribbea n nations. So, to find Caribbean authors who identify as working class and t o gain a better perspective of Caribbean culture and class dynamics within a Caribbean setting, I spent a year living and researching in Kingston, Jamaica. Taking a cue from
39 the fi eld of anthropology, I wanted to immerse myself in the society to learn more about it. 74 While in residence, I was able to interview writers, participate in community based cultural events, and volunteer in downtown (working class) and uptown (middle class) communities. Together my experiences allowed me to better understand the connection between texts and the to my project by obtaining the perspectives of worki ng class residents and writers . A starting point for me in learning about working class writers was the Sistren Theatre Collective, a Jamaican working class organization of women that confronts class issues using literary avenues. Sistren began in 1977 wi th the goal of exposing and eradicating the harsh situations that working class women face, including domestic violence, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. After I visited the Sistren headquarters in Kingston, I was both disappointed and excited. Like ot hers, I discovered that the Sistren of today is not like the Sistren of old. 75 While I was there, I met one of the original members of the organization, and I was disappointed because she informed me that neither she nor anyone else she knew is currently wr iting. However, the organization had a government grant at the time that allowed Sistren to go into several working class communities and conduct workshops, assist school children, and put on street theatre performances. I was excited because I was able to volunteer with Sistren and visit working class communities like Drewsland, Waterhouse , and Tower Hill. Interacting with residents in these communities afforded me an invaluable experience. 76 In particular, I learned that some of the working class environme nts in Jamaica experience even greater hardships than many U . S . working class environments. This underscored the importance of researching region specific and nation specific scholarship on class conditions. In some cases, working class people in the U . S . have better standards of living than what is considered working class popu l ations in
40 Jamaica. With this foundational basis, I was able to do more in depth and nuanced readings of Dog heart c hanged considerably. haphazard experience trying to help a young boy, but that it was about exposing the serious hardships of life in working class areas in Jamaica. Furthermore, my vol unteering in uptown and downtown areas was an experience that illuminated the extremely close connections between class and education, as teachers explained the school system and testing practices in the region. They exp ressed the great stress involved in the process of simply achieving a decent education and how school ing issues are a source of concern for both children and their parents. Aside from Sistren, I engaged in many other literary and cultural arts events around Kingsto n that eventually led me t o writers from working class backgrounds . 77 By consistently networking, I not only expanded my knowledge of Jamaican culture but also connected with Keisha Brissette and Natalee Cole, two promi sing Jamaican writers reared in working class families . 78 I nterviews with them as well as some of the authors in this dissertation, includi ng Olive Senior and Diana McCaulay , further illuminated the literary works in my project and contribute d to my analysis. The interviews provided me a context for understanding the position of the writer. Furthermore, act play Language Barrier and nd Get Away illuminated my perspectives on writing by writers from immediate working class backgrounds. My examinations of writin g by those who currently identify as working class or who have recently emerged from a working class background was organized around the key characteristics of their work so as to illuminate possible differences between their work and the largely canonical novelists in this dissertation.
41 To entertain her audience, Brissette peppers her play with much humor while highlighting the central theme which the name of the play identifies language. 79 Throughout the play, she approaches language in a variety of ways, including the use of unfamiliar cultural terms, the misunderstanding of accents, and the misinterpretation of slang. Though language is a central theme, education is also a significant top ic in the play, as the language barriers are taking place at a school. Cleverly, Brissette interweaves a number of subjects into her play on language, allowing readers to perform layers of analysis. Similarly, the writing of Cole allows for fruitful analys is, as it cater s to young adult audiences and features references to contemporary pop culture, such as music by Rihanna , and social media sites . addresses the serious issue of grief and loss. 80 Using a circular narrative str ucture, the story opens with the main character crying and in an emotional state of shock. Readers do not become aware of what has caused her to be in such a state until the final pages unfold the tragic loss of In the details what I call a hip hop romance and again expresses a major theme dealing with relationships. The story chronicles the vacation of twenty three year old Shar Ann (Shar) and her fiancÃ© Richard a music produ cer trying to make it big in the hip hop industry. Aside from gender roles, Cole turns her attention to the inner workings of the hip hop music industry. 81 directly concentrate on issues of class, both of these budding authors make allusions to class concerns. Like rising Caribbean authors, upcoming African American writer Sharon Burney addresses a variety of themes in her work. While engaging with people in the cultural arts scene of the Gainesville, Florida are a, I met and interviewed Sharon Bu rney, a very talen ted African American poet who id entifies as working class.
42 provided me insight into writing by contemporary working class authors. In my inte rview with her, she explained that poetry allows her to explore civil rights issu e in a condensed form. H er writing is replete with historical and cultural references and enlightens readers about issues that are sometimes not covered in news media. Aside from offering on black women, relationships between black men and women, and U . S . history. 82 Slightly different from Brissette and Cole, Burney directly references class concerns in some of her At the start of this project, I wanted to know if class features in the work of writers who currently identify as wo rking class. To a large extent, class is not a primary feature to issues of class, but the writers revealed that was not their main focus. For the most part, however, there is a lack of direct concentration on class issues in the writing of those who currently identify as working class or who h ave recently emerged from a working class background . What probably accounts most for the difference is the ques tion of audience. The works I examined by these authors are unpublished and none of the three authors has a following like the more widely read canonical writers in this project . They also differ from the other writers in this project in that neither of th e three has completed novels. 83 They are thermore, there can be no comparisons of their use of a cross class relationship trope because they do not use it. Again, this absence may tie back to the issue of audience. Canonical writers tend to have middle class audiences and they are strategic in th eir use of the
43 trope; they are enlightening readers about the stark contrasts in issues of class and their readers may be able to better comprehend the issue of class more intimately because they can identify with the middle class figure. Despite the absen ce of the cross class relationship trope in their writing, Brissette, Cole and Burney are all making great contributions to the field of literary studies. Soon, all three will be recognized names. Novels and Politics: Work with an Agenda This section sets out to address the following question: How do I situate this dissertation Where We Stand: Class Matters (2000). In this non fiction text, hooks emphasizes the i mportance of people knowing where they stand on issues of class in contemporary societies. She reveals her motivation for writing the book is the impending threat of major class warfare, which is spurred on by the widening gap between the rich and poor. Al most every chapter provides information concerning her beliefs on how to alleviate the stark differences between classes. Instead of merely identifying that there are problems when it comes to class, she delivers directives for how to ameliorate or solve t individual responsibility but also a charge for nations to make domestic assessments (the U . S . is and Caribbean working class populations stand is a premise of my project. It is my contention that the authors under study in this project are demarcating where African American and Caribbean working class people stand in contemporary times in their respe ctive n ations. To be sure, African American and Caribbean women literary artists are using their creative genius to narrate, assess,
44 critique , and re envisio n this contemporary period in their fiction. Taking up the challenge of voicing class issues, my project speaks to filling the void by examining how literary artists confront issues of class. Ultimately, this project agrees with Zandy who states working class alysis and provides a space for reciprocal visibility across divisions of Hands 3). At the present juncture, a large number of scholars and creative writers are examining the status of African American and Cari bbean people who are in the midst of a pivotal global moment in history and who are now about fifty years removed from significant sociopolitical gains of civil rights and independence movements. 84 In essence, they are determining what progress has been mad e or if conditions are the same or worse. The post Civil Rights and post independence era is a crucial time period to explore working class conditions because legislation enacted in the preceding period produced reverberations in multiple arenas. 85 The time period identified as the U . S . Civil Rights era (marked from the end of World War II to the late 1960s) a nd the pre independence era in A nglophone Caribbean nations was a crucial time in U . S . and Caribbean history. In the U . S . , this period saw the passing of legislation, including the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that was aimed at opening access to previously disenfranchised communities or leveling the playing field for minority groups to be active citizens. In like manner, Caribbean nations began to achieve independence from British colonial powers during this time period with the earliest nations to become independent being Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in 1962. T hese newly independent nations aided by their nationalist movements formed governments to address the needs of the people. Many of the proponents of these movements believed class conditions would improve for some groups particularly those at the bottom of their societies
45 and bring various forms of liberation because these groups would have access to opportunities and resources that were previously inaccessible or difficult to access. The portrayals of working class conditions in African American and Caribb revelation to some but blatantly obvious to others, that there are still grave situations facing these groups. Moreover, closely associated with this time period arises advancements in transnational communications and exchanges on economic, social and political fronts. It is no secret that modern day globalization has changed and continues to change the relations between nations around the globe. Benefits to globalization include large scale technological developmen ts, increased trade and improved cultural information exchanges. Yet, the downfalls of globalization cannot be ignored. For instance, the double edged sword of outsourcing that allows nations in the Northern hemisphere cheaper production costs and supplies people in the Global South with employment also eliminates job opportunities for citizens of the nations in the Northern hemisphere and facilitates exploitative labor habits in the Global South. Robin D. G. Kelley ntinue d to transform black culture, bu t it has also dramatically changed the nature of work, employment opportunities, class structure, public space, the cultural marketplace, the criminal justice system, political strategies, even intellectual 9). The changing or reconstituting of class standards is the subject under exploration here. Many African American and Caribbean people are particularly affected by such changes because of their positionality as marginalized subjects. 86 Women in thes e populations tend to fare worse than their male counterparts and whites of both sexes. 87 Additionally, Caribbean nations, in the post independent period, are still suffering exploitation similar to colonialism but in a different form, what Fanon referred t o as neocolonialism. Currently, U . S .
46 and Caribbean politics are embittered because of fluctuating economies and the resulting reverberations. Within the U . S . , politicians constantly announce their goal is to improve the Exactly who is a part of the middle class? And if the middle class is suffering, what is happening to working classes? Apparently suc h descriptors hold some significance and are used to cate gorize people for a reason. The proliferation in publications by an d about black women in this contemporary period coincides with the emergence of working class studies centers within universities. Undeniably, this project emerges at a crucial time in wor ld history, as more people have entered working classes or have fallen into poverty in the past few decades. 88 Zandy concurs, asserting that disparities, of disappeared jobs and struggling cities and towns, of political and corporate Hands 3). Likewise, Zweig reveals there has been a steady increase in unequal distribution of income and wealth and decline in wages since the early 1970s and people must be proactive to combat the continued declines. 89 Within working class studies, three of the most popular objectives are: To show the agency/humanity (experiences, culture, lifestyles, and beliefs) of the people, to call for action, and to understand the (often oppressive) systems of a society. 90 Seemingly , working class studies scholars and African American and Caribbean literary artists manifest similar perspectives. Finally, a popular debate within working class literary studies is whether or not political or social activism should be an objective of the literature. The forerunners in the field assert that
47 for change in the conditions detailed in the literature (as, indeed, does much feminist literature a 91 In like manner, Janet Zandy is not bashful about the intent of her scholarship; she proclaims that her text is political ( Calling Home 8). To insert myself into this conversation, I ask: Can the vision articulated in the literature I explore inspire or provide directions to ameliorate working class hardships? I believe it can and, so, my project aims to advance the struggle for justice and shares a desire like many others to foreground the lived experiences of work ing class people, highlight the agency of these people, and redress class inequalities. This project focuses on the reality that many of those in working classes are facing extreme and increasingly unjust circumstances. Ultimately, class should be highligh ted becau se of the fluctuating economic, social, and political conditions that continue to affect experiences. Without a doubt, U . S . and Caribbean academics have become increasingly critical of the gap between classes, as an upsurge in schol arship on issues of class is apparent. Since 2000, The Working Class Majority (2000) and Hands: Physical Labor, Class, and Cultural Work New Working Class Studies American Working Class Literature Narrating Class in American Fiction (2008), William Julius More Th an Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (2009), Michelle Critical Approaches of American Working Class Literature No Country: Working Class Writing in the Age of Globalization (February 2014), Andrew Class and the Making of American Literature: Created Unequal (March 2014), and The Working Class Movement In America (April 2014). Coincidentally, a
48 project wedding working class studies and African Americ an and Caribbean literary studies is a timely enterprise. Very much so connected , these two fields are both thriving in the contemporary period. Chapter Summaries The following is the overarching question this project addresses: how does the field of liter ary studies, specifically African American and Caribbean literary studies, participate in contemporary discourse s on class relations? To answer this question, this dis sertation project analyzes seven novels and it consists of four body chapters that are ar ranged th ematically as well as an introductory chapter and a concluding chapter. The themes for each chapter arose from the literary works themselves and they each highlight an issue associated with class or inequality. In short, the chapters explore how c ontemporary African American and Caribbean women writers participate in current discourses on class through their use of the cross class relationship trope that generally pairs working and middle class characters. In Chapter 2 The Entanglements of Class and Education in Crick Crack, Monkey Dancing Lessons I examine connections between class and education. Hodge and Senior portray the difficult and precarious journey working classes in Caribbean societies undergo to achieve higher education and upward Dancing Lessons Crick Crack, Monkey , as it rewrites and continues via the life of Celia. Tee and Celia move from working class family units to middle class family units to attend school, and a cross class relationship trope is visible in the antagonistic relationships between the two family units in both works. Ultimate ly, I argue that Hodge and Senior use the trope to critique Caribbean family and educational institutions,
49 revealing that both can play a role in promoting class stratification and inequalities. Hodge and Senior portray how the education systems perpe tuate and reinforce a class hierarchy . In Chapter 3 the Intraracial Class Linden Hills Heaven ism among African Americans by examining the serves as a symbol or demarcation line representing class separation between the African American working and middle class neighborhoods featured in the narratives. In both works, the friendship between a working class character and a middle class character breaches the separation between the classes. Thus, Trice and Naylor employ a cross class relationship trope to pro vide commentary on the class dynamics between the residents of the neighborhoods. More specifically, the chapter argues that Naylor and Trice depict two African American neighborhoods separated by class differences in order to interrogate the sensitive top ic of intraracial class divisions and, ultimately, to advocate for cross class alliances that can strengthen the greater African American community. With a focus on one novel, Chapter 4 Class Dialogue in Di Dog Heart It focuses specifically on class prejudices between middle class (uptown) and working class (downtown) inhabitants or those who make up the so protagonis ts, Dexter and Sahara, form the main cross class relationship in the novel. When uptown Sahara volunteers herself to help the young boy Dexter, she also forms relationships with the rest of his family, including his mother Arleen. Unfortunately, their rela tionships are encumbered by stereotypes and preconceived notions. In the end, this chapter argues that the
50 cross Dog Heart exposes the stark contrasts between middle class and inner city people in contemporary Jamaica as well as prejudices and misunderstandings that impede effective cross class dialogue. Chapter 5 Tar Baby Tide Running , type of cross class relationship in popular culture which is a romance. Morrison and Kempadoo feature romances embattled by obvious class differences and that have unhappy endings. I argue that both authors use the cross class relationship trope to address the shared history and experiences of blacks throughout the African diaspora who often are a part of working classes. More specifically, Morrison and Kempadoo shed light on the working class conditions of the local Caribbean and African American populatio ns explored in their novels through the central cross class relationships. I further claim that although many critics note that the novels emphasize the slavery and/or colonial historical context of the U . S . and Caribbean, the novels also underscore the re siduals of those processes (contemporary imperialism) or neocolonial conditions. Through the cross class relationship trope, the authors unveil the continued exploitation of the Caribbean and (segments of) the U . S . black population beyond the enslaved past , revealing that even though legal slavery and colonialism are over, the livelihoods of black populations still reflect that history. Look into the Future dissertation to a close and emphasiz e the need fo r and importance of literary studies on class. Taken together, these chapters illuminate specific facets of class, especially working class, culture in African American and Caribbean communities and fill a gap in both contemporary literary studies and work ing class studies.
51 Notes 1 2 See Leah Rosenberg, Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature , 1. Also, s ee Nicholas Coles and American Working Class Literature: An Anthology for a chronology of working class literature in the U . S. 3 See Rosenberg, 2 5. 4 This project acknowledges class as both a descriptive and analytical category. Thus, it doe s differ from race and gender. Additionally, John Russo and Sherry L. Linkon, in New Working Class Studies , reveal that a nalysis of cultural representations, including literature, as sources for understanding working class experience, has become a dominant approach in studying working class culture ( 6). 5 Here, I want to discuss the connections between the cross class relationship trope and a foil, which is a character who contrasts with the main character in a literary work. Some of the characters forming the cross class relationship Crick Crack, Monkey . 6 Sociologist Erik Olin Wright conducted a study among capitalist countries aimed at examini ng the permeability of class boundaries, specifically the likelihood of friendships across class boundaries. Based on Marxist and Weberian theories about class, he applied three dimensions of class structure for his analysis: property, expertise, and autho rity. He found the least permeable class boundary is between the working class and the employer/capitalist class. The most permeable class boundary is between the worke r and the supervisor or working class and middle class. See Wright, Class Counts: Compar ative Studies in Class Analysis . The creat ive literary works also confirm the conclusions of his study. Additionally, c onnecting the working class characters with non working class characters shatters the invisibility society assigns to working class peopl e. Invisibility is a trope of African American literature and it is blatantly represented in literary works such as Invisible Man . 7 The body chapters of this dissertation focus on four themes, including education, neighborhood strife, qual ity of life /human rights, and romance. I elaborate on these themes in the chapter summaries section at the close of this introduction. 8 Many scholars examining working class portrayals in literature and/ or working class literature note that the work place over work and the control of wo some portray situations or issues like starvation, welfare line s, and job searching (74). 9 By community based relationships, I am referring to situations where the relationship results through interaction in Dog Heart best fit s t his description. Additionally. c ross class relationships can exist within families. Someone may experience upward Crick Crack, Monkey , the families are united by marriage. 10 s useful domination and subord ination structured through social institutions such as schools, businesses, hospitals, the work eologies in society that justifies the relations of domination and subordination (10). The individual dimension of oppression is also has a similar argument about domains
52 of power in her book Black Feminist Thought domain acts as a link between social institutions (structural domain), their organizational practices ( disciplinary domain), and the level of everyday social interaction See chapter 12 in Black Feminist Thought . Additionally, Collins articulates that c ontrolling or stereotypical images (such as the matriarch and welfare mother figures) are key in the symbolic dimension , as they make injusti ces seem natural and reinforce the ideologies of the dominant class, which, in turn, assist in maintaining the power of those already possessing authority ( Feminist Thought 69). 11 Reasons f or the inability to transcend working class status are primarily due to structural and social impediments as well as the accompanying ideologies that reinforce these impediments. 12 The cross class relationship trope is subversive. Michelle Tok arczyk writes that studying working class es may be viewed as an act of subversion because of the U . S . myth that it is a classless socie ty. See Tokarczyk, Critical Approaches of American Working Class Literature , 4. Moreover, people can develop a counter ideology once t hey become cognizant of dominant ideologies. I n Resistance Literature , Barbara Harlow reveals how some literature creates spaces where people can resist. However, not everyone who is able to resist perpetuating oppressive conditions in their lives desires upward class mobility. Some remain in working classes and have a productive life and help others to have a productive lif e. hooks asserts that people can be happy and enjoy their working class lives in Where We Stand . Lisa Orr makes a similar point in Tran sforming American Realism . Additionally, scholars like Alfred Lubrano , in Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams , investigate possibilities of cultural capital being present among working classes. See Lubrano, Limbo , 144. 13 In this dissertation, th American and Caribbean women. 14 See Kevin Meehan, People Get Ready: African American and Caribbean Cultural Exchange . 15 The Caribbean novels in this project present cross cl ass relationships that encompass community based, family, and romantic relationships; whereas, the African American novels mostly fall under the friendship category. Additionally, the cross class relationship in one of the African American novels ( Tar Baby ) is a romantic relationship. 16 Portrayals of c olorism or shadeism , prejudice or discrimination in which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably or receive benefit s because of their skin tone, are much more pronounced in the Caribbean novels. 17 Concerning black male youth culture, Caribbean writers in this project present a more dismal picture than African American writers, suggesting extreme hopelessness among these young men. All four Caribbean novels depict criminal activity among young black men. 18 Often scholars mark the 1990s as a pivotal decade in the genesis of the emerging academic field of working class studies, as this was the decade that saw a proliferation in publications and the establishment of centers and programs in universities dedicated to examining working class life. Working class studies is a multi and interdisciplinary field, encompassing disciplines such as literature, economics, labor studies, anthropology, and sociology. In 1995, Youngstown State University created the Center fo r Working Class Studies, which wa s the first center in a university created for the purpose of studying working class life. Since then, the field has been steadily growing and a number of colleges and universities have followed suit and created ce nters and programs dedicated to the exploration of wo rking class culture, including t he Center for the Study of Working Class Life at SUNY Stony Brook directed by Michael Zweig. Until the 1990s, working class studies was not common or traditional subject m atter for examination within universi ty settings in the U.S. If white working class portrayals are marginalized, African American working class portrayals certainly are, as African American literature only began to integrate into the American literary cano n on a wide scale after the late 1960s during the genesis of Black Studies programs. B oth Black Studies and working class studies have had to demand their way into being accepted into the a cademy/university settings. In the 1960s and 70s is when universiti es and colleges began teaching about African American history and litera ture. Moreover, s ome critics ar gue slave narratives wr itten in the nineteenth century are examples of working class literature, but they did not begin to infiltrate the canon until the push for African American literature in the 1970s.
53 19 Zweig believes that the capitalist class is waging class warfare and that segments among the working class and middle class can or should ally with one another to combat class politics that are not in t heir favor. See Zweig, Majority . In other words, he advocates cross class organizing between working class and middle class individuals as a means of combating capitalist exploitation. Ironically, however, the novels in this project display barriers that p revent working and middle classes from forming alliances. Still, analysis of the cross class trope can deliver insight on pitfalls and triumphs of cross class relations and ultimately help in cross class alliance efforts. Collins suggests cend the barriers created by our experiences with race, class and gender oppression in order to 20 Rody reveals one of her main reasons for studying these two bodies of literature to gether is because these writers . S . Civil Rights and Caribbean nationalist movements. See page 4 5. 21 Ikenna Dieke, in Allegory and Meaning , contributes to the growing scholarship by examining the use o f allegory in African American, Caribbean and African literature. Dieke, too, believes that the fiction itself theorizes about black subjectivity. 22 focused on class as one of the f actors creating the multiple subjectivities of African American women. S he does mention, however, that scholars, including Barbara Smith and Deborah McDowell, attempt to highlight differences of class, gender and sexuality among African Americans (11 12). Also, Wall, i n Song of Solomon , notes class bias in the fictive black community in the narrative and that Macon Dead is privileged. She then briefly discusses W.E.B. 23 Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings (1998) acknowledges an intersectional approach and it contains a chapter on black middle class narratives and a chapter on narratives of passing t hat reveals class motivations. Laurie Champion analyzes the stories The Richer, the Poo rer ( 1995) highlighting themes that are associated with class status and consciousness. An insightful point she rich in relationships) coping better or having the overall advantage in the end. 24 gainst their 25 Christian Campbell asserts that Caribbean scholars have romanticized the folk or working classes without clearly 26 Lamming agrees that, in the Caribbean, middle class authors can write working class literature. Scholars in the field of working class studies have long debated who is eligible to wri te working class literature. See Barbara Foley, Radical Representations and end note 73 of this introductory chapter to the dissertation. 27 Like Bass, Nandini Dhar notes skin color is connected to class association, with higher class people having lighter skin. Also, she notes that the body plays a role in class identification; specifically, the physical scars on the body Edwidge The F arming of Bones ) working class status with her p lace within the nation. 28 appro priation of working 4). 29 In general, working class literary studies focuses on literature identifi W orking class literature broadly refers to literature that focuses on the e xperiences of people within working class es . Most
54 definitions of working class literature are inclusive of a variety of writing and authors. For in stance, Nicholas Coles red a literature is solely liter ature written by members of working class es . However, narrow definitions limit the area of working class lit erature because such classifications do not account for other writers, such as those who moved out of the working class but who are still invested in the experiences of working class people. Writers reared in a working class background may still be closely associated with the working class via family, friends, and activist causes, even though they are now what A ( Limbo 2). Straddlers are people reared in the working class but who are now a part of a higher class such as the m iddle class. Additionally, Janet Zandy, a celebrated forerunner of working class literary studies, provides an explanation of working class literature that riter that Calling Home 9). Interestingly, class Calling Home 9). A better explanation of dispassionately is necessary before contesting working class people that is dispassionate offer s another perspective and can possibly expand or complicate the category of working class literature. S ee the Transforming American Realism for more on definitions of working class literature and Barbara Foley Radical Represent ations for definitions on proletarian literature. Barbara Foley also discusses more about middle class writers and working class writing in Radical Representations . Please note that this dissertation project does not classify the novels under consideration as working class literature per se, but it does assert that these novels participate in working class literary traditions which I explain in this introduction. Still, some people classify the writing of some of the authors in this proj ect, particularly Gl oria Naylor and Toni Morrison 30 I address the signi 31 These authors also depart from the approach of offering trite critiques on middle class aspirations of upward class mobility at the expense of values. There is a move away fro m calls for independence in the Caribbean context and from integration aspirations among African American writers, as these objectives have been attained at least on the surface level. 32 scriptions or hierarchy. 33 A number of scholars note the reality of class differences among African Americans during slavery, paying attention to mulattoes who were often house slaves. Elizabeth R. Cole and Safiya Omari discuss this aspect of slavery and n ote how slaves who had more privileges, such as these slaves, formed an upper class or black elite after emancipation (Cole & Omari 786 Black Marxism discusses the black elite and black petit bourgeoisie of the nine teenth century. 34 working class African Americans, to say the least. Michael Eric Dyson responds to Cosby with his book Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the B lack Middle Class Lost Its Mind?. 35 In Black Reconstruction that examined the period of Reconstruction in the US, Du Bois discussed the relationship W. E. B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk , discusses how Du Bois revised his ideas on the Talented Tenth in a 1948 address. See chapter thr ee of her book. Moreover, Du Bois at once vehemently opposed the Jamaican born leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Marcus Garvey. However, both Du Bois and Garvey were concerned about the conditions of black people worldwide and t heir positions at the bottom of societies; they just had different methods for how to ameliorate the conditions.
55 36 Cedric Robinson, on page 290 of Black Marxism the Communist Party of the US A in the early 1940s, and he wrote an essay called "I Tried to Be a Communist" underscored their social consciousness, which was traditionally encouraged by the black church and folklore. ains originated critici 37 Also, bell hooks notes [the Civil Rights Movement] were fundamentally 38 See pages 19 connec tion with the Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement. The group of people forming the lumpen proletariat often has experienced downward mobility. Sociologist Katherine S. Newman has a wealth of scholarship on the sociology of inequality, and she d iscusses downward mobility and stratification within working classes. Anthropologist Karen Brodkin also examines working classes. 39 See page 231 of Black Marxism for a brief discussion of the different forms of Marxism. On page 237, Robinson notes that Le Also, Manning Marable, in How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America , provides valuable insight about issues of class among African Americans. 40 Robinson exp lains the five classes that Marx and Engels outline: b ourgeoisie, petit bourgeoisie, proletariat lumpen proletariat, and the peasantry. See page 233 of Black Marxism . The outlined classes do not always smoothly or directly cross over to contemporary delineations; they shift over time. When speaking of working classes, many people may focus on the latter three classes. Smethurst, in Black Arts pea sant national Additionally, people also use terms such as working class, working poor, poor, and lower class Poverty Knowledge. 41 6) novel the first proletarian novel by a Like One of the Family is really the first, but this is not known because Childress is not written about. See page 202 of Left of the Color Line . Also, Mullen disc usses more about African American women and their engagement with issues of class in Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics, 1935 46 . See chapter six on Gwendolyn Brooks and poetry. 42 On pages 62 64, Rodney also outlines ways to res ist the captivity of governments, especially the Jamaican society since the majority of the nation is black (12). Additionally, Rodney provides his perspectives on situations facing black people worldwide in How Europe Underdeveloped Africa . 43 44 45 Scholars like Rosenberg have revealed that the history of Caribbean literature is extensive and begins well before Foundational Generation: From The Beacon to Savacou The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature edited by Michael A. Bucknor and Alison Donnell. 46 Rohlehr believed there was a difference between the rural and urban populations. He posited that there needs to be a theory
56 47 Campbell also notes that Lamming was different from Brathwaite; Brathwaite wanted to uphold/free the folk and Lamming saw the folk as a way to show Caribbean literature as authentic and separate fr om England (387). Also, he informs Braithwaite has the most writing on the folk, and Lamming (in The Pleasures of Exile ) articulates the folk 48 See Ulyss e for more on her delineations of classes in Jamaica. 49 The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature edited by Michael A. Bucknor and Alison D onnell. 50 Because of the difficulty in demarcating a definitive line between classes and because those who are a part of working class es and the poor both have a lack of power, a debate within working class studies is about whether the poor or poverty clas s should be studied as being a part of working class es . There are two major camps concerning the debate about whether the poor are a part of or sho uld be considered a part of working class es . On one hand, scholars like Zweig assert the poor should b e inclu ded because those in working class es fall in and out of poverty or that sometimes those in working class es are out of a job. Zweig describes the close connection of the two when he ke much Working Class Majority 78). Similarly, Coles and Zandy expr ess this same point that working class people are because of the insecurity of many of their jobs. On the other hand, scholars like Vivyan C. Adair, who spen t a great deal of her life in poverty, believe that people should consider the poor (the pov erty class) separately from working class es because not all of the circumstances are similar. Certainly, someone from a background of generational poverty faces dif ferent circumstances than someone who has a stable low paying job. However, to further stratify these groups of people is not helpful either. Furthermore, for a literary project analyzing the portrayals of people at the bottom of their society, a hard line between the two is not necessary. To clarify, this study does not essentialize working class communities or literatures deriving from the portrayals of these communities nor does it see them as monolithic. Much variety and diversity exists within working class groups and literatures and even more so when comparing different nations. Ultimately, both groups of people suffer under various forms of exploitation. 51 The mission statement page also notes that t The Center at Youngstown recently becam e defunct with the departure of its co directors, Sherry Linkon and John Russo. 52 Michelle Tokarczyk notes that she, along with many others within working class literary studies, agree with . S. See Tokarczyk, Clas s Definitions Also, American Working Class Literature: An Anthology. 53 Russo and Linkon also encourage continued debate about definitions of class, w class studies 54 In The Working Class Majority 55 See Zweig, The Working Class Majority , 3 and Chapter O ne. Also, in the introduction of With It?, ill be served in the class and the working class. 56 storical forces and expressed 57 To be specific about what I refer to as class in my project, I developed a definition that is in agreement with all the other definitions or explanations of class. Sociologi cal descriptions of class also inform my definition as the features I identify are some specific features sociologists identify in their class analyses. See Farley, John E., Sociology . Additionally, Max Weber is the classic social theorist who is credited
57 societies have three major dimensions of stratification: an economic dimension (wealth and income), a political ts usually do offer a definition of poverty based on income levels of their citizens. 58 Russo and Linkon note one position on defining class is to focus on factors such as education and lifestyle. See Russo and Linkon, New Working Class Studies , 11. 59 Coles and Zandy note that white collars in places like banks, offices, schools, and hospitals began outnumbering blue collars beginning in the 1950s. See Coles and Zandy, American Working Class Literature , 667. 60 reminiscent of and overlaps with one that Gordo n K. Lewis uses to describe working c lass es in some Caribbean nations. Lewis writes that working class es [ T ] he traditional sector, including small factory workers, dockworkers and seamen, domestic servants, shop clerks, construction workers, sm all artisans and craftsmen, public service, wage employees, plumbers, electricians, garage workers, as well as the self [ T ] he new post traditional sector, including factory and assembly pla nt workers, oil refinery skilled and semiskilled workers, tourist hotel staff, office workers, maintenance workers in the public agencies and corporations, workers in the service industries, bauxite workers, marine oil riggers, pulic school teachers, and t 61 See t in texts by and about black women, including Rody who also uses the term to describe the increase in African urn , pages 9 10. 62 See Mitchell, Angelyn, Within the Circle: A n Anthology of Afr ican American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present a nd Griffin, Farah J. , iticism, 122. 63 Studies is global, encompassing women of African descent throughout the world. See James, Stanlie , et al, Still Brave , xxvi xxvii footnote 14. Moreover, the years 1975 1985 marked the United Nations The Black Woman (19 70) was also published shortly bef ore the decade was declared. 64 A Companion to African American Literature , notes that in 1992 novel s by Morrison, Walker and McMillan appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. She mentions that literary critics have identified this 65 James Smethurst, in Black Arts, notes the dominance of poetry and drama publications during the Black Arts period. See page 5. 66 See page 8 of hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters . 67 However, Caribbean feminist and scholar Rawwida Baksh Soodeen in C aribbean Feminism asse rts 83). 68 into account the specific and particular concerns of Black women; their families occupy the bottom rung of the economic ladder, and it is only through placing them at the center of the analysis that their needs and the needs of their families will be dire 69 Because of its d ifficulty in application, Conag ssay
58 black women and within their literature. In the epilogue of Still Brave , Wall informs that though the term was coined in 1989, the idea theoretical methods of analysis, they developed theories of what we now call intersectionality that remain central to scholarship privilege an intersectional analytical approach. As Tokarczyk notes , intersectional analysis, borrowed from black feminist thought, is a common approach among working class literary Black Feminist Thought as her source. See Tokarczyk, Class Definitions , 14.This approach is not the only instance in which working class studies discourse intermingles with black literary discourse. Zandy refers to W.E.B. Du Bo writers who were born into the working class and aspire out of it through education or professional jobs, the connecting link back to a com munity is sometimes tangled or even lost. These writers come closer to a sense of what Calling Home class origins. It is easier to pass conce rning class, but not so much when it comes to gender or race for most people. Lastly, intersectionality is also associated with the cross class relationshi p trope in that an assessment of multiple intersections takes place when contrasting classes. 70 Leith Mullings discusses counter models. See Mullings, On Our Own Terms: Race, Class, and Gender in the Lives of African American Women, 94 101. Zandy discusses models. See Zandy, Calling Home , 6. 71 The literary writers are frequently in agreement with the historians and social scientists. Also, the literature in certain cases su ch as Hodge predates the social s cience while also bringing insights and social critiques to a different and larger audience. Moreover, literary artists creatively pe rform what scholars in fields of sociology, anthropology and economics research in their publications an analysis of the state of affair s in their nations. They participate in a larger public debate about class and thus are in dialogue with social scientists. 72 Also, I use tuses (ISAs) and interpellation and Pierre ns of cultural capital and habitus. In my second chapter, I focus on the educational and family allows for reproduction of the dominant practices from generation to generation. Bourdieu features in my chapter on Dog heart . 73 Rhonda Cobham Sander discusses mid dle class authors and how their experiences and use of folk culture is Rosenberg also notes the history of middle class authors writing about f olk culture in the Anglophone Caribbean. Additionally, Nicholas Coles and Janet Zandy explain that contemporary American working class writers tend to be college educated and from working class backgrounds. See American Working Class literature: An Antholo gy . 74 I spent my 2012 2013 fellowship year as a specially admitted research student in the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica. While in Jamaica, I was able to conduct somewhat of an ethnographic fiel dwork study. 75 faceted popular education programme that aims at analyzing the situation of women in Jamaica, increasing the awareness of gender issues, building regional networks, encouraging grassroots cultural expressions, and equipping other grassroots agencies to effectively campaign for social change of creative literary works and productions to emphasize the serious conditions of working class populations. Black feminist and theatre scholar Sharon L. Green explains that [ U ] nder the a rtistic leadership of [Honor] Ford Smith, the women of Sistren built a cultural organization that uses storytelling as a tool to educate and empower women by ndeed, the best known publication of Sistren is Lionheart Gal: Life Stories of Jamaican Women (1986) in which Ford Smith edited.
59 iences of a number of working class women in their own Jamaican language also referred to as patwah (patois) in the introduction to the book. For non native speakers, the words can be difficult to understand, but patient readers will soon understand the li fe situations being portrayed and become informed about the heartache and bravery of the women through topics such as self determination, oppressive power structures, and male female relations. Also, see Honor Ford Ring Ding in a Tight Corner: A Ca se Study of Funding and Organizational Democracy in Sistren 1977 1988 and S 76 While volunteering with Sistren, I was able to complete a variety of tasks such as assisting young adults from the communities with rehearsals for their street theatre performances. These young people had to apply to be community ambassadors under the hea dship of Sistren. This was all a part of the government grant that Sistren held at the time. Another part of the grant allocated funds for weekly workshops with parents after work hours. Sistren workers led conversations on various topics that were aimed a t helping them lead productive and successful lives. Also, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Sistren at a primary school in a working class area, Drewsland Primary. Aside from Sistren, I volunteered around town independently. I volunteered at schools in different areas, including the uptown schools of Campion College (high school) and Mona Preparatory School (primary school) as well as the downtown Dunoon Technical High School. 77 Some of the spaces and places that offered fruitful exchanges included t he monthly fellowships of the Poetry Society of Jamaica hosted at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, local theatre venues including the Pantry Playhouse, The Theatre Place, and Centre Stage Theatre, literary arts and music festivals like Kingston Pon Di River, and lecture series and book launches (by writers like Paulette A. Ramsay and Curdella Forbes) staged at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus . Ramsay, who teaches at UWI, launched her collection of poetry October After noon and Forbes, who currently teaches at Howard University (though formerly at UWI) launched her novel Ghosts . 78 Through Tanya Batson Savage, I met Keisha Brissette and Keisha introduced me to Natalee Cole. Tanya Batson Savage is a Jamaican publisher and published by her company, Blue Moon Publishing. Additionally, Tanya is a graduate of UWI and she briefly discussed the role of class in Jamaican theater in her 2010 Cultural Studies discussions of quality and content and these statements often tend to echo a discourse of class a nd power and who is given the power to represent whom. There is a distinct class consciousness about who gets to speak, how they speak 148. In additio n to writing, both Brissette and Cole have a variet y of passions. Brissette explained her background to me, revealing that most of her life at this point has been a working class experience. Since childhood, Brissette has enjoyed reading and, as a result, she developed a strong interest for anything in the literary arena. Alongside writing, Brissette considers herself a thespian. She worked on Amen Corner . Among the writing prizes she has won is the Merit Award from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) National Literary Competition in 2012 for her play Language Barrier . Similar to Brissette, Cole comes from a working class background and she is the oldest of five children . Best desc ribed as a triple threat, she has had a serious yearning for writing, singing, and acting since before she can remember. To date, she has starred in a number of locally produced and international plays, and, in 2008, she won Best Actress for her role in th e play Doubt , awarded by the Tallawah Caribbean Tertiary Theatre Arts Judging Committee. Personally, I had the Glass Slippaz , a comedic Jamaican ry where she played the wicked step sister Prunella. Despite performances that sometimes run for weeks at a time, she has not allowed her writing to be pushed to the side, as she has penned several short stories and poems. Still, neither she nor Brissette has had the opportunity to have her work published by a well known commercial press. Brissette and Cole are actively networking and entering various circles that will bring exposure to their talents. Furthermore, despite having lived most of their lives as working class, both recognize educated and high school teachers. 79 The play is set in Jamaica and it is about a school teacher, Mr. Jarrett, who desires an administrati ve position at his school, specifically the Dean of Discipline (DOD) position. Because he is not qualified for the position, he sabotages
60 the foreign English man who obtains the position . All of the characters are black Jamaicans except the newly hired Dea n of Discipline who is from England. Also, the play references corporal punishment and parenting. For more on parenting styles and class, s ee Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods , 228 232 and Cheryl Bluestone and Catherine S. Tamis Le Monda, Correlates of Par enting Styles in Predominantly Working and Middle Class African American Mothers . For particular emphasis on Jamaica, see Janet Brown and Sharon Johnson , Partic 80 Cole expla after the death of her close friend. A theme of relationships both romantic and friendships takes center stage in the story. 81 The story emphasizes traditional gender roles and juxtaposes them with the world of hip hop, which some people may find ironic given the gross amount of misogyny and the lack of chivalry promoted among some hip hop music artists. See Tricia Rose, Black Noi se: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America as well as The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters. Also, see Riche Richardson, Black Masculinity and the U.S. South: From Uncle Tom to Gangsta (Athens: Univ ersity of Georgia Press, 2007). 82 Burney is a community activist reared primarily in the Washington, D.C. area and now living in Gainesville, Florida. She asserts that her upbringing in metropolitan areas influenced her considerably, allowing her to become conscious of injustices in society at a young age. Now a part of the cultural arts scene in the local Gainesville community, Burney shared some of her poetry. An interesting fact about her is that although she always loved to read while growing up, she ne ver thought poetry would be the genre for which she would develop a strong liking. and loaded phrase used to describe black women. From popular Diary of a Mad Black Woman to sociological studies on black families, this phrase or a derivative of it appears as a reference to the behaviors and personalities of black women. Burney critiques this stereotypical view of black w omen by chronicling biased representations in news media as well as the racism and hardships that many black women face. A strong antidote, according to Burney, is cultivating healthy self esteem and a positive self image. Even when there is a rupture in t he relationship between black men and women, the speaker proclaims the strength of the black woman who is able to keep her home afloat all by herself. The single mother who is able to multitask is highly praised. The poem also expresses amazement at the re ality that some of the very things for which black women are ridiculed are the very things that other people imitate, including physical attributes like full lips. Burney, in the end, is not bashful about underscoring the vulnerability and humanity of blac increases her desire to inform and empower. Burney reveals in the interview that the people to whom she is referring in the poem are people of color, not just black people. Aiding in her assessment, too, ar e references to various warming, and the disastrous Hurricane Katrina traumatic stress 83 Brissette is in the process o f revising a novel that she plans to have published in the very near future. 84 Furthermore, changes during the past few decades are causin g various academic fields and cultural artists to critique more closely the distribution of material wealth. Deindustrialization and globalization have made the stark contrasts among different classes increasingly visible. Literary artists have inserted th emselves in these debates through their literature, and this project aims to assess their perspectives. The literary works under review call for a reassessment of hierarchies and conditions. The novelists converse with the changes through their description s of working classes, which are usually the most adversely affected. By exposing the contradictions of dominant in the ideologies opens t 85 I am mindful of the difficulties of periodization. Scholars identify the U . S . Civil Rights era to be from the mid 1950s (with the Brown V. Board of Education Supreme Court Case marking a beginning) to the late 1960s (wi th the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 marking an ending). See Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom , 523 561. The year 1962 is when A nglophone Caribbean nations began to receive independence (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago).
61 86 Various forms of margina lization and oppression exist concerning African Americans and people of Caribbean descent. For instance, African Americans are marginalized in U . S . society, and Caribbean nations are marginalized in the world (as part of the global South). 87 See Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought The Feminization of Ghetto Poverty . 88 Even before the 2009 recession, there have been other (smaller) recessions such as in the 1990s. Economies around the world have yet to recover from this most rec ent recession that is sometimes referred to as the Great Recession of 2009, however. Since the mid Sociology , there has been an increase in poverty in the U . S . due to various factors including: 1) unemployment (baby boomers created a larger labor force than there were jobs); 2) low wages (after deindustrialization, many service/administrative jobs with low wages were created ); and 3) government policies that cut back on antipoverty pr ograms (especially in the 1980s with 89 See Zweig, The Working Class Majority , 64 69. 90 For more discussion on the agency and dignity of working class people, see Zandy, Liberating Memory , 1; Zweig, Working Class Majority, 62; and Robin D. G. Kelley, Race Rebels. 91 Christopher and Whitson contend viewing working class literature , as resistance literature , can help people to ). Also, they note literature is a representation of working class culture. Within t he novels in this dissertation, working class characters address key i ssues concerning their status. The characters are members of en in her article. Also, Ann du ocentricity: Discourse and Dat C
62 CHAPTER 2 CRICK CRACK, MONKEY DANCING LESSONS The potential of Caribbean literature for positively affecti ng the development of the Caribbean is an untapped resource. Caribbean fiction can help to strengthen our self image, our resistance to foreign domination, our sense of the oneness of the Caribbean and our willingness to put our energies into the buildin g of the Caribbean nation . -Merle Hodge Challenges of the Stru I personally see writing stories as not so much an exercise in imagination as a re imagining of realities that have existed in the past, that exist in the present and will exist -Olive Senior embedded within the name of the central site or domain of educational systems t he classroom. The classroom is the face of educational systems; it is the contact location between t he school officials who administer school curricula and the students for whom the curricula is geared. Furthermore, what students learn and e xperience in a classroom affect the m far beyond that setting. S th ey are exposed in a classroom. Indeed, t he classroom is not a neutral space , and the information taught is not value free. Scholars, includ ing Carl C. Campbell, M. Kazim Bacchus, and Errol Miller, chronicle the development and influence of educational system s in the Caribbean region and reveal that s ocial change was never an initial goal. In Endless Education , Campbell assert s that the origin spread Christianity, literacy , and as always in education 9). C aribbean soci al scientists and his torians also persuasively argue that educational systems reinforce the c lass hierarchy within Caribbean societi es in that, historically, usually the most privileged , can access higher educat ion and reap the benefits. For working classes, a ccessing education has been a
63 challenge thr oughout history al t hough education has long be en a method t o achieve upward class mobility (Campbell 99). Crick Crack, Monkey Dancing Lessons (2011) evince se veral similarities that connect these two novels together and they both engage in discussions of class and education . T ogether, t he novels represent the trajectory of education and class from j ust after independence until contemporary times and seem to hold the same concerns abou t the excl usionary nature of education . The similarities are most visible via t wo central characters, Cynthia (better known as Tee) characters share so many similaritie ultimately becomes a , as it rewrites or ia the life of Celia in a neo colonialist Caribbean setting. Two of the most significant areas of commonality between i ly class backgrounds and journey to obtain an education. In both narratives, education for the chil d (Tee and Celia) is the glue binding the working and middle class family units presented in the novels . 1 The relationship between the family units creates w hat is best described as a cross class relationship. In Crick Crack, Monkey, the cross class relationship occurs maternal middle class aunt Beatrice. In Dancing Lessons , the main cross cl ass relati onship examined in this chapter is between Celi , and Celi unofficial adoptive parents (the Frasers), a middle class American missionary couple. 2 In both novels, the relationship between the working class and middle class family u nits appears to be antagonistic.
64 Featuring working class protagonists and asserting the subjectivity of members of ass literary traditions and demonstrate a acquisition in Caribbean societies. Both novels not only respond to the periods in which they are published but also reveal strikingly similar situations, despite Jamaica and Trinidad having diffe rent national, cultural, and educational histories. Hodge and Senior tackle the entanglement of education with upward class mobility by sketching characters who experience schooling in s novel sha re overt experiences in their chi ldhood and adolescent years; their journeys parallel one another, in general. Both novels illustrate child shif ting, as r eaders see Tee and Celia beginning in one class b ackground and shifting to a higher class b ackground primarily for the pursuit of education. 3 The narrator in Crick Crack, Monkey from childhood to adulthood through the flashbacks of Mrs. Samphire and the conversations between Mrs. Samphire up version of Tee who benefits from a quality educa tion that is inaccessible to most of her childhood peers . Furthermore, t his chapter argues that Hodge and Senior use a cross class relationship tro pe to expose connect ions between class and education; ity, the authors por tray situations to illustrate and elaborate on historical findings that reveal insight about the precarious journey working classes in Caribbean societies often undergo to achieve higher education . 4 Crick Crack, Monkey and Dancing Lessons are extensions o f a Caribbean literary
65 number of authors, including George Lamming, Earl Lovelace, Austin Clark, Jamaica Kincaid, Dionne Brand, V.S. Naipaul, Michelle Cliff, an d Erna Brodber include an educational thematic characters in the works tend to view formal education as the esteemed route to upward class mobility. Often , these their access to education, with those in working classes having the most arduous journey to obtain education. An analysis of novels demonstrates how these two authors participate in this tradition; it also underscores the educational systems of Caribbean s ocieties as well as Not much criticism exists on Dancing Lessons because of its fairly recent publication, and Joy Mahabir points out in analyses of Crick Crack, Monkey , which is one of the earl iest postcolonial bildungsroman (coming of age novel) penned by an Anglophone Caribbean woma n writer, that not much of the scholarship focuses on th e larger social system in Trinidadian society. This chapter builds on Mahabir work in that education must be understood in a larger framework that is inevitably socio economic ra ther than 4). critics or ould it be that both family units possess strengths and weaknesses, and both f amily units, whether consciously in the case of Beatrice and unconsciously in the case of Tantie, behave in ways that reinforce the social system of their society? Could it be that Mrs. Samphire and the Frasers also reinforce the social system of their soc iety? Caribbean literary scholar Rhonda Cobham Sander anticipates my supposition that both
66 case, concerning the unjust educational systems. In her analysis of three Caribbean wo novels, she writes, clear that the women themselves have participated in reproducing the system, and that the power they now possess to challenge the system ha 306). Cobham Sander admits that people can be complicit in reproducing an unjust system, but they can use their complicity (the knowledge gained) to change the system. In other words, the power they have comes from them, at first, being complicit. Yet, they can then use t hat power for good and challenge the system. They no longer have to continue participating in the same way in a system designed to reproduce their oppression once they obtain power; they can use the po wer to change the system since t hey will Sander 305). The reality that working classes sometimes participate in their own subjugation is an area that must be investigated if positive change is to occur. Many working class literary scholars such as Renny Christopher and Carolyn Whitson call for literature that will lead readers to revolutionary class consciousness, and a candid assessment of the behaviors of working classes themselves is necessary to achieve such an aim. 5 Thus, this chapter evaluates the choices and the consequences of the choices made by the various characters in the novels as well as the decisions of the authors to fashion these characters in this way. After all, the ultimate obje ctive in working class analyses is to expose frailties and exploitative workings within stratification system s in order to make conditions more just and, in turn, improve the standards of living. In essence, Hodge and Senior participate in traditions of re sistance by exposing the various forms of complicity that hinder progress among the characters. 6 Louis Althusser theoretical concepts of interpellation and ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) provide a useful framework for explaining the behaviors of the working and middle class
67 He supports the premise that educational systems work to reproduce material realities of domination in societies. S traightforwardly , he ou tlines his perspective on the role of educational systems in the contemporary period: It [the school] takes children from every class at infant school age, and then for Family State Apparatus and the Educational State Apparatus, it drums into them, the ruling ideology (French, arithmetic, natural history, the sciences, literature) or simply the ruling ideology in its pure state (ethics, civic instruction, philosophy). (154) In this quote, Althusser puts forth his position that the educational and family ISAs [which he t class, an ideology that maintains the skewed order of society so as to keep those ruling in power. Additionally, i passively, unconsciously drawn into dominant social assum continues to reproduce itself because people receive the cultural assumptions put forth by ISAs or the institutions in the society that operate by the ideology of the ruling or capitalist class. 7 Although Althusser was refe rring to a specific society , not a Caribbean one, his work is still applicable in thi s instance . illustrate the argument that educational systems aim to maintain the status quo and demonstrate y is present in Trinidad and Jamaica . Tee, Tantie and Aunt Beatrice in A nalysis of Crick Crack, Monkey reveals that the novel does not simply show the oppression of colonial education and how it reinforces the color class hierarch y in Trinidad during pre independence. 8 Rather the narrative reveals that the oppressed working classes as well as the imitative middle classes are complicit in the reproduction of the gross economic and social inequalities because these classes are invest ed in the traditional means of education and
68 respectability as a means to up ward mobility. A nalysis of the narrative reveals both family units hav e been interpellated by British colonial ideology. Hodge portrays this process in the novel by magnifying the apparent weaknesses of both family units. Both aunts see elite education with the class, racial, and colonial elitism it entails as unquestionably desirable. The dominant ideology claims that the closer people are to imitating a European lifestyle and part aking of European cultural accoutrements, the better they are. The process in which both family units esteem education as a means of possessing, in a sense , European culture, and thereby negating their own Afri can Caribbean cultural identity is self destru ctive. They internalize cultural Though both family units have a base knowledge of class systems, they clearly lack an understanding of detailed workings of the colon ial class system. Hodge thus critiques both models of womanhood presented to her female protagonist the working class model and the middle class model. Th e reality th at critics vacillate regarding their views on which environment is most suitable for Tee suggests that both family units are behaving in ways that appear counterproductive to their own well being. Ena V. Thomas is among the most straightforward indece 9 On the other hand, some critics praise the familial environment that Tantie offers bec ause Tee seems happier with Tantie in the beginning of the novel. For instance, Marjorie Thorpe feels as inflamed about th as a mother and a wife, Aunt Beatrice is a 10 Yet , both the working class and middle class family units portrayed in Crick
69 Crack, Monkey , just like the family units portrayed in Dancing Lessons , are complicit in reproducing relations of dom ination in their Caribbean society. Crick Crack, Monkey in two aunts who act as her guardians Thus, the novel begins with Tee living in a working class neighborhood with her paternal aunt, R osa (better known as Tantie), a darker skinned Afro Caribbean who curses gratuitously and drinks alcohol heavily. Although she is unmarried, she has quite an active sexual life, which contrasts with the colonial politics of respectability. After Tee wins a scholarship to attend the class neighborhood with her maternal aunt, Beatrice, a lighter skinned Afro Caribbean who models herself on English respectability (which brings together ideas about white superiority, sexual chastity, and education). Though both aunts subscribe to class hierarchies that increase their antagonism for At this juncture in the narrative, Tee and readers become aware of stark contrasts in the two lifestyles, as Hodge juxtapose s the two characters. Tee becomes increasingly alienated home home so that she ultimately can be at home in t for Tee to live with him abroad; and is unhappy. The ending is ambiguous as readers do not know what will happen to Tee after she relocates. Instead of focusing on potential horrors that may await her in Europe, I envision
70 someone who goes abroad and returns to her home country to play an active and positive role. educational experiences. From its opening, the novel facilit ates a discussion about working classes in Trinidadian society since r eaders first . Gordon K. Lewis designates the Caribbean working class as those in the traditional sector occupations such as domestic servants, doc kworkers, cons the self employed of the small traditional sector occupations such as tourist hotel staff, maintenance workers , and assembly plant workers (92). Although it is not clear exactly what occupation Tantie holds, the descriptions of her character connote working class status. 11 In contrast, Aunt Beatrice conforms to a delineation of the middle class , and it is no surprise that she stresses education al class relationship utlining middle class es mobility was to become part of the middl e strata of professionals (doctors, lawyers), civil ( Women, Labour 92). Thus, Beatrice measures up to social historical studies of Trinidad. Also, light skin color is characteristic of Trinidadian middle class es during this period skinned because her father, Norman, is darker than Beatrice. After Jessica complains that the people at school only choose the fair
71 the harder you have to try, I am tired of was associated with lighter skin color and upward social mobility ; therefore, it was not uncommon for a darker person to marry a lighter person in hopes of lightening the progeny ( Women and F amily 19 ). 12 to marry upwards, often to women higher on the colour [ sic 12). Ultimately, Aunt Beatrice imitates the model of a good woman based on the u pper class European woman who i s a ho usewife with servants . 13 As the novel illustrates, details the process it takes to enroll Tee in school and demonstrates the struggles working class community experiences to get c hildren in formal schools. The portrayals of the that a well ro unded or good education is a class privilege. Tantie knows that if she wants Tee to it has more resources t han those in her neighborhood. Hodge portrays t he ine quities in the educational system of the fictive Trinidadian society a s being merely a part of a larger system of exploitation . Tantie a and interaction with the schools are areas in the novel that illuminate the contention t hat the working class , , is complicit in the reproduction of the very system it despises. The first school scene in the narrative illustrates Tantie literally racing against other guardians to the go vernment school friends. Yet, because they all so earnestly want their individual children to claim a spot in the
72 school, they act as if they do not know each other and enter in to a fierce competition against one schoolyard, and soon we were but the hairsbreadth of civilization away from pushing each other over and running over the fal (24). After they receive the news that both the Big school and the Roman Catholic (RC) school are filled to capacity, they resume ace slackened, the women relaxed into cronies again, thrown back in a heap together, their rivalry education. Instead of uniting to brainstorm on how to best ge t all the children schooling, they community. Yet, where is this displayed ? During this tough time of trying to secure education for their children, they turn against each other. Within a working class context, community is esteemed and significant because it is needed to combat the ruling body, but the people have to be activel y engaging a counter ideology. At the end of this scene, t hey chat briefly as reunited while Tantie goes no further than blaming the government for not building more schools a nd takes Tee to the anned together to solve the dilemma positive difference in their circumstances. Scholars generally note the oppressive nature of the schools, as they inculcate British superiority among other beliefs and behaviors that encourage rejection of Caribbean culture. Aside from the imperialist curriculum the schools teach, the teachers are a busive verbally and
73 physic school , Sir is excessively abusi ve so that he hides his whip when the scho ol director Mr. Thomas appears. Tantie also despised having to take Tee to the school run by the Hinds family because she does not approv e of what they will expose to Tee. She describes langue horse face maco with nothing to do but mind peopl Tantie even warns Tee not to allow the school to put trash in of the school (and later, Beatrice) , Tantie does not provide Tee with clear instruction on what Tee should follow. One day w hen Tee inquires about the conversation of Mrs. Hinds that she overhears , Tantie is furious and threatens to sp it on them while Mike y dissuades her , reminding her that they will put Tee out. Tantie eventually calms down and continues sending Tee to the school. chool. Shortly after Tee arrives at school, the students a re let out for recess without doing hardly any class work. Tee is confused, knowing that she is supposed to be learning to read and write, and than o upward mobility for these working class students. In fact, the experiences at such a school trains ss hierarchy. At no point do readers witness a community gathering to discuss pressing issues, such as a school system that does not meet their needs. When readers see Tantie interacting in a community setting, she is usually engaging in some type of ente rtainment. She has parties at her home where she and attendees drink alcohol in excess. The narrator reveals that on Friday nights
74 most part, Tantie and her neighbor s do not resist the subordination that the ruling class imposes would revise that statement and replace it with saying those spaces are potential intellectual sp aces. Mahabir also proffers the argument that Tantie is an organic intellectual, a term Gramsci uses to describe leaders who emerge from within their class to help them achieve victory over injustices. I think such a claim is presumptuous, as not much proo f exists to support it. Tantie may have the potential to be an organic intellectual, but she doe s not manifest consistent be haviors that prove that point. Later w hen Tantie wants Toddan in her custody, she fin d s a way to retri eve them from Beatrice. Beatrice has used police force to but Tantie takes action and creates a plan to win cust ody back. She writes that the children Beatrice and the court taking the kids. She exhi bits that she can be proactive, and her actions show that she has knowledge of the operation of systems in her society. S he is aware that , despite not k nowing officials as she claims of Beatrice, she can still make a difference. Perhaps Hodge is suggesting that Tantie needs to bring that mentality in approaching other areas in her community. Just as she triumphed in this situation, perhaps she too can tri umph in others. facilities and a lack of school facilities has consequences. The students do not ever get access to better r esources, and t he same conditions continue to exist from generation to generation. s invested in the school in her community and ensures her children take advantage of the privilege of attending the prestigious s ince primary school. T hough the daughters have this
75 privilege, they do not all take advantage of it. The lighter daughter seems not to be performing to her abilities, as she is always towards the bottom of the class with her grades. As Caribbean anthropologist Gina A. Ulysse as serts, lighter skin color is a form of capital (19). Beatrice, and it er daughter, are aware that lighter hue can afford benefits, so she does not have to work as hard as others, including her darker sister. Never do readers see the c hild encouraged to perform better. Beatrice is more focu sed on the child being popular, but perhaps quality schooling. In contrast, but she experiences verbal abuse the fact that T ee did not grow up in that school as most of the ot her middle class students . Beatrice has to be aware of the possibility Tee is not being treate d well since her own daughter complains about mistreatment for her slightly darker skin tone. Still, Beatrice pressures Tee to conform and try to imitate other mi ddle class children. She offers no effective comfort or consolation. being invested in imitatin g European cultural habits, Beatrice and many in her community ignore their mute concerning his wife and daughters. The daughters are disrespectful to their parents and others. Frankly, Beatrice appears more aware of the differences between cl asses and that her class status is below the ruling class; consequently, she tries to make alliances with people who a regular basis , so Beatrice is aimin g to increase what Bourdieu calls cultural capital (as well as her economic capital). Still, Beatrice seems not to no tice that her family is un happy despite
76 having material possessions. Her priorities, which are based on dominant ideology, are problematic because her desires are in opposition to building a healthy family unit. Still, Beatrice is m ore focused on looking the part and entertaining guests at her home with tea parties. She seems not to recognize that she can never be European despite constantly praising the white ancestress in her family. She aims for something she cannot attai n. T he design of the system is to deceive people into believing they can have what the ruling class has. Beatrice never entertains a cross class alliance with Tantie; inste ad, she continues to incite the cross class antagonism between them. arrative Just as Hodge published Crick Crack, Monkey independen ce a n effervescent but precarious time for the nation, Senior published her first novel Dancing Lessons in 2011 during a significantly volatile time for Jamaica who finds itself embattled by global economic problems and serious inequities in education. Unlike narrative that has a setting in pre wide time frame mostly in the 2000s but extending back about forty years. Though both Hodge and Senior feature a theme of education, they approach it and infuse it with in their narratives in s on the multiple relationships of Mrs. Samphire . Senior also portrays both formal and informal modes of educa tion in her narrative, as Mrs. Samphire acquires informal education from her mother in law, Ma D, while her oldest daughter Celia acquires formal education through boarding schools and American universities. Furthermore, the child whose world is limited by her family life and formal e social
77 other hand, the prota , is a woman in her sixties who has formed and continues to form opinions about her Jamaic an society beyond simply family and schooling. She is able to formulate a mature perspective on the operations of governmental s novels exhibit intertextuality, specifica lly concerning education. Similar to the educational and family units in Crick Crack, Monkey , Mrs. Samphire and the Frasers in Dancing Lessons participate in the reproduction of a system that perpetuates social and economic inequalities. Mrs. Samphire does not hide her involvement in this venture, as she outright states it. The Frasers involvement in supporting an educational system that perpetuates the class hierarchy should not be a surprise, as their occupation as missionaries should pique ry to the long history of missionary involvement in Caribbean educational systems. 14 Though the Frasers are minor characters in the novel, they play a symbolic role in the narrative. Their actions reveal they are involved in somewhat of a U . S . imperialist p roject in that they establish cultural institutions or apparatuses (i.e. churches, schools, and a radio show) that promote or impose a foreign way of life, notably a U . S . Christian ideology. Still, Senior engages politics of resistance through the characte r Celia who is reared by the Frasers. Senior portrays her in a positive light, and the story of Celia evokes a powerful message. She becomes a model for many in her nation. After her school experiences, s he returns to Jamaica and , th r ough her career, inter venes in the media. 15 S he uses the ISAs of education and media to infiltrate her society. Celia gives them a positive image of themselves to view. Her talk show is called Quest, an appropriate name for a character who has been on an unexpected jour ney since the age of five.
78 complicit with a system that is no t designed for her and uses the power gained to effect change , as Cobham Sander explains in analysi s of another novel . Dancing Lessons chronicles the life of Mrs. Samphire, a middle aged woman temporarily living in the urban area Ellesmere Lodge retirement home that caters to upper class retirees because a hurricane makes her rural area house inhabitab le. Her daughter Celia arranges for her to stay there while the house undergoes repairs. Much of the novel focuses on Mrs. S past and relationships with her family, including her aunt and grandmother who reared her, her ex husband, and her childre n, Celia, Junior, Shirley, and Lise. Celia , a bright student as a young girl, catches the attention of her teacher and the white Am erican missionary couple who operate a bible study program that Celia attends one summer. The couple asks permission of the S amphires for Celia to come visit their home; over time, she begins living with them. The lifestyle the couple lives contrasts with that of the Samphire family, similar to Tantie and Aunt 16 As a result, Celia, like Tee, struggles with conflicting thoughts and feelings. The novel also captures the tense and unnerving interactions between Mrs. Samphire who is uneducated and has lived in a working class environment , and the educated upper (midd le) class residents in the retirement home. The narrative reveals that Mrs. Samphire has experienced a troubled life, from her unaffectionate upbringing and shame of being an illegitimate child to her distressing and, at times, heart breaking relationships with her children. Before returning to her restored house, Mrs. Samphire and the other retirement home residents eventually form a congenial community after recognizing that their days are literally numbered. The narrative closes with Mrs. Samphire and he r now adult children attempting to mend their strained and fragile relationships with each other.
79 Dancing Lessons , descriptions of Mrs. Samphire best fit within a working class model, though readers become aware that the background in which she was reared was not working class. , who raised her, was a respected f amily in the community who lived on a hill in the bigges t house in the community. Later, Mrs. Samphire runs a way and marries Mr. Samphire whos e family also was prominent in the community. Mr. Samphire was given four acres of family land whe n they married. However, when he mov ed in with one of his female lover s, he eventuall y stopped s household so that her circumstances changed and she began to identify herself differently. Evidence of Mrs. Samphire self descriptions. She describes herself using phrases that conno te working class status. For instance, she muses 5). She continue s , first fifteen years, the life I threw over. And how I resented and disdained that other. The one I fell into, poverty and humiliation, my books, my reading, the only bulwark against the 17 considered myself a cut above the women in our neck of the woods. Never mind our poverty, they all knew where I w as coming from. Or so I thought This line invokes t he subtle intraracial class antagonism present in the novel . awareness of her downward shift m ade her hostile towards the Frasers. Although her relationship with them was not like that between Tantie and Aunt Beatrice, s ungracious to those people, the first time I met them, an ungraciousness that continued over the years, because I could never reverse the way I felt they perceived me, our status unequal at that
80 In contrast to Mrs. Samphire stands Ted and Phil Fraser , the American missionary couple, who best fit descriptions of an upper middle class o r upper class family. 18 The couple lives in the hills of Kingston, Jamaica. The hills in Kingston, including Jacks Hill and Beverly Hills, have communities of people who are among the most privileged in Jamaican society including international music artists and former government officials. Some hill communities are more e xpensive than others, and Mrs. Samphire suggest s they probably live in one of the top or finest hill communities. She sees their home one day some years prior when she planned to reclaim custody of Celia. As she rides in the taxi up so intimid ated by the two stor y wrought iron gates that she did not even knock before she returned to the taxi and left. Besides their large house, the Frasers also eventu ally establish multiple large churches, schools, and a hospital. Dancing Lessons only the edu cation of Tee is visible, Dancing Lessons is replete with references to multiple in a scene arrival at the Ellesmere Lodge retirement home . When the director seats Mrs. Samphire at a table for breakfast, the first question she is asked by her fellow women ask her that before they ask anything else rev eals how high of a priority education is in their eyes; they privilege education and equate it with a particular class status. In a sense they are
81 asking her how did she get to the retirement home or what educational route led her to partake in such a privilege. From the class indicato rs that Mrs. Samphire describes, she looked like she was from a working class backgr ound; hence, they wondered how she arrived at the same place they live. This shows their complicity or interpellation in that they believe only certain people can or should be at the top. The residents of this retirement home represent middle and upper classes. In And, of course, the ladies at the table are upper class and would look down at her, th e way she looks, the way she carries herself initially, describes the course of the narrative that the residents do not all have the same cl ass standing. Also, t he fact t hat Mrs. Samphire does not understand their question confirms that she has not lived a life like they have. In fact, they do not believe she ever attended school. Through the course of th e novel, readers learn that Mrs. Samphire has had mostly an informal education spearheaded by her m other in law. As a child, Mrs. Samphire also read a lot and enjoyed writing. Senior intentionally aims to show diff erent type s of education. In an interview about the novel, Senior read. One of the things I wanted was to dem does not fully recognize the value of he r strong informal education until the end of the novel. Dancing Lessons education as Crick Crack, Monkey does for Tee. Out of all the school experiences mentioned in the narrative, those of Celia and collusion with dominant ideology or her consent in reproducing relations of domination . Celia first attends school in Mrs. Samphire ild, as
82 she catches the attention of the missionary couple and her teacher who takes her to the summer program that the couple runs. The adult Celia inquires how she came to live with the Frasers, and Mrs. Samphire reflects back and notes that it was g radu al, but school was certainly a factor. The text reads: I truly wanted my childre n to have the best, and as I saw it, only education w ould give it to them since I expensive boarding school, Mrs. Samphire saw Celia less over the years . Like Tantie, she let the child go confirming that education is a class privilege. experiences reveal that they were not always pleasant. Readers obtain most of the inform adult and tells her mother about her experience. She de scribes the boarding school the Frasers sys that my adopted parents were white and considered rich counted for something with the when she first began at the boarding school, the school segregated the non white students, but things changed after Independence and the segregat ion ended by the time she graduated. She also from their little o challe nge the system to the detriment and emotional scarring of their children. Here, the
83 Meanwhile, Celi a laments the pain and frustration she experienced w ith the Frasers. She asks Mrs. Samphire if she knew Expressing th e discomfort she often felt, Celia explains that she tried to be perfect. Just li k e Tee, Celia sometimes struggled in her interactions with the couple who she describes as when she went away to attend college in the U . S. Now that the Frasers are deceased, Celia guesses that sh e would disagree with them regarding numerous things if they were around, just as she now does with the religious right. Still, she expresses great pain about circumstances from her younger life. In a tearful name I answered to at school, my first name [June]. So I became Celia then, my middle name, a name scrutinized and, in a way, amended. Like Tee, the young Celia experienced anguish around her r precarious journey to upward mobility. While discussing education as a route to upward mobility, Senior comments about informs that education route out of poverty for dark skinne d people who have had fewer options in this society than the light skinned. But people perceive different paths color is seen as one important path which is is ProudFlesh 65). Like Hodge, Senior reference s colorism and color coding systems or advantages associate d with having a lighter skin ton e in Caribbean societies. Yet, skin color is only one intersecti on that can affect people.
84 that of Celia. Junior attends the same school his father and uncles attended. That Junior also attends the school shows a generational pattern of those with privileges going to better schools. Mrs. Samphire makes no apology for her privileging and esteeming the schools outside of her community that provide formal educat ion. After Mr. Samphire left , she said she swallowed her pride and as ked him to continue also indifferent to the fact that the other children in the community are not able to atte nd better educational ). Later , experience did not go the way she had envisioned. Though he performed well at school and never placed less than third in his class, Junior began to change around the third or fourth form (grade) . She normally nagged him about not being first in his class, but she soon found many other things to complain about, as the principal began sending her letters. She could not understand who could be leading him astray since all of his friends from the school came from h omes for which she approved. Junior moved with his father after he was eventually expelled from school. isbehave, were quite , who were a ll females. Se experience as a model one that went wrong. The youngest daughter , Lise , does not have th e best school situation and does not pass the necessary exams at the end of her schooling. The middle daughter , Shirley , supposedly went away to New York to attend a university, but Mrs. Samphire later finds out that she wa s not in school, but moved for a young man and illegal drugs. Unlike
85 the other two daughters, Celia benefits fr om her schooling experience; the fact that it was at an expensive boarding school paid for by the Frasers is also a significant factor. Perhaps if she had stayed with Ms. Samphire, her story would have been different. The text reveals that Celia was At the end of B Avey in her novel Praisesong for the Widow , but this chapter proposes that Tee will be like Celia . Avey is the African American protagonist in Marsh s novel who moves from a working class background to an upper middle class one and sheds all connection with her black culture in the process. 19 She exp eriences a reawakening in her sixtie s and decides to reconnect with her heritage and pass on traditions s he was taught as a young possible to envision a more hopeful future for Tee. can go back, as Avey did, to find our true true name and after t his journey, thus armed, do what we feel has to be done to make our world a better place submit s th at th e Tee in us does not have to wait until she is in her senior years and has spent a lifetime rejecting and being ashamed of her culture ; instead, the Tee in us can choose , like Celia, to participate now in building and strengthening nations. C e lia gained power by first being complicit with the system. She uses the to ols and accesses resources gathered from abroad to her ad vantage and helps not only her biological family but also her national family. Celia is now a well known sociologist and TV host in Jamaica. She influences what people see in the media as a television host. The media ISA influences how people see themselve s, their nations , and their surroundings; Celia directly impacts these portrayals. She, in a sense, participates in the rebuilding of her nation. Celia is able to mature, become a very productive member of her society , and enjoy a healthy
86 relationship with her husband and two children. Perhaps this , too, can be the path of character Tee. Challenging the System: Resistance and Alternate Paths Brodber, a Jamaican academic, ac tivist, and writer, explains in her scholarship that literature can provide a Crick Crack, Monkey and Dancing Lessons , as it is my contention that the writing of both Hodge and Senior manifests such a twinning. In discussing her creative writing, Brodber is not bashful in l with which the blacks and particularly those of the diaspora will forge a closer unity and, thus fused, be able to face the rest of the world ). In other words, she believes fiction writers, as knowledge producers, can p articipate in the project of improving unjust conditions in their societies and t heir works can enlighten readers about co nditions and , in turn, evoke responses from readers. Like Brodber, both Hodge and Senior have produced non fiction works that reveal t heir fiction intentionally engages critical concerns of Caribbean people. In her non fiction work, Hodge 202 ) ; a s any other to 2 , Working Miracles , delineates issues facing Caribbean women, including their socialization and as a re imagining of realities that have existed in the past, that exist in the present and will exist into the
87 42 words reveal that their fiction serves more than a futile purpose; it serves t he purpose of suggesting or evoking new ways in which to view and impact reality or rather a clear intent to influence it. 20 In Challenges of the Stru ggle for Sovereignty, most noted non fiction of the creative word to change the world is not to In reality, literature was a part of the European colonial regime to oppress Caribbean people, as it encour aged them to reject their own world that seemed to never measure up to the one portrayed in the European stories. She encourages, as the opening quote of the chapter states, the use of literature in the contemporary struggle for liberation and cultural sov Caribbean literature for positively affecting the development of the Caribbean is an untapped resource. Caribbean fiction can help to strengthen our self image, our resistance to foreign domination, our sense of the oneness of t he Caribbean and our willingness to put our energies into the building of the Caribb explores Crick Crack, Monkey and Dancing Lessons , it is, perhaps, more apparent now that Hodge and Senior intend to highlight alternate s paces, paths, and methods for challenging and resisting unjust (educational) systems. Most critics have not analyzed these narratives as resources or tools that can motivate or encourage action. Mahabir makes this case in her analysis of Crick Crack, Monke y , stating that critics remain silent fiction. Mahabir reads the novel for its potential to impact the operation of educational systems: ual work and intellectual spaces, Hodge brings us Though not in complete agreement with all the supposition s Mahabir puts forth, this chapter
88 builds on her scholarsh ip and seeks out what Hodge and Senior would call the potential extended (or social) function of the novels. Furthermore, both Hodge and Senior go beyond merely describing the hardships of working classes to using their writing as a political act, expressing what feminist scholar Barbara Omola (292). The authors engage in a politics of resistance by not only candidly exposing the complicities and contra dictions of working and middle classes but also designing characte rs who act subversively or suggest alternate route s to combat inequalities. The authors suggest a need for social and political responsibility as well as personal responsibility to combat the gross inequalities in social institutions. The novels also disav ow the primacy or influences of foreign cultural and educational systems within Caribbean societies. Hodge and Senior suggest that, as a result of cultural imperialism, Caribbean educational systems continue a neocolonialist regime and disenfranchisement o f working classes who are the ones with the least access to higher education. Though both novels submit education facilitates a neither education nor class mobility is easi ly accessible. T hese writers probe the failure of Caribbean nations to realize full citizenship or adequate opportunities for all from independence to current times. novel, one character in the narrative who does not receive much son . ousehold also opens contemporary period. While the novel focuses on Tee, it also dep story which introduces two important issues: 1) a black male working class bildungsroman and 2) that two systems of socio economic upward mobility are at play in Trinidad when the novel is
89 set. The British respectability/educatio n model that Tee follows is one means of ascending in society and the U.S. model based on labor, material wealth , and consumption that Mikey represents is another. This option is access ible only to men: working for the U.S. military and migrating to the U. S. , which does not require assimilation of Englishness or respectability. 21 Mikey is quite industrious despite there being no desire for or mention of his educational pursuits. He makes Tee and Toddan a scooter, a box cart, and kites. He is not yet twenty o ne but often takes responsibility for the other two children when Tantie is not around. Despite his association with the young men at the bridge who seem not to have life goal s, Mikey is not a lost of the novel . Tan eginning, she to help e forty nine chirren no yu prefer siddong on yu arse wid them long 22 Still, young women like Tee have particular expectations regarding propriet y that the young men do not possess earlier p erception incorrect when, after he finds a job on the local military base, Mikey works so hard that his boss recommends him for a promotion to the United States. 23 Despite its many complications, this becomes an alternate aven ue to a better quality of life. Perhaps, Mikey can be like Celia and use the situation to his advantage. 24 Moreover, Hodge claim s that Caribbean people do not value their own contributions ( 203). In the novel, Tantie , who does not recognize the ability she ha s to make . However, Mahabir interrogates the absence of state he fetes, the Carnival,
90 (108). Tantie and her community can use these spaces to critique their society and brainstorm ways to receive better treatment, especially if the are already using these spaces in that manner, but the narrative does not wholly support that clai m. Neither do es some scholarship, as tellectual given that she appears to have no plan to lead her community, she can potentially become one. If transformed, these spaces can help the community to critically assess their situations and act to counter dominant ideology. In imparting messages aspects of the society which they might want to think about ProudFlesh 68) or that can help readers to articulate alternate paths, Senior goes beyond just a critique of education. In Dancing Lessons , S enior directly engages in c ritique of corrupt government systems that spur injustices in societies. She is aware o f economic and political corruption in Jamaican society, particularly concerning drug trading. As a result, s he fictively portrays the sophistication of the government i n facilitating illicit trade s . Anthrop o logist the illegal trade kept the economy from completely also dispel s stereotypes about wo rking class people , especially the stereotype that those in the drug trade are all wor king class people trying to circumvent the system by illegal methods. The elite Pinto was the one who influenced Junior and got him involved in the drug trade . L ewis
91 trade, both buying and selling. All in all, this is a counter world of men who, being black and poor, are effectively barred from participating in the bo (96). It is not the working classes who a re all by themselves destroying the society , which is something for which they are often blamed. By having members of the elite with the best educational opportunities be part of the government scheme, Senior subversively critiques the assumption that education staves off illegal and corrupt behaviors. In Pinto, she exposes the contribution of various classes to the state of the society. Furthermore, the inclusion of cross clas s alliances in Dancing Lessons is instructive. Class Matters , stresses the importance of cross class alliances in helping in the fight against injustices. Perhaps one of the relationships she and the other residents forge. In the narrative, one of the most significant cross class allian ces is between Mrs. Samphire and the other residents. She suggests they make a garden ; eventually , the other residents come together and contribute in some way. They a re prod uctive when they co me together and build a beautiful garden . 25 At firs t, it seems that the garden building i s going to b e a part of the continuing class divide because the residents of the home g et into a competition about who has the best gardener. They distinguish between the physical act of gardening and actually having a gardener. However, th e environment in the retirem ent home changes for the better. As the residents become better acquainted, they recognize that not all of them have money. They begin to help each other, recognizing that they are all fragile in some way, instead of continuing to form separate hostile cli ques. Also, Mrs. Samphire initiates the project, which obliterates stereotypes about the incapability of lower classes. Senior also entertains the rural/urban antagonism. In an interview on the novel, Senior
92 not just about clas s but of the rural /urban environment because Mrs. and ProudFlesh 67). In the end, some of the younger characters (Ashley, Kyi sha , a home in the rural area, instead of shunning it a s unprogressive and backwards. Mrs. Samphire, too, evolves over the course of the narrativ e, and she acknowledges important step s she must take after an uncomfortabl e conversation with Celia. First and foremost, she begins to recognize her role in events that occurred throughout her life. Through a candid process of introspection, she recognizes that she must take personal responsibility concerning some mat ters instea d of blaming others if she expects positive change to occur. Besides this revelation, she assesses her strengths and weaknesses by cataloguing them in a journal so that she can take note of her self impro vement. She th en uses this information to find ways to help others, so implicit in her a ctions is a community component or a privileging of community. During her tenure in the Ellesmere Lodge, she notices the unfairness in the reality that she was prot ected in that elite environment while most others in the community outside of the retirement home were suffering hardships ( 236 37 ). In response , she plans to use her resources to help make po sitive changes in her community; she envisions , in a sense, becoming an organic intellectual. P reviously, she intentionally separated herself from her neighbors, e (304) them which perpetuates intra racial class antagonism. Now, she aims to build cross class alliances. C onclusion Challenges of the Stru In Crick Crack, Monkey and Dancing Lessons , Hodge and Senior use a cross class relationship tro pe to expose a
93 continu ing relationship between class and education . Through the trope, they c ritique family units as well as the inst itutions of education. Al though both novels suggest education facilitates a , they emphasize that neither education nor class mobility is easily accessible. The lives of Tee and Celia evince many similarities, so many that it is plausible to imagine that the young Tee will become the adult Celia . In the end, Hodge and Senior engag e in a politics of resistance by not only candidly exposing the complicities and contradictions of working and middle classes but also by suggesting alternate routes and designing characters who act subversively to combat inequalities. Note s 1 From the descriptions of Mrs. Samphire throughout the novel, she best fits with what t his project calls working class. Also, I assert that Mrs. Samphire begins in a rural middle class milieu living with her paternal grandmother r 36. Mrs. Samphire even says that a helper of hers (Millie) is now Senior sees a difference those in rural environments like Mrs. Samphire. In my ProudFlesh interview with Senior, she states the following: lass, to me, is an urban phenomenon. She comes from a rural I wanted was to demonstrate how s Mrs. Samphire gives of herself, I (slightly) disagree. Either way, however, Celia still experiences a shift in class because 2 Again, this chapter identifies Mrs. Samphire as working clas s and the missionary couple, Ted and Phil Fraser, as (upper) middle class. Also, there are multiple cross class relationships in Dancing Lessons . 3 See Re ddock, Women and Family , 17 28 for a discussion on kinship networks where child shifting (children liv ing with relatives other than their parents for various reasons) is practiced. 4 This chapter focuses primarily on the working class spaces in the novels. 5 Also, Merle P ] necessarily see individual injustices dissertation. 6 In black feminist scholarship and fiction, there are traditions of resistance. The Anancy figure represents a type of The Wretched o f the Earth , Frantz Fanon discusses lite ratures of resistance or what he calls combat literature and revolutionary literature. See page 159.
94 7 Furthermore, the behavior of the family units in both novels most signifies what is called false consciousness. In explaining the term false consciousnes that are often so counterproductive that they hinder their own progress. 8 Mahabir presents, by far, one of the most comprehensive critiques she tends to sanctioned apparatuses (108), but Mahabir fails to acknowledge that these informal spaces, too, are very much influenced by what Althusser er on Hodge for more on this topic. 9 10 Joy Mahabir also expresses that Beatrice merely imitates bourgeois European middle cla ss habits while Tan tie is an organic intellectual who is serving her community. 11 Still, some may describe Tantie as living in poverty. The phenomenon often called feminization of poverty in which females represent the majority of the poor across the world is discernible in Crick Crack, Monkey and characteristics of the Caribbean working class is the fact that quite simply many of them do not work. Chronic mass unempl are single parents. Tantie is a single parent of three children even though the children are not her biological children. 12 On the other hand, Mohamm ed links the middle class light skinned woman with the mulatto of slavery (27). 13 Women , Labour & Politics , 197, 202, 238, and 253 . Also, s ee Reddock, Women and Famil y , 23. 14 Banana Bottom. 15 A gre at deal of the media in Jamaica is heavily influenced by foreign nations. In particular, many of the televisions channels are from other nations, including the United States. 16 class relationship, Dancing Lessons encompasses multiple cross class relationships including those between Mrs. Samphire and the white American miss ionary couple, Mrs. Samphire and the residents at the retirement home, and Mrs. Samphire and her daughter Celia (once she becomes an adult). 17 Please be reminded that many working class studies scholars argue that the poor are a part of working classes. Se e the introduction of this dissertation. Also, s he describes the boys in her community as poor and after her daughter Shirley dies , recognize [her] lowly 18 The novel reveals that the Frasers began with a modest church building but acquired more money from their religious followers and eventually built large churches, schools and a hospital. It is fair to say that their class stat us changed. Still, because the Frasers were white Americans, they would probably be considered upper class. 19 Praisesong for the Widow , including vestiges of African culture. See Robin Brooks, Praisesong for the Widow Journal of Africana Religions. 20 It appears that Brodber, Hodge and Senior suggest that insight from fiction, including Crick Crack, Monkey and Dancing Lessons , can contribute to the discussion on how to improve the educational systems so that
95 disenfranchised working classes can have equal access to the resources of schools. Grun g/Grounded Poetics s marginalized by 21 t has been pretty much part of Caribbean culture, for generations, that a family member m igrates to the US, or Canada, or England, t o work and thereby support the rest of his/her family sending money, c . Many families depend on these remittances and packages for survival, n ag.) in an electronic mail exchange with the author of this dissertation. 22 their circumstances, just gathering is not enough. The novel does not provide evidence that the young m en are using this space in a productive way. In fact, these scenes show the interpellation of the young men. Althusser reveals the communications ISA includes media entertainment like television. The young men discuss the latest Tarzan and Western pictures . They even re Indians are overpowered and conquered, they too are being overpowered and conquered. See Hodge, Crick Crack, Monkey , 7 9. 23 Reddock writes about the creation of the U . S . m ilitary bases in Trinidad (183), which Baksh Soodeen explains was one of the ways in which U . S . imperialism over the Caribbean took up after European colonialism (78). Mikey never made so much money or experienced such a financial increase until he began t o work in New York. After he moves abroad to the U.S., Mikey sends Tantie as well as Tee and her brother gift packages. This scene in the novel also represents the U.S. model of modernity and upward mobility based on material possessions or consumption, as s move to the U.S. is also degree changes his class a nd this is only possible because Trinidad and Tob ago is a nation with low wages while the U.S. is an imperial nation with higher wages even for working class workers. Trinidad, like other Caribbean nations, still recognizes the opportunities of foreign nat ional powerhouses like the U.S. and the extreme poverty in some Caribbean nations causes people to privilege these nations. 24 Mahabir says exploitation is his end in the U . S . base, basically. Also, Rhonda Cobham notes Mikey and Ma a modern society. Still, it suggests that other ways may be possible and to s eek them. 25 Perhaps the garden building, in this instance, is symbolic of nation building. The garden is a symbol in many other works by Senior. F or Senior , gardening, especially small scale thoughtful, diversified , gardening is a form of resistance and a productive alternative to corporate agri culture . S ee Gardening in the Tropic Su: Finding a Literary Journal of West Indian Lit erature .
96 CHAPTER 3 THE WRONG AND RIGHT SIDES OF THE TRACKS : M APPING THE INTRARACIAL LINDEN HILLS AND DAWN TURNER It is not just white people who refuse to acknowledge different class status among blacks; many of us want to ignore class. -bell hooks Killing Rage : Ending Racism s on the other side. -Miss Lily (Dawn Turner Trice) Li nden Hills for Heaven (1996) are part of a body of fiction that features literary portrayals of lived experiences in city environments. Such portrayals have prompted literary scholars to engage in subst antive explorations of the city in literatu re as well as of the quality of life in urban communitie s. 1 portrayals of their fictive neighborhood descriptions. Both novels dep ict a strict physical barrier that serves as a symbol or demarcation line representing class separation between the African American working and middle class neighborhoods featured in the narratives. 2 In Linden Hills , a marble banister and a stream of wate r separate physically the working class Putney Wayne and foot fence separates the residents of a working class community on Thirty fifth Street and those of Lakeland, the elite residential area on the other side. In both novels, the friendship between a working class character and a middle class character breaches the separation between the classes. Thus, Trice and Naylor employ the literary technique of a cross class relationship trope to provi de commentary on the class dynamics between the residents of the neighborhoods. 3 More specifically, this chapter argues that Naylor and Trice depict two African American neighborhoods separated by class differences in order to interrogate the sensitive top ic of intraracial class divisions and, ultimately,
97 to advocate for cross class alliances that can strengthen the greater African American community. 4 Extending the discourse on literary portrayals of class relations in contemporary US society , t his essay examines the juxtaposed neighborhood structures and the accompanying class sion on the significance of the cross class relationships and their roles in bridging the physically and ideologically opposed neighborhoods. 5 B y choosing to visualize class division through spa ce, b oth autho rs convey that the neighborhood representations in the novel[s] are 19), and that the neighborhood divisions facilitate the antagonistic views between the working and m iddle class residents. T h us, th is chapter explores Harvey 27) or the correlations between ideology and space within Linden Hills and Only Twice . 6 Many of the main and minor characters in the novels a sume that everyone outside of their environment operates in a certain way; in other words, they grossly stereotype one another and create invisible barriers that complement the physical barriers of separation. These visible and invisible barriers not only fuel misinformation and prevent the characters from building relationships with one anothe r but also lead to various forms of destruction in both communities. In fact, both novels conclude with the death of a key character, implying that intraracial class antagonism can only lead to a breakdown of community , never a happy ending . To analyze th e structural spaces in the novels, I employ an interpretation of what literary Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety & Postbellum Black Fiction in
98 his fiction , explaining Thus, this strategy aids in identifying the class indic ators or symbols distributed throughout a representations of class but also provide a framework for theorizing how and why he addresses class divisions and black mob ility his framework , which has been effective is also applicable to the work of other literary artists engaging in f perspectives on the relationships between the characters in the class separated neighborhoods. 7 Through their novels Linden Hills and Only Twice , Naylor an d Trice participat e in a dialogue about the realities and repercussio ns of contemporary intraracial class divisions among African Americans . In their research on class within African American communities, Elizabeth R. Cole and Safiya Omari discuss the history of class divisions that extend back to the days of slavery where mulatto slaves were afforded privile ges and eventually separated themse lves from other African Americans after emancipation. 8 M ore over , sociologist Mary Pattillo McCoy explains that the economic growth during the post World War II period coupled with the Civil Rights Movement contributed to the growth o f the black middle cla 7 ) who now had access to an expanded range of occupations as well as residential neighborhoods. 9 After several studies on African American working class neighborhoods, scholars began to publish studies beginning around the late 1980s/e arly 1990s on African American middle class neighborhoods, and the segregation of middle class African Americans away from working c lass and poor African Americans became a notable topic. 10 It is in the milieu of such scholarship that
99 Naylor and Trice publi shed their novels Linden Hills and Only Twice that present literary portrayals of the class division. The pairing of these two works allows one to see the acceleration or intensification of this topic, as Trice depicts the death of an innocent child as an effect of the antagonism while Naylor, a decade earlier, presents the death of a mastermind behind the creation of such a neighborhood. Published a decade apart , Linden Hills and Only Twice both feature a cross class relationship as a central part of the Linden Hills , readers observe a double plot line, with one detailing the history of the Nedeed family, especially throughou t the Linden Hills community to earn money for the holiday season. Lester is a resident in the affluent Linden Hills neighborhood, while Willie lives on the other side of the banister in Putney Wayne . Because Linden Hills focuses primarily on the middle cl ass residents in the community of that name, many scholars do not examine its relationship and juxtaposition with the working class community where Willie lives. S cholars such as Barbara Christian and Michael F. Lynch do mention Brewster Place, another wor king class community juxtaposed with Linden Hills and Women of Brewster Place , and some of this scholarship illuminates the relationship between Linden Hills and Putney Wayne, but Linden Hills does not feature a friendship that crosses the boundary between the titular neighborhood and Brewster Place . Other critics have addressed th e different class defined spaces in Nay addressed the fact that Naylor uses a cross class r elationship to illuminate the detrimental social and psychological impact of class division . Thus, the analysis in this chapter novel.
100 underscores a cross class dynamic between Linden Hills and Putney Wayne, just as the friendship of d Valerie Nicholae breach a similar separation in Only Twice . Temmy moves to the elite Lak eland and she meets Valerie who is from the working class area of Thirty fifth Street but has been living in the basement of the Lakeland apartment complex for the past year with her older brother who is the residential janitor. Like Willie and Lester who meet in seventh grad e, the girls meet in school (a cross class space in both novels), in their case during the first week of sixth grade. 11 figure Miss Jonetta who m she communicates with dur ing her secret, unaccompanied visits to Thirty fifth Street. Yet, readers, through the friendship of Temmy and Valerie, gain access to not only both communities but also the perspectives of the young people in those spaces. In both novels, the authors pres ent the cross class relationship as an allegory of the greater working and middle class communities in the cities and the authors encourage a comparative assessment of the communities. The spatial symbolism in the novels allows Naylor and Trice to create, for their readers, an easily accessible frame or structure in which to interrogate the issues of class in the narratives. B y tying class t o space so thoroughly, the authors convey their awareness that a connection exists between physical spa ces and the peo ple who form relationships in those spaces. As Marxist geographer and theorist David Harvey elaborates, many regard a city a s a complex dynamic system in which spatial form and social process are in continu ous interaction with each other (46). Thus, the strategically codified spaces in Linden Hills and Only Twice are not neutral settings or backdrops; rather, they are intended to assist the authors in conveying issues of class through space. Ultimately, t cross class relatio nship or the pairing of a main character with another character of the same race
101 and gender but from a different class background offers readers a glimpse of hope that intraracial class antagon ism can be quelled. Through the cross class relationship trope , Naylor and Trice demonstrate th e importance and possibility of constructive relationships that span class lines. Cross Class Friendship M ap ping the class status of the characters for readers, Naylor provides considerable description of the physical features of the neighborhoods presented in Linden Hills . Naylor begins her novel with meticulous descriptions of the Linden Hills neighborhood layout and a historical view of its creation. In fact , she presents it as a structural hierarchy and the brainchild of Luther Nedeed, the African American patriarchal figure in the novel. 12 Luther Nedeed, the or usel ess to the local whites , during the 1800s. After building himself a house at the bottom of the hill near a cemetery, he establishes a funeral business and has enough money to build wooden houses along the hill to rent out . Over t he years, the Nedeed family saw his dream crystallize into a zoned district of eight circular drives that held some of the finest homes and eventually the wealthiest black families 13 Yet, Linden Hills is not a homogenous class community , and Nayl or displays this reality by meticulously detailing its spatial organization . In an interview, Naylor comments that she intentionally uses the concept of space in Linden Hills (Pearlman & Henderson 71). One of the most obvious ways in which she uses space is in her construction of the Linden Hills neighborhood. L wealthiest man in Wayne County , live s at the very bottom of the hill and his house is the only house down there. Up is the Tupelo Drive section of Linden Hills. Though not as wealthy as Luther, residents on Tupelo Drive h o ld a slightly higher class status than other Linden Hill residents; they a re solidly upper middle class. To be sure, the text reveals that all of the Linden
102 Hills residents had knowledge of their slightly different distinctions within the larger spectrum of middle class by detailing the physical markers they erected to distinguish themselves: Because the cemetery stopped Linden Road at Fifth Crescent Drive, Tupelo Drive could only be entered throu gh the center of Fifth Crescent, and the Tupelo residents built a private road with a flower trimmed meridian headed by two twelve foot brick pillars. They then put up a bronze plaque on the pillars and had the words LINDEN HILLS engraved in deep Roman typ e. This caused the residents on First through Fifth Crescent drive s immediately to erect a wooden sign WELCOME TO LINDEN HILLS behind the marble banister and the stream, separating them Drive there, but they definitely knew that they also lived in Linden Hills. (14 15) ll the people lived, the higher they were in class status. In other words, moving down physically si gnified upward social mobility. From this description, readers can also imagine a four tier hierarchy among the African Americans in the novel (besides the Dante inspired hell structure that critics have highlighted). At the top tier of the hierarchy (and the bottom of the hill) is Luther. Following Luther and making up the second tier of the hierarchy , the Tupelo residents showcase their wealth with a lavish Crescent drives who make up the third tier position erect nam working class area near Wayne Avenue. Though they meticulously delineate their spaces, the residents fail to create a true sense of community among themselves. Expanding on this point, community, a showplace precariously kept in place by the machinations of one wealthy black R esidents in Linden Hills are simply people who inhabit a conglomeration of neatly organized houses.
103 In the novel, the fourth and bottom tier of the hierarchy consists of those outside of Linden Hills. Naylor continues the spatialization of class inequalities those . The class spectrum within Linden Hills rang es from Luther down to First Crescent, and the overall s pectrum ends outside of the Place. Originally, a natural landmark a stream separated the entire Linden Hills area from the fortified the separation between Linden Hills and the Wa yne Avenue area, which had liquor stores side by side with ch Throughout the novel, readers see people wanting to climb up the socioeconomic ladder and move further a way from the Wayne Avenue area down towards the bottom of the hill near Tupelo and Nedeed. In a conversation with his friend Ruth, Lester laments this irony, exclaiming bust? Down toward Tupelo Drive matter where they were on the class spectrum, characters recognized the class separations within and around Linden Hills. Despite their different class backgrounds, Willie and Lester became friends w hile attending the junior high school that was near to b oth of their homes. While Willie lived in Putney Wayne, Lester lived on First Crescent Drive, which was in Linden Hills but across the street from the infamous Wayne Avenue. The text describes the formation of their friendship, e friends with Lester Tilson in the seventh grade after helping him
104 yellow tone in his 14 Their friendship blossomed over the years, even when Willie dropped out of schoo l old, share a mutual love for poetry, even though the content of their poetry is quite different. and seek. Winos who spoke wisdom , it felt to hear your father beating yo Still, the reality that they were able to share their innermost feelings with one another brought them even closer over the years. 15 novel, Naylor enables readers to see moments of hostility among Linden Hills residents themselves (as their erected physical barriers serve as reminders), but, more emphatically, she exposes their united front against residents of working class areas. Thei r solidarity against Putney Wayne, in particular, is . Willie and Lester overhear clear evidence of bias against Putney Wayne. While gathered together to mourn the loss of their neighbo r and to console her widower, Mr. Chester Parker, the Linden Hills residents engage in a heated discussion about imposing zoning restrictions for the building of new housing for Putney Wayne residents. Despite know ing of the unsafe living conditions Putney Wayne residents endure, the Linden Hills residents sign petitions in opposition to the project. Even the deceased Lycentia opposed the project Lester and Willie are both
105 incensed by the vitriol of the Linden Hills residents as they continue to listen to their conversation. With Willie and Lester standing at the top of the stairs on break from their job of removing wal opinions that the middle class residents have conc erning Putney Wayne residents. Bryan, the councilman for t he Linden Hills district, reminds them of the deplorable conditions in Putney Wayne. Unlike the others, he appears to be somewhat concerned; yet, he still cares much more about his reputation than the health of Putney Wayne residents. made a between trying to appease his enraged constituents and trying to get them to understand the plight of Putney Wayne residents. Attempting to explain the n eed for the new housing, he states: Bob, you and the others have got to understand that there has been a lot of pressure on the mayor to do something about the living conditions in Putney Wayne. People are over there in tenements that should have been cond heat in most of them and at times no water. The health department reported three cases of diphtheria within six months one of the kids who caught it last year died recently, so your pet ition was just bad residents seem not to care much at all about the conditions Bryan highlights, as they do not face living without heat or water or wat ching their children die of vaccine preventable diseases. O ne woman expresses empathy, but she goes on immediately wealthier neighbors such as herself for Others chime in with compla ints and stereotypes that neighborhood with people like that, the next thing you know your TVs and stereos are walking
106 in the nearby schools cases and troublemaker After gaining more insight about middle class opinions, Willie and Lester remain united in the feeling that it is troublesome that the Linden Hills residents have no concern for the other African Americans simply because they are working class. Perhaps to emphasize the gravity of intraracial discord, Naylor depicts the Linden Hills residents as having a better relationship with a racist white organization than with working class African Americans. When Linden Hills residents conspire with the Way ne County Citizens new housing project , this reveals the depth of their disdain for Putney Wayne residents . Nedeed knows that class privilege alone distinguish es him and other Linden Hills residents from Putney Wayne residents, but he makes a deal with racists to protect property values in Linden Hills. 16 This may be the [American] dr . Throughout the scene describing the alliance, Naylor inserts lines from Wallace St ts a somewhat snide salvo leveled at the middle class, who, Stevens maintained, we re quick to (106). Thus, Naylor, by using this poem, is commenting on the transformation of Linden Hills residents who have achieved middle class status. Still, she is not suggesting that interview (Bonetti 47). She is also not condemning all social mobility ; the depiction of the ilding a successful African American community appears in a flattering light. The dream turns into a nightmare over the years, unfortunately , because
107 (Christian 37 0) . Rather, in her description of the behavior of Linden Hills residents in this various aspects of the African American pursuit of materialism and class status ). stility, Willie and Lester are turned off and anxious to leave the Parker residence so that they do not have to hear any more. Moreover, Naylor critique s not only interracial antagonism in the novel but also the larger US society . She expresses that the L inden Hills residents greed coupled with racial inequality in the greater American society greatly In fact, Christian suggests Linden Hills [has] been created by racism, or more precisely, as a result of the effects of Residents never consider join ing with Putney Wayne residents to form a sociopolitical mobilizing force or alliance to rectify unjust living cond itions and honor the basic human rights of Putney Wayne residents. Rather, they replicate the exclusions that historically American society has enacted upon African Americans ot [to] be shut out from the possibility of achieving power in white Am they fail to recognize that their behavior mimics that of those they seemingly despise, the type of people who are a part of the Wayne County Citizens Alliance. class fr iendship, Naylor offers another perspective, one that welcomes difference and encourages mutual respect. Their friendship suggests that people from different class backgrounds can form cross class alliances that are mutual ly beneficial and Naylor intima tes this throughout the novel even in subtle ways. At one point in the n arrative, Willie and Lester , as twenty year olds, reminisce about how their friendship began , as they walk along the bor der of Wayne Junior High School. Evoking the
108 separation between the residents, Naylor strategically refere nces the marble banister in this scene , as it i Not only the history of the marble banister but also the presence of fences and gat es surrounding the school causes Willie and Lester to engage in a conversation about the symbolic meanings of these enclosures. For Lester, he is interested in the purpose of barriers bordering any educational institution , whether an elementary school , jun ior high school , or a university. He deduces that they are there really because those operating they have i nty Here, Lester explains fences are more than physical barriers; they also invoke particular Concerning the banister, Lester and us thing . 17 This scene, though seemingly simple, allows Naylor to g et (Williams 101), which is a crucial goal of mapping class. Naylor critiques a public space, a school setting, which is where many attain education that aids in their upward mobility. In other words, she allude s to the connection between education and class, using the physical space of the school in her agenda to probe issues of class. Ultimately, Naylor invites readers to comprehend since the two are able to find common ground despite one having a traditional education (Lester) and the other lacking it (Willie). To maintain their cross class fri endship, Willie and Lester face challenges, and one of the greatest is disapproval from Le a s house, Mrs.
109 opposed to their friends hip for various reasons. Engles maintains that the relationship between Willie and Lest s Acute ly aware of her precarious position in the Linden Hills suburb, Mrs. Tilson goes to extremes to protect her position on the lowest rung of the Linden Hills hierarchy . at the top of the hill on First Cres cent where high up means low class status, is so she tries to make up for it in many ways, including with other material possessions. Clearly, conversation with Willie , who Lester invites to stay the night, she mentions (51). She also notes , t here are homes across Wayne Avenue that are In this scene, Naylor demonstrates that of her insecurities, Mrs. Tilson does not want Lester to be friends with the working class Willie; she does not want her Linden Hills neighbors to shun her. The peer pressure that Mrs. Tilson feels demonstrates the pervasi ve condescension among the middle class residents that Naylor is critiquing. Throughout the narrative, Mrs. Tilson elitism and disdain for working class people, especially Willie, is obvious both in her actions and her words. During the scene at the Tils on classist discrimination tends to be coded as propriety (Engles 668). H er behavior with Willie is visibly contrived, as the narrator reveals, he gave him n she invites Willie to stay for dinner and
110 informs him chicken, Clearly, for her son. When Lester refuses to attend college, the narrator reveals that Mrs. Tilson somehow m, Willie Mason, come into her home and influence her son while she was probably the only one in Linden Hills who treated him like a person. Lester hardly remembered her treatment of Willie in the 18 Mrs. Tilson, ultimately, is r epresentative of the type of attitudes that discourage reconciliation across the class divide. Facing various conflicts and differences among themselves, Willie and Lester also experience challenges in their friendship derived merely from their different c lass perspectives. Naylor is not painting a superficial image of their friendship, which emphasizes to readers that cross class relationships require work on the part of both parties. Like Lester, Willie grew up in a two parent household, but his father di ed from cirrhosis of the liver because he was an alcoholic. Willie is well aware that his background has shaped him, and oftentimes, he appears to be more cla Wayne, but he has experiences in Linden Hills as well, especially through h is relationship with Lester, and this affords him a vantage point that Lester lacks. Furthermore, it appears, at times, that Willie is either forcing Lester to become aware of his class privileges or he is jealous of few tense interactions with one another . While trembling
111 who can af annual Christmas party for Putney Wayne children, Willie fondly recollects the years when he of stuff: 19 In another scene, they argue because Willie accuses Lester of criticizing Putney Wayne. When stop worrying because they ar e walking in Linden Hills and not in a back alley, Willie cuts him refuse s to acknowledge the defense. He attacks the ch aracter of Linden Hills people in return, are a lot worse than anyone would have the heart to do up in Putney W These is evidence that cross class relationships are not problem free. In other words, Naylor is forewarning that tensions do indeed exist in cross class relationships, but the tense moments can and must be addressed so that they do not become insurmountable barriers, which is what happens if they are left unattended. h the knowledge Willie has to share. Rather, she foregrounds the agency of the working class residents, particularly Willie, as Willie assumes the role of teacher in some of his exchanges with
112 Lester. Willie confronts Lester about speaking critically about people in the Linden Hills neighborhood when Lester appears to enjoy living there; he comments to Lester that playing as better than being on welfare, since his mother was uneducated and had to , comments on the differing perspectives between the young men: ( against which Lester chafes) worse than those of poverty (which Willie experiences)? Lester may imagine so; Will ie can afford no such delusions Willie is helping Lester grow or expand his worldview. Though Willie and Lester reveal their awareness of class separations and engage in someti mes heated debates about their own differences, they still find a way to find common ground and maintain their friendship . productive cross class relationships. Naylor is underscoring that m utual respect is a necessity in the cross class relationship (and any productive relationship). In her list of obstacles to alliances, Betsy Leondar Wright notes class activists can react to middle class activists with deep seated rage and mistru class conditioning can make it hard for middle class allies to build oth parties have to be self reflexive and recognize their biases so that they do not hinder the relationship. Christian explains this quite simply when sh e
113 asserts , the African hese statements affirm the relationship between the two young men and suggest that such relationships can play a pivotal role in the larger African American community; however, these are the only two statements that Christian writes about their friendship. Differing from Christian, the analysis here elaborates on example of bridging class divides. In the end, Lester and Willie recognize that their upbringing and p ast experiences have influenced the course of their lives. Because Lester finishes high school, he will continue to have access to opportunities such as having his poetry published, and he will inherit a house in Linden Hills. Willie, on the other hand, do es not have the same opportunities, as he dropped out of both a worker in Linden Hills and a composer of poems who memorizes them all and refuses to write them down. He thus avoids a certain alienation from his poetic creations, re fusing to part with an emergin g artist and cultural The Fiction 36). Despite the different oppor tunities that may or may not be available to them, they remain united and committed to helping people and not repeating the negative patterns they have witnessed in their communities. Lynch remarks that they both share the desire
114 14). Despite class differe nces, they choose to stay unified and become more enlightened during the process, as they receive first hand insight from working class and middle class members on both sides of the marble banister . In what she calls an apocalyptic ending (Bonetti 63) , Na ylor delivers her final indictment against the intraracial class antagonism in Linden Hills with the detailing of house burn ing down while he and his wife are inside ultimately representing the end of an era that fostered divisions. She beg and the mastermind behind its construction, Luther Nedeed. His death at the close of the novel represents the potential to bring death to the class bias that has reigned in the community. As the house burns, Willie and Lester shutting their shades instead of trying to help Nedeed; they are able to turn their heads because they never developed a true sense of community among themselves . Lester views their refusal to in the destruction of the satanic despot and presiding spirit who has come to embody al l that is foul in the community (Gates 620). However, as ly this individual Nedeed who causes the destruction of A cutely a ware that a change must occur, Willie and Lester choose another route, one that omits extreme class bia s. They cross the fence literally and figuratively, as Montgomery declares, lie and Lester scale the fence demarcating Linden Hills, crossing over imposed boundaries in the The Fiction 36). 20 Ultimately, Willie and Lester breach class separation through their relationship, becoming figures of hope for reconciliation across the working and middle class divide in their neighborhoods, and their
115 discussions represent the larger discussions a nd alliances between classes that Naylor wants to take place among the greater African American community. Cross Class Friendship Highlighting cross Only Twice was ba sed on the community of [her] childhood, which was very much fragmented b Like Linden Hills , Only Twice focuses on two contrasting mobility experience. The novel begins with the Saville family preparing to move from their ders see that eco nomic and geographic mobility a re aligned . 21 Throughout the narrative, the young Saville, Temmy, is the major connection between the (upper) middle class and working class communities. In this analysis, the focus is on the relationship betw een Temmy and Valerie, which illuminates the rifts between the Lakeland and Thirty fifth Street communities at the same time that it offers a glimpse of the possibility that intraracial class antagonism can be assuaged. Temmy cross class relationship that begins at school . 22 Though seemingly an innocent childhood companionship, the friendship is the basis of the cross class relationship trope that Tric e uses to interrogate class divisions in the novel. Temmy and Valerie are in the sixth grade when they meet and, perhaps, their shared identity as outsiders facilitates their friendship, as Temmy is a new student at school and Valerie is an outcast among t he students. Although Valerie seems to have a greater degree of class consciousness than Temmy, Temmy observes immediately the ostracism by their peers. Upon t
116 clothes uniform that reeked of sour milk. Valerie has forged the signature on her enrollment form, and ervised morning ventures, the preceding scene prepares readers for the contrasts in the level of care that the two pre teens receive by detailing how Mrs. Saville assists Temmy with her morning preparations for school, including laying out her wardrobe for specifies, at the start, differences among the two girls associated with their class: the middle class Temmy has parents who are able to be involved intimately in he r life, while the working class Valerie has to rely on her older, overworked brother who is not always available to take care of her. 23 Though both girls have some level of class consciousness, Trice does not necessarily use these characters to illustrate t he process through which children discover and negotiate class difference relationship to show the influences of class conflict on children. On one hand, Valerie is unable to re solve why her life is so different from that of her new friend Temmy and, also, she carries a s ecret a ovel and she also experiences Thirty fifth Street through her relationship with the elder figure in the novel, Miss Jonetta, who
117 attempts to act as a guide or moral figure for Temmy. However, Miss Jonetta is not a peer with whom Temmy can directly identify . 24 Trice pairs Temmy and Valerie to reveal the harmful effects of class discord on both girls, despite their being from different class backgrounds, and she uses spatial structures, specifically the Lakeland and Thirty fifth Street areas, to assist in char ting the disparities between them. In the end, the children represent the future and both lass undings. Temmy lives in a two parent home in the plush Lakeland development, while Valerie lives between her brother John (in the tiny bas ement of the Lakeland complex ) and her mother (in a dilapidated Thirty fifth Street t enement ). John began working in Lakeland as the live in head janitor a year ago, and he moved from Thirty fifth Street, bringing that John does not care so much when it c omes to strict school attendance and, as proof, she is a teacher at Lakeland Academy and ensures Temmy attends school daily. Although Temmy is not completely comf ortable at her new school with peers who have spent the summer in Japan, in the Sahara, and at the Grand Canyon, the other students do not consider her a complete misfit as they do Valerie. The students ostracize Valerie who has hair filled with dandruff, hands with Valerie, who is attending Lakeland Academy only because her brother is now a Lakeland resident through his janitorial job, and one boy even makes fun of her class status by remarking
118 bullies. Aware of the dissimilar circumstances between them, the pre teens still forge a friendship, one that allows them to learn more about the diversity within African American communities. and Valeri e that display the development of their friendship and their increased knowledge of their class differences. The girls engage in conversations reminiscent of those between Lester and Willie in Linden Hills . While discussing the upcoming debutante ball whic h itself is often an 25 preparing for the ball, Valerie then says to Temmy, h er response demonstrates how class shame can come from any class (94). 26 Earlier , Tem my also claims that Thirty Lakeland because she feels lonely being the new girl, but Valerie retorts quickly that it is not and declares she would never go back to Thirty fifth Street if her mother did n ot live there. Having lived in both places, Valerie recognizes the stark contrasts in the two environments and feels the area where she was reared is lacking. Like Willie, Valerie calls attention to the class privilege her friend possesses. Being physicall y and socioeconomically liminal, Valerie is more class conscious than Temmy and, as a result, she sometimes takes on the role of teacher in their exchanges. In these instances, Trice foregrounds the agency of working class people, pointing out the knowledg e they have to share. Valerie, in short, truly experiences and has a vantage point of both sides (of the fence) in a way that her middle class confidant does not. Moreover, readers learn, at the end of the novel, that Valerie is abused when she visits her mother on Thirty fifth
119 Street, which also explains her sentiments. Here, Trice illustrates that violence is present in share. 27 Visualizing the spatial images that Trice describes in the novel, readers can clearly see that John and Valerie occupy a marginal space, the bottom rung of the middle class Lakeland complex are meager, to Their basement contrast the cinder blocks and the furniture was a menagerie of old worn pieces and hand me down person narration, sees it differently: folded, lay over in a corner under a rusting pipe, next to a shoe box size opaq ue swatches stood behind her deb dress [that she obtained from the garbage], which hung on a metal pipe coming out of the ce iling. (165) Based on this description, asement apartment could be on Thirty fifth Street, instead in a home . To be exact, Valerie does not have a bed; she has a pallet that she can unfold at night and put away during the day to conserve space. They are literally boxed in, as there is hardly any Aside from this reality, the rusting and protruding wall pipes suggest building code violations, something that no one would expect in
120 is on a top floor, parallels the class hi erarchy, as Trice confirms in an interview that with the (Duboin 119). twenty second floor of the Lakeland complex. ( Williams 79) fif yellowish bulb hanging from wires in the middle of the ceiling, casting a dim light on a small liv st notices in the basement rice uses the high rise apartment building, divided up into codified spaces, as a metaphorical rep resentation of social hierarchy Indeed, Like Naylor, Trice is mapping the class status of her characters through meticulous descriptions of their neighborhoods, the working class Thirt y fifth Street area and the upper Chicago filled with the black elite. Lakeland is an African American community that was built as a result of racism and discrimi nation African Americans experienced, as the narrator reveals it infested and blighted tenement houses blacks had to endure
121 28 From its first descriptions in the narrative, Lakela nd appears to be an exceptional place: It was an idyllic community, stripped of limitations and bounds. According to the Sentinel seven hole golf course, an Olympic size swimming pool, coff eehouses with the classics lining oak shelves, and an academy whose students were groomed and pointed, some said from the womb, in the direction of either Morehouse, Spelman, Harvard, or Yale. (19 20). Lakeland residents enjoy privileges beyond those o f a verage US citizens. T hey were fully partaking of the American Dream, and images of interiors further articulate their lavish standard of living. Upon entering their new apartment in the Lakeland complex, the Saville family ving room lake forms a beautif apartment that faced Thirty fifth Street has hardly any real windows. Instead, the windows were building where complex allows residents to pretend Thirty fifth Street did not exist. Seemingly, their goal is, as , to (456) . Yet even though they have more money than residents on Thirty fifth Street, they are not conscious that the Lakeland fifth Street, as Trice elaborates in an interview ( Duboin 1 17). They are still closed in and limiting themselves, and Lakeland , as Duboin observes, 62 ).
122 Unlike Linden Hills , Only Twice offers vivid descrip tions of the working class neighborhood, which allows a clearer contrast with the wealthier neighborhood. Trice reveals this was done intentionally because sometimes we think more about race than about class (Duboin 117). Early on, Trice underscores Lakela class people on Thirty confines of that ivy lined wrought iron fence lived this elite group of people who had been allowed to purge the ir minds of all those things that reminded them of what it meant to be poor classes throughout the novel. 29 they put up that fence, each year the ivy got thicker and thicker, a tied up, tangled up mess, so bad, we annual back to school carnival celebration at the Lakeland co mplex, she crosses the fence, and, in turn, prepares readers for the cross class depictions that will remain throughout the rest of the narrative. 30 After Temmy crosses the fence, Trice transitions from mapping class onto the physical landscapes to encoding class onto physical bodies as well, and the descriptions of the working class community on Thirty fifth Street bring about an immediate shift to the previous idyllic images in the narrative. 31 spaces as classed or coded in parallel ways is significant, particularly because it highlights her underlying message that people, or rather the two communities, judge one another not only by the physical location of their homes but also by various other class indicators. Environments or spaces and the people who occupy and operate in those environments are regarded in similar ways. Her detailed delineations of the people, their communities, and their attitudes illustrate this reality. Although
123 Valerie was reared in this community and is far more knowledgeable about it than her friend, Temmy learns and forms judgments about the working class community through the visuals she observes as well as the interactions she has with the residents during her many esc apades across the world of Lakeland residents and the one of those on Thirty fifth Street: In front of me stood a twelve story redbrick building, surrounded b y a group of clapboard row houses homes to children too numerous to count. They were sitting on front stoops, dancing in the parking lot, chasing one another in the street. To my right, about a third of a block away, was a half dead neon sign with a flicke Women in long white dresses and shoe boots positioned themselves next to women in too short skirts and sagging fishnet panty hose; men in shiny polyester suits, holding Bibles, stood next to men so drunk, they teetered on the edge of the sidewalk. (32 33) Temmy refocuses her attention from the physical layout to scrutinizing the people. The around and dancing to lo the lot and such activity would never be permitted. Not only does Temmy notice a difference in the number of people but also she witnesses a different style of dress. Temmy is unaccustom ed to the attire she sees the people wearing. The crowd she sees is gathering around Reverend Alfred Mayes, the alluring pimp turned street preacher of the New Saved congregation. o omen in long white dresses as well as drunkards. Here, Trice presents the scenery on this street in opposition to that back across the fence.
124 e working class community on Thirty symbolic geographies or physical spaces intentionally denoting a particular class background. The crowd around Mayes that Temmy joins becomes distracted w hen they witness a crime being committed before silver coin dispenser, and slid open the back of his truck. Beer cans started flying from hand to hand and rolli fitting purple skirt to mid my into her store. There, Temmy finds patrons nicknamed Chitlin, Fat Daddy and Hump, and Miss on Thirty f ifth Street residents call the of familiarity and close knit community among these characters. However, just as Temmy ignores Miss Lily, the maid for her floor of the Lakeland complex who tells Temmy that she want to have nothing to do with Miss Jonetta and continues to sneak over to her store, providing readers with glimpses of Thirty fifth Street thr she is curious about this newfound community, unlike the other Lakeland residents who refuse to cross the fence. Resembling the cross class interactions in Linden Hills, Te and other exchanges in Only Twice allow the author to feature or stress the class tensions between the working class and middle class characters. Although in different ways, both Temmy
125 and Valerie interact with the custodial st aff members at the Lakeland complex who play a role in both of their lives. Temmy communicates with her maid Miss Lily because she is responsible for because her bro ther John is the head janitor. T he janitors and maids who work in the Lakeland apartment complex are aware of the class bias among Lakeland residents and the discrepancies between the ir working or living spaces in the complex and the other Lakeland apartme nts . As a result, some of them feel resentful towards the residents and the reputation of Lakeland as a paradise. Perhaps the maid Miss Lily best captures the enmity when she tries to belittle the Lakeland property. She tells Mrs. Saville stories about Lak building problems like bursting pipelines that caused floods and incinerator chutes that set one this place too damn fast. T s, Mr. the Lakeland residential culture or lifestyle that comes with an attitude of superiority. Like the hostility of Linden Hills residents that Lester a nd Willie witness at the funeral hostility that directly threatens residents of Thirty fifth Street. Attending the debutante ball at Lakeland, Temmy and Valerie are se ated at the table with the Saville family when the Illinois fifth swa of the scene in
126 Linden Hills where the residents talk about voting against the new housing project for Putney Wayne residents. What is different, however, is that Mr. Saville is uneasy and confronts the [ T ] here, amid upwardly mobile blacks who have mentally and physically shut themselves awa y from the economic and moral turmoil of The senator, on the other hand, does not envision Thirty fifth Street residents as ever being a part of his dream or idea of community. Like Naylor, Trice seems to paint a negative or cautionary image of black middle class people . incorporates spatial imagery into her narrative to express her critical views on a mainstreaming black middle class th black folk (63). However, Trice is also 102). As this scene demonstrates, Mr. Saville has to determine ho w he is going to negotiate his new circumstances and whether or not he is content with joining in with those expressing disdain for working class people. Unlike the residents of Linden Hills, whose antagonism towards poorer neighbors seems unrelenting, L akeland residents at least temporarily defy the impulse to dehumanize, specifically when a tragedy involving Valerie strikes. Shortly after the ball, Valerie commits suicide because the pimp turned street preacher Alfred Mayes has been abusing her. 32 Here, one may argue that mother, Ruth, deliberately exposed her daughter to abuse because it was done to her and she could not figure out how to break the cycle. 33 Unli ke Ruth, the Savilles confront the dangers that could harm their daughter, and they are concerned about the effects of the destruction of Temmy
127 express shock and out rage as they acknowledge that a senseless death of a child has occurred right under their noses. Bracks asserts that on between the two communities. ty fifth (456). Again, Valerie was a liminal figure, a part of both places, and to show support for her passing, Lakeland residents send flowers and money. Yet, they do fifth Street residents deeply distresses the Saville who is in a state of shock. Temmy is visibly shaken and confused absence from class friendship between her and Temmy comes to a bitter end. With the end of the cross class friendship between the girls, Trice c oncludes the novel with a final display of antagonism between the two neighborhoods. Lakeland residents go forward with the plan to demolish Thirty fifth Street. Here, Trice really exposes the injurious impact of class inequalities, as r esidents o n Thirty fifth Street must vacate after the city council gives the Lakeland com munity permission to expand This is a deliberate insinuation of gentrification, and Mrs. Saville , who was never happy about moving to the Lakeland area, asks how they can force people out of their places, but she receives no sufficient answer. 34 ). ng about the stark class divisions between the communities falls on deaf ears. Perhaps to placate the situation, the city council gives the gentrification law they pass to allow Lakeland to expand
128 name , the Nicholae Plan . Though outraged, th e people Valerie grew up with on Thirty fifth Street lack a sociopolitical mobilizing force, a voice, and ultimately power. Miss Jonetta even powerlessnes s when it comes to working class groups. Indeed, Trice states in an interview that voice means power ar e the people fights for that to occur. Instead Akin to Naylor here as well, 35 Repulsed by their fellow Lakeland neighbors, the Saville family members decide to move from their Lakeland residence. Still, the middle class Saville family makes the choice to move, while the working class resident s on the other side of the fence are forced to relocate. These residents are not only denied upward class mobility, a part of the American Dream, but also they are displaced. Primarily through the Lakeland residents, especially the Saville family, Trice critiques the American Dream, which include s obtaining upward class mobility . Instead of participating in the subordination of other African Americans or coopera ting with their fellow residents in displacing the residents on the other side of the fence so that they could expand their the situation. 36 They cannot be at peace wit h the prejudicial attitudes and a warped sense of community; in a way, the American Dream proves too costly for them. The Saville family attempts to offer a model of living outside of class tensions and refuse to embrace class bias but one may argue that p eople are always already a part of social stratification. Ultimately, t hrough
129 the cross class relations hip of Temmy and Valerie , Only Twice exposes readers not only to intra racial class antagonism but also to different family patterns, an underground eco no my , gentrification, and limits on personal agency . As a whole, the novel illustrates the possibility of healthy cross class relationships; yet, it also offers a cautionary tale and arguably a pessimistic view, suggesting that class division within these fi ctive African American communities makes cross class alliances nearly impossible. Conclusion Linden Hills use spatial symbolism to make visible the class divides among the African American wo rking class and middle class neighborhoods t hey cr itique. The authors use the literary technique of a cross class relationship trope to explore the possibilities and challenges the communitie s face in overcoming the divide s , which b oth authors present as needed. In essence, the friendships between Willie and navigate cross invites audiences at least to consider a more nuanced history of lived experience in the black communities addres s es the relationshi p between working class and middle class communities, rather than focusing only on the c ritique being waged against privil eged African American s who seek to distance themselves from working class African Americans. The approach of examin ing more closely th e relationships between the communities provides the working cl ass communities and characters more agency and power, a portrayal that is often lacking in US literary and popular culture. While Naylor and Trice present cautionary tales ab out continued intraracial class antagonism, as a death of a main character appears at the close of both of their novels, they also offer hope that
130 reconciliation across the class divide is possible. In the end, the cross class friendships in Linden Hills a nd allow the authors to provide valuable messages about the possibilities, challenges, and need for such alliances. Notes 1 Daughter Jazz , PUSH The Women of Brewster Place . These literary works are merely representative of a more exhaustive list. F or example s of scholarship on such fiction, see Yoshinobu Hakutani and The City in African American Literature Signs and Cities . 2 My use of the descriptor working class includes people who are poor. In general, there are two major camps concerning the debate on distinctions between working class and poor people. Scholars like Michael Zweig in The Working Class Majority assert the poor should be included under the heading of working classes because those in working classes fall in and out of poverty and sometimes a working class person is out of a job. On the other hand, the poverty class) separately from worki ng classes because not all of the circumstances are similar. For instance, someone from a background of generational poverty faces very different circumstances than someone who has a stable low paying job. I fall in line with the former camp, as both group s of people suffer under various forms of exploitation and to further stratify these g roups of people is problematic. 3 different class back grounds, and generally, the cross class relationships are between working class characters and middle class characters. The most common type of cross class relationship depicted in African American novels is a friendship between two characters, o ne of whom is the protagonist. 4 I recognize that African American people are not homogenous and that African Americans make up multiple communities. The wording here is to emphasize that Naylor and Trice are concerned about the entire group of people who share a si milar racial heritage despite class differences. Additionally, Andrea Williams also expresses 5 Concerning Linden Hills Inferno ; eir journey up the socioeconomic ladder; and the Nedeed family , especially the Nedeed women. Although there is ample criticism on Linden Hills ouse geography is masculine and argues that Willa possesses the potential to dismantle the patriarchal house (22). With a slightly different perspective, I focus on the public space in the novel. Wh Only Twice focus on similar issues, particularly the class distinctions between the two neighborhoods. Scholars also focus on the depiction of the youn g and maintaining African American communities. See Barbara Christian, Catherine Ward, Grace Collins, Caroline Brown, Paula Eckard, Henry L. Gat es, Michael Lynch, Christopher Okonkwo, Cori 6 Social Justice and the City . Additionally, Bulson names other theorists who address interconnections between space or place and ideolog y, (taken from the urban theorist Ke
131 7 space and place in his own biography, to relate to the spaces he sees around him, and to recognize how transactions between individuals and between organizations are affec imbue their characters with a level of spatial consciousness. 8 a higher status than othe r African Americans, forming an upper class Black elite (Cole & Omari 787). 9 Pattillo McCoy also reveals that with the onset of the Great Migration and the subsequent formation of black residential neighborhoods in northern cities, a black middle class co nsisting of entrepreneurs and professionals began to burgeon ( Black Picket 17). She also notes that there is a misconception about the living haboits or near and Black Picket 13). Moreover, Cole and Omari also discuss the increased opportunities during which came of age after the restrictions of Jim Crow began to lift, and consequently had access to a wider range of occupations, residential acknowledged class differences even during segregation . Discussing novelist and editor J. McHenry Jones, Andrea cordoned off by invisible class lines that were l 10 In Pa ttillo C class neighborhoods appeared in the la te 1980s and early 1990s (307). 11 cl ass space that resists the polarities of working etter 12 Within the Nedeed family, there are multiple Luther Nedeeds, as each generation gave birth to a son and named hi m Luther Nedeed. 13 Tupelo Realty Corporation and his selling of the houses to the residents for a 1001 year lease, the process for selection of residents became more selective. Money would not always be the qualifier that ensured residency in Linden Hills. Here, Naylor high lights the various class marker s other than simply money (15). 14 very dark skin . In her discussion of The Fiction 23). 15 Some scholars like Henry L. Gates , Jr. homosexual The Fiction of Gloria Naylor basement of the Nedeed 4). 16 the Linden Hills residents and the racist white organization who really did not want any blacks near them, but of mapping class to delineate intraracial distinctions, but while doing so, he also presents the physically and economically mobile black subject as the source a concern for the Putney Wayne residents as well as the white organization.
132 17 bewilderment increases as he sees both the spiritual decay of the r esidents and the fences real and metaphorical which have been built around the schools, the librar 18 Lester tells Mrs. Tilson that the Linden Hills resident Kiswana Browne did not graduate from college, since Mrs. Tilson clai The Women of Brewster Place, prompted her rejection of a comfortable bourgeois e xistenc 19 This scene also shows how class plays a role in church. Certain classes sometimes belong to certain family attended Canaan Baptist. Furthermo preferred to help South Africa. 20 Engles men escaping Linden Hills to walk off into a new year, also suggest a fresh start in terms of resistance to several forms of anti communal pressu 21 discussion, she explains that economic and geographic mobility are aligned in such narratives, with characters moving from the US South to the Northeast or Midwest oftentimes for emplo yment opportunities (89). 22 Remember, the characters Lester and Willie are twenty years old. Temm y is eleven years old during the time of the main events in the novel (1976). Altogether, the narration that Temmy delivers about her experiences in 23 lives in Lakeland with her brother John while her mother Ruth dwells in a dilapidated tenement on Thirty fifth nitiation [ 24 Temmy, in essence , has two main cross class relationships one with Valerie and one with Miss Jonetta. 25 Graham discusses the history and role of debutante cotillion balls among African American elite s in Chapter Three of his book. 26 The national nonprofit organization Class Action discusses shame among upper classes o n their website. They note that depression often associated with the realization that they may not feel like they deserve what they have, and that much o f what they have may have come at Also , Michelle Tokarczy k discusses class shame in fiction and among writers (22) and so does Rita Felski on pages 38 Sham 27 In her descriptions of Thirty 28 29 metaphor for the social and cultural divide between the black urban underclass at a dead end and upwardly mobil e African Americans who ultimately, ironically, marginalize themselves further in their collective effort to conform and gain respectability. Thus, more than a physical borderline that separates the inside from the outside, the fence materializes binary op unity and dissolution, ascent and downfall, good and
133 30 There are multiple cross class relationships in the novel. The main ones are between Temmy and Valerie and Temmy and Miss Jonetta. 31 Trice makes a differ ent decision than some of her predecessors, as Williams explains that Dunbar does not encode instead spatially shows how class permeates t (91). 32 sexual favors so that she can support her drug habit. 33 environmental pressures, thereby furthering urban including sexual abuse, occur at all class levels; still, Trice deserves commendation for addressing the difficult subject of child abuse. 34 While Mr. Saville came from a working class backgroun d, Mrs. Saville was reared in an (upper) middle class family. Also, see Sabiyha Prince African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C.: Race, Class and for a discussion on gentrification. 35 In her analyses 36 an decide what they want to do.
134 CHAPTER 4 T HE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS: BARRIERS TO CROSS CLASS DIALOGUE IN DOG HEART But there are thousands of them and the father says to the boy, So the little boy picks up another starfish and puts it in the sea. He says to his father, I made a difference to that one -Sahara (Diana McCaulay) Dog Heart Human rights , whose application is a transnational process, offer guidelines for consciousness raising and social praxis within global civil society. -Faye Harrison Resisting Racism and Xenophobia At the moment, Diana McCaulay may not be a familiar name when it comes to Caribbean novelists, but her burgeoning oeuvre, which attests to both her talent and zeal for writing, will ve ry soon gain her a space in the Caribbean canon. 1 A native and lifelong resident of Jamaica, McCaulay also is not shy about addressing the many controversial issues of Jamaican society within her narratives. Her debut novel Dog Heart is a prime example, as it boldly tackles class prejudice and the very real gap between uptown (middle class) and downtown (working class) inhabitants or those who make up the so called wo Jamaicas. 2 The winner of a Gold Medal from t he Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Dog Heart is set in present day Kingston, Jamaica , and chronicles the interactions between two protagonists, a middle class woman Sahara and an inner city youth Dexter , who form the central cross class relationsh ip in the novel . 3 a cultural lens in which to view class relations in postcolonial Jamaican society . In an interview concerning the primary subject matter of Dog Heart, McCaulay state explicitly wanted to write about class, about the way we misunder stand each other across classes [because] t here are these enormous divisions in th e 4 Furthermore, McCaulay is direct in stating what
135 is at stake concerning the unjust inequalities: children, who represent hope and possess the potential to change the future of the nation, are being sacrificed (McCaulay 15). In other words, McCaulay, like m any others, fears that destructive patterns and cycles of hopelessness will continue into future generations if there are no interruptions to the existing state of affairs regarding class in Jamaican society. mporary class relations in Jamaica, this chapter explores in depth the complexities of class that McCaulay presents in Dog Heart , particularly in the relationship between Dexter (and his family) and Sahara. The literary criticism on the novel, which is ove rwhelmingly in the form of book reviews, is united in pointing out that the central issue in th e novel is class, but the scholarship does not present substantive analyses of class in the novel. Perhaps one of the most thorough in her review, Lorna Down sug gests that is that she helps us see that there are no easy With the limited format that a book review provides, Down does not detail specifics concerning the ( McCaulay I nterview 2) that embattle larger relationship bet ween middle class and inner city people in Jamaica. Ultimately, this chapter argues that the cross Dog Heart exposes the stark contrasts between middle class and inner city people in contemporary Jamaica as well as pr ejudices and misunderstandings that impede effective cross class dialogue. Because McCaulay addresses these concerns through the relationship between individuals who are to some degree representative of their class, McCaulay simultaneously addresses indivi dual responsibility and
136 limitations as well as the structural causes of destitution and the need for change at the societal and government level. In writing a novel that has a vision of structural class divides and musings about the role of middle class ci tizens, McCaulay is addressing issues explored by scholars of Caribbean well as human rights scholarship, thus, provide a useful framework. 5 A number of Caribbean s cholars such as Violet Eudine Barriteau and Patricia Mohammed draw attention to and explain various socioeconomic and political issues concerning contemporary Caribbean societies, some of which McCaulay portrays in her novel. For instance, Barriteau, in he Similarly, Mohammed has revealed that serious inquiries on class privilege and differences have recently come to the forefront in Caribb ean societies (24). Facilitating a more thorough analysis headed households and colorism (also known as shadeism). 6 In particular, Olive Senior, in Working Miracles , discusses the long h istory of single mothers in Caribbean nations and their child rearing practices. 7 Even though Dog Heart is narrated in the voices of Dexter and Sahara and they present the primary cross ip. Put differently, the characters in the novel. 8 McCaulay strategically parallels the lighter skinned Sahara and the darker h single mothers and belong to different classes. As human rights research conveys, the conditions within many downtown single parent households, which McCaulay delineates in her novel, exemplify human rights abuses. The scholarship of anthropologist Faye Harrison, who examines global human rights violati ons and
137 who has conducted field studies on Jamaica specifically over the last couple of decades, provides a wealth of assistance for analysis of the downtown (working class) portrayals in the novel. Dog Heart chronicles the many interactions between the tw o protagonists, Dexter and park ing lot of the Sovereign Plaza where he begs her for money, and eventually, she sponsors for his educati onal expenses. Readers see a clear juxtaposition between the worl ds of Sahara who is a single mother raising a teenage so n and Arleen who is a single mother raising Dexter and his two younger siblings. T he interactions between the two families are eye open ing, and his family , the n ovel closes with Dexter assisting in the kidnap of Sahara as part of a gang initiation. Thankfully, however, Dexter rebels against his accomplices and refuses to kill Sahara, allowing her to go free. Dog Heart certainly leaves readers with a number of ques tions to ponder. Uptown and Downtown: Class Divides in Jamaica Cleverly organized, the structure of Dog Heart reinforces the cross class relationship an d juxtaposition between the worlds of Dexter and Sahara . McCaulay uses the two protagonists as alternating first person narrators throughout the novel, presenting a cross c lass n arrative s tructure . S uch an arrangement facilitates the comparisons and contrasts between their personal liv es, particularly their material realities, family structures, and worldviews. Besides reflecting the thoughts and actions of the main characters, the first person narration captures the differences in language use. McCaulay alternates between the Jamaican language in the chapters that Dexter narrates and Standard English in those that Sahara narrates so that readers can understa nd both perspectives or points of view in the voice in which a person of that particular class background
138 would speak normally. 9 Discussing the correlations between class and language, McCa ulay also reveals that she wanted to do justice to the widely because there is still prejudice concerning the failure to speak good [S] tandard English 10 In the novel, the character Sahara mentions how when she was in h ultimate goal with the switch in language and perspective is to create awareness between her ideal audience members, which consist of Jamaicans. Arguably, such awareness coul d spark dialog ue between uptown and downtown communities that leads to better communication and understanding. 11 Exceptions to the alternating first person narration are the opening and closing chapters. Both chapters reflect a third person narrator and present the begi nning and ending of a circular narrative. The first chapter details a scene of young men involved in gang activity with the characters just yet but later learn that the protagonist Dexter is one of the initiates. While the first chapter lays out the plan for gaining entrance into the gang kidnapping a white woman and it being reported in the local newspapers the final chapter realizes those plans. Dexter and his two f riends kidnap Sahara after she leaves a movie at Sovereign Plaza, the same place where she and Dexter first met. The narrative comes full circle; however, Dexter ends up not joining the gang and chooses to free Sahara instead. Overall, the form of the nove l is intricately connected to its content. Perhaps ning scene in Part One, where he narrates how he and Sahara first meet , best elucidates their contrasting life experiences. This scene immediately outlines the parameters of their relationship relationship. Sahara and her son Carl are leaving a movie theater at Sovereig n Plaza in uptown
139 Kingston, a place that mainly has patrons of midd le class backgrounds . On the other hand, Dexter is at the Sovereign Plaza , the place to beg money of the patron s, which is the means by which he helps feed his family. Dexter cannot imagine being able to frequent the movie theaters as a pastime, while Sahara not only watches a movie but also has enough money left over to give him five hundred Jamaican dollars, an amount of money that greatly su rprises Dexter . Though this amount is roughly five US dollars, Dexter, through his excited reaction, lets re aders know that this is an amount of money that he does not normally receive from one person. Thus, f rom the outset, readers see that the relationship is unequal, and as the narrative unfolds, Sahara continues in her role as a patron or benefactor to Dexter and his family. McCaulay, like a number of scholars, discusses the contrasts between the uptown and focal points of Dog Heart I wanted to write something a bout a collision between what has been famously called the Two Jamaicas, although I th ink Downtown Ladies , a text that illuminates lifestyles in downtown Kingston, anthropologist Gina A. Ulysse outlines a four tier class structure in Jamaica: the lower class, middle class, upper class , and elites. She explains that this outline is not definitive and that majority black population is largely a part of the lower class while the middle class consists of a brow n population (13). 12 Based on this outline, McCaulay aligns her characters within real life contemporary class measures, and t r class positions. Through the descriptions of key elements such as their homes, family structure and relations, and daily activ ities, particularly their (lack of) jobs or means of securing money , readers are able to discern
140 that they belong to different classes. The information about a nd descriptions of their living situations present an obvious contrast and a bleak predica ment for Dexter and his family, while Sahara and those in her life tend to fare much better. Concerning class locations , McCaulay states that the characterization of Sahara is purposefully meant to connote middle class in Jamaican society. She uses the real life Kingston, Jamaica , to express that point , as McCaulay states in I located Sahara in Mona, and Mona is, by definition, a middle class addr ess. Middle (McCaulay 4). Through chapters narrated by Sahara, readers become privy to many aspects of her life, including information about her childhood . She is of a mixed heritage, as h er father was Dexter describes her as a browning, a lighter the society, affords her benefits that many others are not granted. Several scholars not e that the browning is the ideal woman of beauty in Jamaica. 13 middle he origin of this ideal woman bred in s lavery 27). Besides being white, her father is also a pastor in her childhood community. Though he eventually abandons his family after having an affair with one of the members of his congregation, Sahara continues to have a level of privilege, as her mother raises her with the help of house workers in the Mona neighborhood. when Sahara is a child, s he is left i n the care of her paternal aunt who is racist and eventually runs off the house workers by her harsh treatment . The aunt creates a hostile environment for Sahara, as she is not accustomed to blatant acts of racism within the home. When Sahara becomes pregnant out of wedlock with Carl at age seventeen, she
141 mannerisms will influence her son . After all, Sahara is the one who inherits the house in Mona in which they are living. contemporary setting of the novel. Readers find Sa hara and her now teenage son Carl living alone in the Mona house. The dynamics between the two fluctuate between tense and distant. Sahara, at age thirty two, is a single parent and has never been married. She became impregnated skinn However, enter s the picture later , taking Carl for dinner and a movie about once a month. Sah ara is permissive in her parenting with Carl, probably because of the strict manner in wh ich she was reared by her aunt, and Carl is disrespectful to her quite often. There appears to be very few rules in the house, and he does not fear interrogating and b erating her, as he does on a few like Dexter after Carl lectures her for trying to help Dexter and his family. Sahara and Carl also seem to have shame about som e of their circumstances , particularly regarding the reality that Sahara had Carl young and has never married. W hen neither she nor Carl corrects them; thus, they conceal her single parent identity. On the other side of Dexter and his family have very different living experiences. McCaulay portrays them as being in a near helpless situation and unable to truly advance their circumstances. In other words, they are struggling just to survive and their chances of having a better standard of living or achieving upward mobility seem dismal. As a way not to offend any inner city communities in Kingston, McCaulay creates a fictitious name for the inner 14 . That name in itself is a point of analysis, as
142 a pen represents a holding place, usually for animals. A pen is also a reference to a spatial structure and social order from slavery: a pen was used on a type of estate usually for coffee as opposed to a plantati on for sugar. This name, whether done intentionally or not by the author, three children who all have different fathers, and he is responsible for providing for the bas ic needs of his family. In fact, Arleen , who is unemployed , sends him to beg for money every day after school so that they can eat. Without the money that he collects begging, the family would be left hungry many nights . A secondary character, Arleen comes across as intellectually challenged in achieve her goal of fashioning her as a complex character. 15 Still, Arleen is not a shiftless parent, as Dexter describes how sh e pu ts their needs before hers even not eating sometimes so that her children would have enough for food . Her authoritarian parenting style may confuse some readers , h owever. She is not affectionate; or rather, she is low on responsiveness , as some scholars describe it. 16 Even though Dexter brings in the money, she never thanks him and he is saddened by deggey deggey kind word. Is me bring home the money, after all sometimes fears bringing home a large amount of money, such as the five hundred Jamaican dollars that Sahara gives him when they first meet, because, as he puts it in his own words, this a the bad part now she expect it At age twelve, Dexter is the breadwinner of his family, a duty normally reserved for adults . The parent child relations are reversed, in a sense, in that he takes care of his mother. Recent scholarship on parenting in Jamaican reveals that a number of children take up adult responsibilities and that this is an area 17 younger brother Marl on often
143 does the food shopping when Dexter comes home with the money from his labors of begging in the streets. Later in the novel, McCaulay alludes to a structural explanation for this reversal of roles. gainfully employed and possesses a sense of security that with a real estate company. Es ther Figueroa expresses that Sahara is able to secure this type of employment, despite being a single mother with only early education, because of her light skin color and class. Figueroa, like many other scholars who engage the debate on the supremacy of European culture stemming from colonial history, is addressing the reality of lighter skin c olor being privileged and that c lass and color are closely related still in Jamaican society. She writes, country girl who came to town to work as a maid, got preg nant and was thrown out, but had no house in Mona to move into; her education was only primary school [as] she can barely read and real estate firm would have hi red her to do their books. She sews, she tries to make ends meet but she is defeated by her sense of helplessness and dependency, and has put the great burden of feeding the family on her twelve year old son Dexter ). Figueroa parallels Arl een and Sahara and notes the greatest distinguishing factor is their class and color, which, again, are still very much connected in contemporary Jamaica (McCaulay 6). In this context, skin en share the fact that their color influences their gender vulnerability (Sahara as brown and Arleen as black). As single mothers,
144 ts Sahara because of her color and class and she is thus aba ndoned with her son. Arleen, Although they are both single mothers, the various intersections in lives cause them to experience different life trajectories. Because of her associations with other middle class people, Sahara receives benefits that Dexter and his family do not. Sahara is n ow working as a manager of a restaurant in an uptown Kingston area, Liguanea. Though Sahara does not have funds for attending a university, her childhood friend Lydia goes away to attend the University of Florida. When Lydia decides to drop out of school t o pursue her dreams of being a chef, she returns to Kingston and renovates a building on family land and she recruits Sahara to manage. Still, belongings reveal that she is not at the top of the social hierarchy in her society. She even states that she needs the job. The description of her house , which she says is small, and the changing circumstances in the community illuminate her somewhat vulnerable position within middle class Jamaica . She says items are being stolen on a re gular basis fro m the houses in the community, and s he claims to be grateful that her car is old and tattered because it can serve as a deterrent to potential robbers. Earlier in the narrative, when Sahara drives away in her old Volkswagen from the Sovereign Plaza where she meets Dexter, Dexter comments that most people in uptown drive SUVs. Her modest car sheds further light on her place even within middle class Jamaica. Still, Carl experiences a far more comfortable l ife than Dexter, as he complains that they are having chicken again instead of steak and he possesses other material assets far greater than what Dexter could ever have. 18 Alt hough Sahara is not at the top of the
145 hierarchy, she admits that she and Carl enjo y a level of security and privilege that many others in Jamaica do not. Moreover, t living (46, 59) . They live in a one room Habitat for Humanity house built by foreigners and Mar bathroom via a bucket out back and they are stealing electricity. In recent times, the Jamaica Gleaner has reported this common illegal practice i s increasing . 19 Also, Dex ter and his family are grateful for some cheap fish and dumplings because sometimes there is nothing to eat. They do not have running water in their house, so each morning Dexter and Marlon have to go, like so many other neighborhood children, to a water s top in the neighborhood. Their human rights access to basic needs such as food, electricity and water are lacking. 20 They also do not have adequate transportation to school because of a lack of buses, so some children have to alternate who will go to school . Though Sahara is bothere d by the increase in petty thieving in her community, she does not experience the extreme situations that Dexter narrates. His community is infested with crime (from dons and state police) , and Dexter describes the many times when they have to hide under the bed to escape stray bullets. Because Dexter says their situation is similar to many others in their neighborhood, readers are awar e of the more systemic issues. a lack of availabl e jobs and high unemployment. Climbing Over Invisible Walls: Stereotypes, Prejudices, and Misunderstandings Fear of Falling that focuses on middle class America, she discusses gains made concerning ideas about race and gender , but sh e acknowledges about inner city people. One harmful resu lt of such stereotypes is that they suggest that there is
146 nothing people can do to change situations. Jamaica and it reverberates in Dog Heart Carl. In specific scenes with these characters, readers glimpse r acial and class prejudices that become invisible walls that hinder cross class alliances or potential productive relationships middle class attitudes, distinguish themselves f blatantly stereotyping them. Some scholars, like Geoffrey Philps and Mary Hanna, write that such characters represent the indifference of the middle classes; however, I do not think they are indifferent. Rather , they have established and prejudiced ideas about inner city people. As a breaking class taboos, she exposes what the privileged really think and rch , n.p ag .). The stereotypes help middle class people to ignore the humanity of working classes. So opposed are they to people from inner city areas, both Lydia and Carl strongly try to dissuade Sahara from becoming involved with Dexter and his family. F rom the opening chapter narrated by Sahara, hints of the prejudicial attitudes towards inner city people are present. When Sahara tells Lydia about her encounter with Dexter, Lydia opens up with stereotypes and harsh judgm ttempt to d eter her from going forward with her plans to assist him and his family. First, she questions Sahara about the five hundred Jamaican dollars she gives to Dexter, exclaiming , generosity and does not sympathize with Dexter . She appears to accept that Dexter and his situation are a reality in which neither she nor Sahara can when Sahara reveal s she found out where Dexter lived so that she can help him further, Lydia sternly
147 father and [Sahara the categorical, stereotypic and uncritical association of poor urban city neighborhoods, so Lydia being (overly) cautious is not surprising. 21 Caribbean feminist scholars Jessica Byron and Di ana Thorburn elaborate on this history and discuss the increase in drug trafficking over the last few years in Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, and how it leads to crime, especially in inner city areas. They explain he root causes identified ra nge from tradition, culture, substance abuse and the media to economic structures, male marginalization problem with her harsh perspectives even if there are co What should be attention catching, however, is that Lydia does not make any suggestions of any other way in which Sahara could possibly be of assistance. Instead, she removes herself from any involvement with making indiv idual decisions that can lead to societal changes because of the perceived perils. In a sense, she resigns herself to the belief that this is the way things will always be or are meant to be because this is the way things are now. To be sure, she makes a s imilar admission in a later conversation when Sahara becomes more involved with the family. After Sahara delivers a bag of groceries to the family, Lydia shows her humanity but remains opposed to helping: do? What can any of us do? Probably all that can be done is what you did take a basket of food. Maybe take dangerous in tho se places.
148 the bag of food. I mean, what can you do about children in Jamaica? Not a damn thing. (54, 56) The form of aid that Lydia suggests i s that of a quick handout, one that is guaranteed to foster dependency. She is convinced that nothing can be done to help children and families like when exten ding a helping hand. When Sahara responds with the story appearing in the epigraph protest that he will not be able to help all of them, Lydia retorts that the story is a fairytale. Hence, it has no bearing on the real life situation of which they are speaking. Yet, the story is instructive in that it encourages individuals to do whatever they can to help because it indeed does make a difference. The little boy in the story knows that although he cannot throw all of the starfish back into the water, he can save the lives of some of them. Sahara, like the little boy, is trying to help save as many lives as she can, literally and figuratively. She recognizes her privileg e in her society and is now trying to extend a helping hand. 22 On the other hand, Lydia , who also occupies a place of privilege in their society , is able to turn her head in the other direction without remorse just like the father in the story. Like Lydia, Carl stereotypes inner city people and goes further by blaming them for their own situations. McCaulay strategica lly introduces a discussion on class in a scene detailing one of the many shouting matches between the mother and son . Carl disapproves of her should see how they behave in school ol in an uptown area, it is unlikely that all 23 His
149 statement may be a description of a few inner city students attending his school and he has enlarged it to encompass a the term stereotype. Becoming more infuriated later in the conversation, Carl continues his t hey get jobs? Why do the girls get reminder of her teenage pregnancy and that he has black blood coursing through his veins, Carl are from, their class , their attitudes he is not talking abo ut their race but rather their class, the reality that those in the in ner city are black 24 In an very strongly correlated ahara also appears to be more sympathetic to Dexter because to discuss the matter any further, however, and it seems he desire s to distance himself from black people, not ju st inner city people (who tend to be black). In the end, Sahara expresses reveals these may be pervasive stereotypes that are common among those outside of the inner city. His peers , who McCaulay de scribe as being from , appear to be influencing him in greater ways than Sahara. Still, it appears Sahara also has been lax or nonchalant in instilling values of tolerance in her child.
150 Although Sahara does not voice pejorative state ments like Lydia and Carl, she is a complex character that McCaulay uses to shine a mirror on the reality that people can still possess prejudice beliefs even when this is not detected in their overt behavior. First of all, to assist Dexter and his family are admirable and certainly exhibit her courageousness. Understandably, she is hesitant to break from the apparent traditional uptown mode of ignoring inner city people. Despite objections from those closest to her who firm ly oppose helping certain people just because they are from inner city areas, Sahara chooses to continue with her undeveloped plans of assisting. Lydia and Carl attempt to increase the already existing doubt within Sahara, and she has to defend her actions to them to no avail, however. Still, Sahara also has classist beliefs (of which she may be unaware, however). The Carl. The text reads: Dirty children stared , the youngest naked from the waist down. I was afraid. Suppose I had a flat tyre? Half dressed men with muscles like rope would emerge from the shadows and demand money. Of course I would give it to them, along with the bag of food, but perhaps they would not be satisfied and would decide to have some fun with the uptowner who was stupid enough to leave her place. (46) of violent people slashing her throat and throwing her in a gully. Sahara wonders if the neighborhood people were going to rob never enters her mind that not every male in that community would want to harm her. Once she arrives at Dex [she] prejudiced mindset. Additionally, Sahara, who was reared by her paternal aunt who she despised for being racist, has offensive thoughts about black people as well. Her feelings manifest most blatantly in
151 the two women Arleen, metallic and poor, Mrs. Darby powdered and perfumed, but the black smell apparently all black people emit. Even though she notes that she herself was sweating, she does not mention anything about her own odor or if what she smelled possibly came from her body. So although the school official was higher in class than Arleen, she is still n is also one of racial difference. The way she her upbringing and from living in a place like racial backg round. In high school where she first begins to think about race, Sahara wonders talked about lighter skin color allows her privileges in her society, but the privileges do not quell her insecurity about her mixed racial identity. Despite th e classist and racist beliefs that have shaped her worldview, Sahara makes
152 pursuits. The overall s, he whole question of education is an example of the class divide in that, for the middle class person, for Sahara, education is the answ lay 7). The educational system itself is closely tied to class and it perpetuates class divisions. It is not a value neutral system, as so many Caribbean scholars have explained. 25 In their reviews of Dog Heart , both Mary Hanna and Lisa Allen Agostini also pinpoint the serious issue s concerning education for inner city children. While in attendance at the uptown schools, Dexter experiences additional prejudices specifically from school officials and other students. On the first day at school at Holborn Prep , the other students tease Dexter and Marlon calling them Big Foot and Baby Big Foot after Dexter takes off his shoes to play football with them (105). He is not socialized in middle class social habits, and he already stands out from the other students be guilty when another student, Anastasia, accuses him of talking to her about pornographic films. The principal, Mrs. Carpenter, an d Sahara ask him to apologize even after he tells them the young girl asked him about the films (143). Nevertheless, Mrs. Carpenter at least appears more know you ft has set, preconceived beliefs or expectations about students like Dexter and, unfortunately, Dexter realizes the expectations. Discussing these school incidents and alluding to the sub theme of violence in the novel, Lorna Down describes such treatment as a type of violence (109). Wanting
153 to avoid further violence in her life, Arleen, who has only a primary education, is aware of the prejudicial treatment of which school officials are capable and she appears rather intimidated in their presence, even lyi ng to them (69). McCaulay confirms that Arleen fears school officials , later down in the novel, she does encounter th simply does not desire to be involved with their education. On the contrary, a number of scholars convey that working classes in Jamaica tend to emphasize edu cation so their children can experience upward mobility . 26 cross class relationship invites critique s of the many class misunderstandings that often hinder the grow th of productive relationships. N ot every point of contention between Sah ara and Dexter i s due to prejudice beliefs ; instead, some of it is due to misunderstanding resulting from their different worldviews or ways of seeing life . Undeniably, Sahara fails to see the various factors that are at When Arleen purchases a piece of furniture, a used dresser, so they can store their clothes in it instead of the cardboard barrel, Sahara becomes upset because she thinks the money should have been used for something else like books or clothes for understand the pressures that are coming ,
154 of banking where Arleen can access additional money, is the only financial or credit system ard going run [them] if [they] go to the bank in Ligueanea [ sic 27 They are an unwanted presence in the uptown area of Liguanea, so Arleen risks her money being stolen and foregoes gaining interest on her money. various fees and maintenance requirements that go along with having a banking account may also make the formal banking system difficult for Arleen to navigate. Besides the dresser, another moment of misunderstanding between Sahara and the family is when the new toy that assumed that it was because they were ungrateful. However, Dexter reveals that it is not be cause they are careless or ungrateful but rather because they are not accustomed to having actual toys and they did not know it could break so easily (84). Yet, they never speak these words to Sahara and, so, a small misunderstanding that could have been c leared up with a quick conversation lifestyle clashes between Sahara and Dexter. Having a different paradigm, Dexter believes that education is not the key for him, as Sahara insists. 28 In the chapters narrated by Dexter, McCaulay enlightens readers that Dexter faces critical circumstances, including sometimes not having enough to eat, that simply attending school in uptown will not necessarily solve. In fact, in one of his musings about Sahara, Dexter read and count, learn how to behave, get expose to opportunity she always talkin about opportunity make uptown friend, then we will be like uptown people. I sure it not going go like
155 opportunity that will help him have a better life because it does not provide the immediate results he desires; thus, education is not esteemed by Dexter or many others in his community. 29 people who are successful in his community in the sense that they have greater material comforts are not, n ecessarily, exists between Sahara and Dexter concerning his needs and the avenue to have them met. Tea ch Dem How to Act, Dem Nuh Know Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding in the relationship between Sahara and Dexter concerns comprehending that the simply a matter of behavioral impediments but involves structural constraints as well. When examining inequalities in societies, scholars en gage in the debate of whether inequalities are due known Race Matters , argues that a balance in this debate is necessary because the two cannot be separated. He explains though in no way dictated or determined by the larger circumstances in reality in a literary format, McCaulay is genius in displaying the complexities of her char acters, particularly Dexter, and their situation s . Ralph Thompson praises McCaulay for her realist ic portrayals of the characters and asserts that on which to hang a so ciological investigation . 30 Sahara family situation and acts as if it is only behavioral factors t hat contribute to their predicaments . to see the comple xity.
156 First and foremost , Sahara especially why she is not providing more for Dexter and his siblings . In conversation, McCaulay her to really irritate Sahara, because I wante d Sahara to fail to understand McCaulay 9 ). Sahara finds it rather difficult to sympathize with Arleen, although she too is a single parent wanting the best for her children. 31 Perhaps because their situations are so differ ent, Sahara does not recognize the similarities between them. observations o f Arleen appears: Arleen was uncomfortable beside me in the car, dressed in her graduation frock ter nourished. She really was an ugly woman, her splayed teeth visible between her lips, her hair badly creamed and styled. She smelled slightly too. It was hard to be sorry for her. I did feel sorry for the boys they had no advantages. But Arleen no. Why had she had not one, but three children, all for men who were worthless? (186) In this excerpt, Sahara notes that the children had no advantages, but she does not take into account that Arleen, too, lacks advantages and has come from a background of hardship. influenced her current situation. Though s eemingly incomprehensible to Sahara , Arleen may have had valid reasons concerning her situation. S ome scholars also reveal that young girls become pregnant sometimes as a way to escape their family of origin. The fathers of their children are sometimes vie wed as a means to enact a financial transaction, a way to secure money. Unfortunately, this motivation does not always turn out well , as many scholars reveal that there is often little financial support for the children. 32 Aside from the differences concern ing children, Sahara further distances herself from Arleen in terms of physical appearance. What appears to be a lack of grooming, including the unkempt hair, ill -
157 fitting clothes, and le to afford to spend more on her outer appearance. Sahara fails to truly see Arleen and her observations seem to indicate that she believes Arleen simply needs to change her actions. r issue, Sahara begins to issue Arleen directives, which is an action that ultimately becomes another barrier to a productive cross class union. First s he tells Arleen not to allow Dexter to beg in the Sovereign Plaza anymore. Although Sahara brings some groceries, she does not understand that the family still needs money for additional things. As a result, Dexter continues to beg, just not at the same location since she caught him there once and drove him home (163). Also, when Sahara first visits the fam ily, she recognizes that the baby Lissa is the most nourished, which is because she is breastfed. However, Sahara tells Arleen she must stop breastfeeding (84). Arleen may have nod her head, but she still beat we 118). The family begins to conceal information from Sahara and just , which impedes genuine communication (118) . Early on, too, Sahara tells Arleen to stop smoking. Though this is constructive information, considering that smoking can cause health issues and it takes up money, Arleen is a n adult who should be able to determine what is or is not healthy for her and her family. In other words, the problem is that Sahara is not providing solicited advice. Since she is now helping the family, she feels entitled to control parts of their lives. In essence, she becomes a benefactor with somewhat tyrant ways, causing their already unbalanced relationship to become more strained. In Class Matters , Betsy Leondar Wright explains that a common obstacle in cross class relationships is unequal control o ver resources; both parties need
158 to perform a delicate balancing act so that no one is disrespected or mistreated (100). At times, respect us, but she want to McC ma ke Arleen appear intellectually challenged , which some readers may find offensive in that the inner city mother is characterized in such a way. 33 To clarify, McCaulay co nveys in an interview that was not the intent: ( McCaulay 9). Certainly, Sahara does not think Arleen is a good m other, since Sahara cannot imagine being in such dire straits. No one in her world has circumstances like those who live in As a matter of fact, Sahara appears rather oblivious to the structural constraints that circumstances. Globalization and Human Rights Violations In Dog Heart , McCaulay strategically includes the term globalization to alert readers of its impacts within the lives of her charact ers. When Sahara details her duties as the restaurant globalization meant it was now easier to buy see the way globalization is impacting her particular market choices, Sahara fails to see other ways in which globalization and accompanying (or worsening) structural constraints have af fected package of transnational flows of people, production, investments, information, ideas and 34 phase of globalization has generated a substantial amount of scholarship concerning the benefits
159 and losses associated with its transnational interactions. One great concern is that the conditions of globalization have led to an increase in human rights violations throughout the world. 35 In her introduction to Resisting Racism and Xenophobia morally and legally justifiable claims to dignity, liberty, personal security and basic well bei ng specifically on Jamaica, Harrison conveys that there are serious conce rns about the human rights of some citizens being in jeopardy; in fact, she states, according to re ports from international human rights organizations (e.g., Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch) y day Neolibe 7). Seemingly in agreement with such rights, particularly social and economic rights, which scholars describe as having increased inequality under globali zation . 36 McCaulay is showing the human rights crisis in everyday domestic terms as opposed to the internationally recognized violations of human rights, for instance, regarding Jamaican police killing innocent civilians. s Even Dexter and his s of Arleen) , readers can surmise that Arleen actually is not a shiftless parent. In a compassionate description of his mother, Dexter recounts the type of work she does to help him and his siblings:
160 to look after the three a realm, Arleen appears to gain some mo ney from her sewing. Barriteau discusses the history in Jamai ca of working class women doing seamstress and domestic work and having low payin g jobs (196). 37 For Arleen and those in her community, the real problem is that there is a lack of jobs available a nd they have no other options due to a lack of structural support. Women are often undercut in the job market and working class men do not always fare much better. McCaulay demonstrates this when Dexter contemplates the type of employment he may be able to secure when he becomes older. His list of options is rather limited (119). Unfortunately, the result of their inadequate employment and other circumstances is that they do not have all of their basic necessities met or those outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. 38 This brings to the forefront the role of the government in helping citizens. 39 Governments are supposed to ensure the productivity of their nations and the citizens of their nations. In a scene narrated b Manley, him give land to poor people for growin food. Old people say everybody love that. But instead piece a dirt leave that could grow a patch a callaloo. People not supposed to sell the land and now the government say everybody who live in the land leases part a (96). 40 Though the Jamaican government, as represented here, is not perfect (as no government is), many scholars reveal that the Jamaican government, like many other Caribbean governments,
161 is quite limited in what it can do to ass ist its citizens because of the regulations of international ridden countries have had few, if any, viable alternatives to the development policies that the Internati o nal Monetary Resisting Racism 14). Barriteau adds that and our peoples and most of our leaders truly desire to be sovereign, the Caribbean has not escaped new versio ns of enduring colonial legacies, some of which have been wilfully maintained by newly minted independent gove rnments (11). In the novel, McCaulay alludes to deeper systemic issues. Various scholars attempt to address issues concerning the structural issu es of not just Jamaica but various nations that make up the global South. Many search for answers to a big question, which is: Why are there no jobs or other means available? In searching for answers, many scholars point to the conditions under globalizati on, including neoliberal policies that seem to do more harm than good. Many of the international institutions that are supposedly helping countries like Jamaica such as the IMF World Bank, and W orld T rade O rganization promote neolib eral policies and have been doing so since the 1980s (Scholte 324) . 41 responsible for the slashing of social provisioning and for eliminating the public sector jobs that poor people once had access to th rough political patronage. The denationalization and privatization thrust so central t o current policies of economic restructuring eliminated that category of work, leaving m any even more dependent on the informa l and often the illegal economy (7). 42 In support of such a view, Jan Aart Scholte writes in his study on globalization: provided education, housing, nutrition, health care, pens ions and unemployment insurance. In sum,
162 (324). As a result, in this period of contemporary globalization, Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, face crises ranging from severe unemployment and poverty to inadequate healthcare . Thus, Dog Heart is engaging these debates that scholars of human rights and globalization explore in her portrayals of clas s inequalities. Concerning the existing inequalities , Scholte boldly declares 43 Yet, Harrison, perhaps, makes one of the most chilling statements concer ning the conditions in s imposition of a structural adjustment policy climate, and export driven pattern of economic development have produced conditions of economic austerity that have resulted in a quality of life that may be worse than what enslaved people Scholars are noting the seriousness of the current state of affairs in nations such as Jamaica. Often, proponents of neolib eral policies emphasize the benefits without giving adequate attention G en s have been balanced against the negative impacts in the various dimensions of the globalization being is generally found to have deteriorated and gender inequality to have increased as a consequence of globalization, thereby intensifying the marginalization of women an 44 Such an assessment clarifies Having little to no other means because of the limited ability of the Jamaican government to assist, Dexter, l ike many other s in his community, turns to illegal activities to participate in an
163 the material conditions that incline some but not all poor men and women to engag e in illegalities as a strategy of subsistence Quite simply, they are trying to secure money to eat and to live. Some believe this is their only option since they have no other means of obtaining money due to a lack of available jobs. Also, the jobs that may be available, they do not qualify for because the jobs may require some level of skill or education that they lack. Again, the schools in their communities do not prepare them as well as schools in the uptown communi ay to get money, and many use begging as a eg 45 However, Dexter also feels he is getting too old to beg, recog nizing that people are less sympathetic the older one becomes. This reality coupled with the constant humiliation in school cause Dexter to turn to his male friends who are engaged in illegal and gang activities. These males also become a picture or model of manhood for Dexter. He acknowledges that his the daytime and the night 46 It seems Dexter equates manhood, money, and power with criminal activity. The influence of the don system in his community affects males tremendously, as y oung men in his community are recruited and enticed by those in this system. To the detriment of many, Dexter becomes caught up with these types of people . Who has money in an inner sand mining s McCaulay to present a scene of another type of illegal activity sand mining (196). From this point where Dexter becomes involved in illegal activity, his life begins to go down a dark road, as they eventually
164 are caught by police and put in prison. Anoth er major casualty, unfortunately, is Marlon, in search of Dexter. Even before his involvement with the gang, Dexter does not expect to live very long because of w hat he has witnessed concerning people like him in his community. In a way, it is a self fulfilling prophecy. Like a number of sociologists such as Annette Lareau who examine class and childhood influences, theorist Pierre Bourdieu notes the association be tween how they view their society or the world around them. oeuvre , he discusses such ideas in his articulation of habitus. 47 set of deeply internalized master habitus was created to reflect on the (Swartz 103) results from th specific experiences of socializa tion in family and peer groups individuals, during their early socialization, unconsciously accumulate knowledge or acquire expect (Swartz 103) for them and they act accordingly, adapting to the limited opportunities. 48 In Dog Heart , McCaulay presents literary portrayals of habitus, specifically cla ss habitus. Her meticulous descriptions of Dexter a s well as his beliefs and practices illuminate his class habitus. From what he sees in his environment and the society around him, he believes he will not have a long or prosperous life. He recognizes the near impossibility that he will ascend in class. At times in the narrative, he imagines having another life. For instance, he imagines being a girl living in uptown (137) and he
165 Carl the person. It was the idea of his life. The list of things Carl was and had was long and Dex would never be or have those 49 McCaulay, in h er portrayal of Dexter, presents a bleak picture for inner city communities and an unending cycle of intergenerational poverty . Conclusion Ultimately, McCaulay uses a cross class relationship trope in Dog Heart to show the stark contrasts in the class posi tions of those in her fictive representation of uptown and downtown Kingston and she highlights the prejudices that are barriers to productive relationships between the communities. Sahara and readers see that i t is not easy to answer a central question th e nove personal responsibility to help those less fortunate, e s pecially c McCaulay is personalizing class issues or bringing class issues down to the individual level. Yet, McCaulay alludes to the many structural issues in her fictive Jamaican society. Because Jamaica, like many Caribbean nations, has been mired in debt, some people believe that the s tructural system will never improve or benefit the less fortunate. McCaulay turns her head away from such negative talkers and a s ks, , as individual, do on a personal level in the meantime walks out a scenario and colors it with many f laws, bumps , and bruises. Still, readers are enlightened or be come more class conscious and can walk away with a discussion of the pitfalls of the relationship between Sahara and Dexter . In an assessment of contemporary Caribbean societies, Caribbean feminist scholar Rawwida Baksh Sooden is straightforward in her submission that n the post Independence period, the key issues have been structured race and class inequalities, their alleviation by state intervention, and the continuing existence of colonial
166 economic and political forces which perpetuate these socia In Dog Heart, McCaulay participates in the discussions taking place concerning contemporary Jamaica. Notes 1 McCaulay has two published novels, Dog Heart (2010) and Huracan (2012), and a third, The Dolphin Catcher , on the way. 2 Uptown refers to the (upper) middle classes in Kingston, Jamaica , and downtown refers to the poor and working classes. The lived experiences are so different that it is as if these spaces are two different places, hence two Jamaicas. See Gina A. Ulysse. 3 Dog Heart won a Gold Medal in the 2008 National Creative Writing Awards category from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. Additionally, McCaulay uses the term inner city to describe those in working classes, so I use that term in this chapter. 4 Additionally, McCaulay states that she strategically focuses on th e subject of class within the novel because people like to say there is no prejudice in contemporary Jamaica, referring to race prejudice. However, she wants to convey that there is prejudice in the society, particularly class prejudice. She also notes tha t race and class are strongly correlated (McCaulay 3). 5 Both Caribbean feminist studies and human rights studies are inter and multidisciplinary. The scholars whose work I use to help in my explanation of the novel come from various fields, including ant hropology, sociology, political science, and international studies. 6 Colorism is the preference for and benefits associated with lighter skin tone /color. 7 Accompanying this analysis is Patricia Hill Collins and Leith Mullings who also examine the relatio nships and livelihoods of single black mothers, though primarily from an African American context. 8 Though the cross class relationship between Dexter and Sahara is the most prominent in the novel, the relationship s family presents additional cross class relationships. 9 Some people still refer to the Jamaican language as Jamaican Creole or Jamaican Patois, but Jamaican linguists have argued that Jamaican is an official language. For more on the Jamaican language, see works by Mervyn Alleyne (Roots of Jamaican Culture), Frederic Cassidy, and Carolyn Cooper ( Noises in the Blood). Also, McCaulay states her reasons for using first person viewpoint for both characters was because I wanted if you were a middle class person reading the book, I wanted you t o understand how the boy felt. And if you were a boy 3). 10 McCaulay also acknowledges that some people have critiq ued her use of Jamaican in the novel, noting that she would understand that this is how a Jamaican boy would speak, without making it too difficult to read. I think the 11 lso, she notes that some critics have said she did not use the Jamaican language correctly, while others thought she used it well ( McCaulay, Original Interview 13). 12 S ee the introduction chapter of this dissertation for further delineations of class among Caribbean societies. Other scholars have outlined class es within Caribbean societies. skinned person who may or may not be African Caribbean. Also, Ulysse has a brief discussion about the correlations between clas s and color in Caribbean societies (11 12). In her discussion, she mentions scholarship by Stuart Hall (1977),
167 le class population and expounds upon her delineation of the Jamaican social hierarchy. 13 Belinda Edmondson discusses the browning as being ideal (7). 14 McCaulay ex I did not want to use an actual, inner city commu nity because I did not want to stigmatise that community. I wanted to be free to say whatever I wanted to say about it, without thinking about the real people who live there or people names for the inner 15 In one scene, Arleen does not even know how to take the bus to go back home after attending a meeting at ls come across as rather troubling. 16 See Cheryl Bluestone and Catherine S. Tamis LeMonda Correlates of Parenting Styles in Predominantly Wo rking and Middle Class African American Mothers among Parenting Practices, Parenting S tyles, and 17 See Janet Brown and Sharon Johnson 18 for an ipod. 19 In the Jamaica Gleaner among 444 persons arrested 20 David Shipler, in the Working Poor: Invisible in America , explain s malnutrition can cause serious developmental issues in children. 21 The don system in Kingston inner city communities has made worl d news headlines. For instance, Christopher Agostini mentions , violation, and wilful n eglect (n.p.). It appears that she is referring to the colonial history in Jamaica. Also, Gina Ulysse mentions violence in downtown Kingston ( 74 ) . For more information on drug politics in Jamaica, see Faye Harrison Jama ica and the International Drug E c onomy. 22 Some may wonder why Sahara is now trying to help people. Her son Carl is getting older and will soon leave home; she seems to be scrutinizing her priorities. 23 complaining to school Jamaica, some inner city students have received scholarships to attend schools in uptown communities. See works b y scholars like Khitanya Petgrave and Carl Campbell for a discussion on education and schools in Caribbean societies . 24 Scholars like Kimberle Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins express the importance in considering the multiple relations of oppression suc h as race, gender and class that black women encounter. Additionally, Carl struggles with his identity or the reality that his mother is half black. At one point, Carl wants to change his last name to his uggles. 25 See Chapter 2 of this dissertation. 26 See Olive Senior, Working Miracles . Also, towards the end of the narrative when Arleen and Sahara are going to walks behind
168 27 The partner system is common in Jamaica. It is an arrangement between a group of people who contribute a specific amount of money o n a regular basis into the pool and each member receives the entire pool of money at specific times, such as once a month. 28 Dexter and his family have a different perspective than Sahara because it is their lived experience and standpoint epistemology sug 77). 29 Dexter also receives prejudice from his own neighbors when he begins to receive benefits fr om his association with Sahara ( 95 ) . The inner city people turn away from them when they begin to exhibit potential for moving up. Ralph Thompson says they appear to be antagonistic towards any form of achievement. Ironically, some of them bombard Dex 84 ) . Figueroa also notes, t he m ore attention they get from Sahara, the 6) . 30 ncient . such a description. 31 Many families are female headed in Jamaica, so McCaulay does not stereotype the inner city people as being abnorm al concerning that family structure. That Arleen has three different fathers for her children, however, is a point of difference. Rawwida Baksh female essica Byron and Diana Thorburn note that nearly half of the homes are female headed in some Carib bean societies ( 217 ) . 32 they provide school fees, money for bus fa 33 Perhaps Arleen comes across in this way because she is a secondary character without much of a voice. McCaulay explain ed to me personally that she had the two mothers and the two sons in the novel as first person narrators, but she had to delete two at the request of a potential publisher of the book. 34 ates, markets, communications, and ideas commonly define globalization as internationalization, liberalization, universalization, and westernizati on, whic h all have limitations. See Globalization: A Critical Introduction , 54. 35 Harrison notes, under the conditions of globalization, especially the neoliberal fo Resisting Racism 11). In discussing the eff ects of globalization, Brysk assert 36 To support, rights, but increases inequality and threatens the social rights of citizens (Crosse according to Brysk in the introduction to Globalization and Human Rights . Also, I turn my attention to the International Covenant of Social and Economic Rights within the International Bill of Human Rights because it ghlights in her novel. T here are other publications that address some of the issues present in this dissertation chapter. For example, Faye Harrison, i n Outsider Within: Reworking Anthropology in the Global Age (2008), discusses displac ed workers and inhabitants in downtown Kingston as well as structural adjustment, the IMF, and gendered violence as they affect everyday life downtown. Also , the work of political scientist Obika Gray, especially his Demeaned but Empowered: The Social Power of the Urban Poor in Jamaica ( 2004) , Deborah Thomas, particular ly her Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (2011), and Verene Shepherd, such as I Want to Disturb My Neighbour: Lectures on Slavery, Emancipation, and Postcolonial Jamaica (2 007), are great sources that further illuminate conditions explored in this dissertation chapter. Shepherd is a member of the Working Group of Exper ts on People of African Descent which is a group under t he United Nations Human Rights Council .
169 37 Jessica Byr on and Diana Thorburn also discuss low paid, low status jobs that women have as well as jobs of educated professional women ( 217 ). 38 with labor, health, education, and adequate standard of living. 39 Figueroa critiques Caribbean government for constantly having a new vision but never achieving it. In her called post colonial Cari bbean, are also always seeking New Beginnings, seeking to be born again, constantly revisioning: Vision 2010, 2020, 2030 , and looking to the future for when we will have finally arrived at that promised sparkling Ne w World. But we never arrive, and it caus es us a desperate shame and puzzlemen t, and we fight over why aren't we there yet? The answer is history is in the room, hist ory so inescapable, so ordinary like breathing. The legacies of genocide, brutality, inequal ity and injustice, are lived as trauma in the lives of real people, and passed on from generation to generation. Until there are real structural, material, cultural and psychologic al conditions in place that can actually address and redress these legacies, we will continue to have impossible fu (8 9). Documentaries like Life and Debt and Jamaica for Sale highlight the difficult predicaments she highlights . 40 Michaeline A. Crichlow discusses Project Land Lease in the fourth chapter of her book Negotiating Caribbean Freedom: Peasants and the State in Development . 41 Harrison provides definitions and explanations of neoliberalism on page 13 of her introduction to Resisting Racism and Xenophobia . 42 Maria Thorin also says the IMF, WTO, and WB ig nore pre existing inequalities ( 14 ) . Also, Scholt e f urther explains that globalization has caused changes in already existing inequalities in nations around the world (322 23). 43 Scholte explains that deterioration in public health, public housing, transportation has affected lower classes significantly (32 3). 44 Also, Byron and Thorburn mention that women are sometimes exploited for world economy and capitalism (222). 45 and income generation, the m eans of informal economic sustenance become imperative. The informal or underground economy -which in Jamaica and many Third World contexts is so visible that it could be considered the ground 46 Also, Figu 47 For example, see Reproduction: In Education , Society and Culture , Outline of a Theory of Practice ( chapters 2 and 4 ) and The Logic of Practice , 1990, page 53. 48 Bourdieu explains how this leads to a reproduction o objective structures tend to produce structured subjective dispositions that produce structured actions which, in turn, tend to reproduce objective rather than alter fundamentally the primary 49 ying, I would like a life of comfort, where I am fed, clothed, housed, treated with love and affection and not beaten, and where I am not damned before I
170 CHAPTER 5 ROMANTIC FLIRTATIONS: INTIMATE L IAISONS ACROSS ( CLASS ) BORDERS IN T TAR BABY TIDE RUNNING If an empire is a kind of object, usually a political entity, then imperialism is a process or in some understandings, an attitude, an ideology, even a philosophy of life . -Stephen Howe Empire Since the beginning of recorded history and far more so since the beginning of European imperialism, travel and cross ethnic intimate encounters have been intimately tied to global economic impulses. Sexual characteristics and practices were crucial to col onial cons truction of the native as Other. -Paula E. Morgan Meet Me in the Islands Of all the cross class relationships, cross class romances are the most prevalent in American popular culture. 1 C ross class romantic liaisons are hot topics and feature prominently in sources ranging f rom newspaper columns and magazi ne issues to websites and blogs . A great deal of academic scholarship on cross class relationships focuses on films and literature that feature love interests fro m different class backgrounds. In their research, s cholars such as Stephen Sharot and Timothy Shary explain that especially during periods of economic turmoil, such as the Great Depression and the 1980 s Ronald Reagan era, there te nded to be an increase in movies that feature d cross class romances. 2 Even when there is no economic crisis, films theme of cross class romance, most with vir tuous heroines, have been made throughout almost class romance, and African American and Caribbean writers demonstrate a history of portraying such relations hips. 3 Tar Baby Tide Running (2001) are examples of novels that center on intimate cross class liaisons. The African American writer Morrison and the Caribbean writer Kempadoo are two writers whom critics h ave often cited for
171 their interest in and portrayals of intimacy laced plots, including relations between the sexes, in their works. In fact, Morrison and Kempadoo are known for representing unusual and disturbing forms of sexuality and sexual relations an d this has been critical to their examination or exposure All Decent Animals (2013) follows the lives of a couple, Ata and Pierre, during their Carnival preparations in Trinidad, while her de but novel Buxton Spice (1998) showcases a budding young girl and her growing sexual awakening in the midst of a politically tense Guyana town. Similarly, Morrison explores the complexities of love and relationships in her novels such as Love (2003) that fe atures an Jazz (1992) that sketches a love triangle amidst a Harlem backdrop where the sole man shoots the teenage lover. Morrison, too, in her non fiction Playing in the Dark , critiques the romance genre and highlights the role of race in American romance novels. 4 However, this chapter foregrounds Tar Baby and Tide Running because both have garnered critical attention for the writers and they are exemplary in their depictions and connect ions of the featured cross class romantic liaisons and the working class portrayals in the novels. 5 Succinctly, this chapter answers the question: what are the authors saying about working classes through the use of romantic cross class relationships in t hese two novels? I argue that both authors use the cross class relationship trope to address the shared history and experiences of blacks throughout the African diaspora who often are a part of working classes. More specifically, Morrison and Kempadoo shed light on the working class conditions of the local Caribbean and African American populations explored in their novels through the central cross class relationships. Both show working class people in Caribbean nations (whether real or imagined) as margina lized in terms of living standards. The novels also underscore the residuals
172 of slavery and colonial processes (contemporary imperialism) or neocolonial conditions, which are less examined in the scholarship on these novels. Indeed, the authors unveil the continued exploitation of the Caribbean and (segments of) the US black population beyond the enslaved past, revealing that even though legal slavery and colonialism are over, the livelihoods of black populations still reflect that history. Moreover, the cr oss class relationships in both novels are embattled or unstable and they ultimately fail at the end of the novels. Perhaps these rocky romantic relationships are emblematic of both unresolved tensions concerning the foreign relations between the US and Ca ribbean nations and the insecure or precarious standard of living among some people of the African diaspora. In short, this chapter contends that the cross class Tar Baby Tide Running unsettle and thereby expose the so cial hierarchy in ways that shed important light on class relations, revealing the extent to which contemporary society is reproducing the asymmetry and disempowerment of traditional colonialism and maintaining the legacy of slavery (and also the extent to which black subjects, even working class ones, are implicated in this contemporary form of neo colonialism or neo imperialism). 6 The Romantic Cross Class Relationships Tar Baby details the romantic liaison between two African American character mary setting of the novel is the fictive Isle des Chevaliers in the late 1970s where white U . S . citizens , Valerian Street and his wife Margaret , Croix. Jadine is the middle class, Sorbonne African American butler Sydney and maid Ondine who travel with the Streets to th e island. 7 festive preparations when Margaret finds him hiding in her closet. Son, a stranger who has
173 escaped to the island to avoid capture in the U . S . , is or iginally from the small, working class, and all black town of Eloe, Florida where he accidentally murdered his wife for infidelity. Except for After Valerian, to t Jadine become attracted to one another and eventually begin to kindle a romantic relationship. uction of the social hierarchy among the characters, particularly because it is essentially a recreation of a great house on a slave plantation; it shows the continuity between colonialism/slavery and the contemporary U . S . role in the Caribbean. In a sense , Valerian and Margaret are in positions equivalent to slave masters while Sydney and Ondine are analogous to house slaves and the local residents who work for the Streets (Gideon, Marie Therese and Alma Estee) are in the position of field slaves. Jadine a nd Son, who form the cross class romance, are the two characters who upset the hierarchy of the house, as they are not a part of the house in the same way as the other onship as well as their separation from all the other characters associated with the Street household. I n the scholarship on Tar Baby , there is less examination on how the differences apparent arious working class populations within the novel, including the Caribbean working class in Isle des Chevaliers, the African Sydney and Ondine. 8 Although the relationship between Son and Jadine , as well as depictions of class in the narrative , have been fruitful topics for scholars, this chapter adds to the scholarship by offering an investigation of the romantic relationship and its connections to all the various working c lass populations within Tar Baby . 9 Patricia Magness mentions the class structure in the
174 novel, but it takes a backseat to her overall argument which underscores parallels between Tar Baby and Lancelot ( Le Chevalier de la Charrette) revealing that Morrison Mbalia suggest that Jadine, imitating the Streets, has middle class values and that she esteems their culture more than her own African American culture. On the other hand, Son, reared in the person and he has a Black Nationalist perspective (Jablon 73). 10 In the end, the romance dwindles leading b oth partners to go their separate ways and scholars like Marilyn Mobley and Paul Mahaffey claim it is because they have opposing worldviews that lead them to stereotype and attempt to rescue one another. Tide Running , set in present day Tobago, exposes connections between a cross class romantic partnership and the working class experiences of one of the partners and his community. Unlike Tar Baby triangle or mÃ©nage trois, and it is between C liff Dunstan, a twenty year old, working class Tobagonian and a married couple, Peter and Bella, who are long term middle class visitors to Tobago. Like in other Caribbean novels, the interplay of class and skin tone/color is present in the novel, as Bella is mixed race from Trinidad and Peter is a white Englishman. 11 When Cliff local Tobagonians like him and his interest is piqued. Eventually, the couple becomes mutually interested and invites Cliff and his brother to their house. Just like in Tar Baby , the house in because of its breathtaking appearance, it is the place him to fantasize to a dangerous degree
175 relationship between Cliff and the couple escalates to a sexual one, Cliff transforms for the worse and the novel closes with him in jail awaiting his court date for stealing from the couple. Extending the criticism on the novel, this chapter explores why Cliff engages in a romantic liaison with the couple by concentrating on the situations of the local Tobagonian population, whi ch is largely working class i n relation to the Trinidadians in the novel who are represented as wealthy tourists (or tourist like residents) and business owners. 12 The Trinidadians occupy the position of the Streets or white owners in the neo plantation hie rarchy of Tar Baby . Because of the sexual nature of the relationship, many critics view the relationship as being representative of the sex tourist industry. Paula E. Morgan and Jennifer Rahim, for instance, believe the couple enticed Cliff and that he bec that it is hard to determine who is the seducer. While the relationship evolves into a sexual one, the text offers little concrete evidence suggesting t hat sex was the initial intention or goal of any of the three. Still, all parties were intrigued by the other, and this chapter investigates that intrigue particularly from the perspective of Cliff. Inundated with and ultimately bamboozled by the allure of US media, Cliff makes decisions that are not based in reality. In an interview on the novel, Kempadoo states that she has is] interested in the influence of the U . S . media and entertainment industries on behavior and n.pag. ). In this chapter, the analysis of Tide Running does not only portray a local crisis concerning external media influences on a working class population but also how the author employs a cross class romantic liaison laden with imperialist undertones to illustrate how the influences play out.
176 In a sense , Morrison and Kempadoo join scholars like Amy Kaplan who expose and interrogate the long history of U . S . imperialist practices and their continuities in the contemporary period. Quite succinctly, both Tar Baby and Tide Running showcase various forms of U . S . imperialism instead of continuing the exclusion of the U . S . from imperialist discourses. 13 What is essential to note in this discussion is that U . S . imperialism, though informal in some places, exhibits continuities of p ast forms of formal imperialism. A s Stephen Howe clarifies , it although it now operates mostly not through direct colonial rule, so much as through local client regimes, and through less formalized, less obvious economic, diplomatic, 14 Caribbean feminist scholar Rawwida Baksh Soodeen insists that U . S . imperialism over the Caribbean has taken the place of European colonialism (78). She is not alone, as Caribbean scholar Rahim, unabashedly descr ibes the relationship between the U . S . and other nations as akin 15 Furthermore, American novels have long participated in a culture of U . S . imperialism throughout history. In particular, American romance novels have contribut ed to the many portrayals of American imperialist exploits. In Agent of Empire , Brady Harrison 16 In like manner, Kaplan discusses the presence of imperialist adventures within American novels. She adds that despite the history of U . S . imperialism, even portrayals within fiction, the association of the U . S . with imperialism is often not discussed to great lengths. 17 Through the explorations of the cross class romances and their connections to working classes, Morrison and Kempadoo both convey that imperialism, whether formal or informal, adversely affects the class positions of their Caribbean and Afri can American characters. 18
177 Romancing the Working Classes in Tar Baby Through the cross class romance between Jadine and Son, readers gain insight into the lives of three groups of characters representing working class life in Tar Baby . Valerian Street, the retired U . S . only character with out a working class background so much of the novel focuses on working classes. Although neither Jadine nor Son is a part of the community on the Isle or the nearby Dominique, their romance is no secret to those of the local population, specifically Gideon, Marie Therese and Alma Estee who all live in Dominique and provide manual labor at the 19 While Jadine essentiall y ignores them, Son interacts with them, allowing readers a glimpse into their working class experiences on the island. Even before they officially meet Son, he is the topic of conversation between Therese and Gideon when readers first begin to learn more saw a figure sneaking around the property. Wanting to help a stranger that they had never met ce of blind people old boyfriend. 20 Shortly after, they get to ask Son about himself. local population when Valerian asks Gideon to take Son for a haircut. Son and the local community appear t o be fond of each other visits their house. Even before Son goes out with them, he appea rs to sense a connection with or
178 lly meets Gideon and Therese, Son is comfortable from far gue unites them. Once inside the house shared between Gideon, Therese, and Alm a Estee, the two parties begin their inquiries and their meager standard of living is obvious. Unsurprisingly, the house is slept and the tiny bedroom where [Gide about his days living in the U . S . and working at a hospital after marrying an African American nurse that helped him gain U . S . why he r his senior, enticed him to return to Dominique after years abroad, as she claimed that she needed ed that he returned from the U . S . with no more than what he had left, and he was amazed to find that there was no family property. After working several odd jobs around the island, the job from the Streets is his saving l of his forty years of immigrant labor paid off when an American who owned a house on Isle des Chevaliers came to stay and needed a regular area, claiming that he could find work there. However, Son discerns the lack of job
179 S imilarly, since Therese is no longer able to nurse babies due to the invention of baby formula, she washes laundry for the Street household. She does so begrudgingly, as she especially does hair several questions formed from stereotypes and m isinformation, such as inquiries about American 21 Unlike Therese, however, she seems to be fascinated with the U . S. Alma Estee idealizes American culture and asks Son to bring her a wig from the U . S . , a picture of which she carries in her pocket. 22 As many scholars note, Tar Baby colonial past of America (and Fr 1 48); however, the current living conditions of Gideon, Therese, and Alma Estee also initiate a discussion on contemporary imperi alism because their conditions so closely resemble the past. 23 Scholars tend to focus on how Morrison is revisiting the colonial past, but it is clear that she not only revisits the past but also narrates the present (neocolonial) conditions. They are still impoverished and powerless to a great extent in that they are dependent upon j obs offered by Valerian Street, who many scholars describe as a modern day colonizer. For instance, Margot Gayle Backus suggests Valerian represents a capitalist patriarch while the others are his workers (425). Many scholars do not go into major detail ab
180 star nursing services were no longer needed. 24 Even Son other means to sustain themselves, such as the local vegetables and seafood. 25 Howe, in his discussion on dependency closely associated with economic underdevelopment to d escribe these Son and this knowledge , along with the revelation that Valerian recently fired them , causes Son Becoming more intimate, Jadine and Son begin to access another level in their relationship after a picnic date, but Christmas dinner, destroyed by a conversation about none other than the working class residents, foretells of future trouble between them. Undoubtedly, a turning point in the novel is th is scene where a discussion about the firing of Gideon and Marie Therese sparks an explosive argument. Concerned about Gideon, Son voices that he wishes Gideon could share in the Christmas meal. At first, the y do not know to whom Son is referring performs for the Street household. They do not respect the local people, not even enough to learn their names. T his is an example of how the African American character s assimilate a slave owner/colonizer perspective towards working class Afro Caribbean people. Like the other residents in the mansion, Jadine calls both Therese and Alma Estee by the name Mary, not even realizing that M ary is not the name of either woman (201, 290). Only when Son enters the narrative do readers learn their real names and more about their lives; he does not treat them like objects, unlike the others. Once Valerian announces that he has fired them for stea ling apples,
181 starve so your wife could play American mama an barely make livable wages, so firing them can only make things worse. In her recent book on Toni Morrison, Valerie Smith asserts that the Streets exploit the labor of the locals (53). Their exploitation is not a se cret to Son, as a lengthy passage about past and contemporary imperialism precedes his outburst: ad and sold it to other children and made a fortune in order to move near, but not in the midst of, the jungle where the sugar came from and build a palace with more of their labor and then hire them to do more of the work he was not capable of and pay them again according to some scale of value that would outrage Satan himself and when those people wanted a little of what he wanted, some apples for their Christmas, and t ook some, he dismissed them with a flutter of the fingers, because they were thieves, and nobody knew thieves and thievery better than he did and he probably thought he was a law (emphasis in original 203 ) This passage offers a flashback to days of formal slavery and colonialism and it highlights the presen ce of contemporary imperialism. The similarities between the past and the present are unmistakable. During both, the labor of the natives is what sustains the whims of the more powerful. The beginning lines of this passage reiterate how the products and the labor associated who are only concerned about the ir ultimate profit. Remember, here, too that it was Haitian 215). However, the last phrase powers or those who have profited from the colonial enterprise to admit the oppressive actions. 26
182 s and actions mirror the colonial enterprise of nation building that has resulted in the domination of people who are racially marked as colored all o Son is incensed further when Jadine defends Valerian, which foreshadows the irreconc worldviews. Mbalia asserts that Jadine and Son struggle to resolve their opposing class interests (70). Gideon would not be surprised, however, since earlier he tried to offer Son advice about association with all things black. 27 Scholars like Backus suggest that Jadine plays t assimilated person of color in Euro 28 from school and her other experiences have shaped her to identify with or be more like the Streets. In turn, she participates in the marginalizati treatment of Gideon and Therese continues the imperial relations embodied in the Streets. Imperialism, unfortunately, continues, as Marilyn Mobley declares in reference to Tar Baby : imperialism operates, circulates, and reproduces itself in new forms and people. Cementing their romance, Son and Jadine sneak off after the chaos at Christmas t o New similarities with the local populations around Isle des Chevaliers, particularly a working class status. The physical attraction between them that is further aroused after their private picnic incompatibility is highlighted during their stay in Eloe. Just as Son is uncomfortable in New
183 York, Jadine does not fit well with the people of Eloe. Besides the small size and rural environment which she cannot stand, Jadine immediately distances herself from the people, (250). Morrison connects language and class in the scene, as Jadine insists that she does not s if they are foreign objects under a lens, asking them to pose in a variety of ways. In essence, she entertains herself by objectifying them just as she does the natives around the Isle. Gillespie becomes like the photographers who have photographed her while she was modeling, who penchant for exoticizing working class people, S compassion for his family and friends is just as strong as (or stronger than) his compassion for Gideon, Therese, and Alma Estee, as they share many similarities. The house in which Son was reared is just as small as t he one he visited while going for a haircut with Gideon. He did not Sutterfield shack he and Cheyenne [his ex (246). Desp ite the limited space in the two bedroom house, Son grew up in it with his mother, hardships, he regularly tried to assist his father financially by sending mo ney orders while he was sexes.
184 In the Eloe scenes, Morrison cle arly presents the intersectionality of race, class and between the sexes exists in Eloe and it is among the first observations that Jadine makes; it seems she could concerning abstinence from sexual activity between unmarried people, which expresses the c with a pack of Neanderthals who think sex is dirty or strange confined by the gender roles and the physical rural area, which come together to make her is a combination of disposition and circumstances she is an ndependence is the way of life for Jadine and has been for many years. was rotten and more boring than ever. A burnt out place. There was no life there. Maybe a past but definitely no future and finally there was no interest. All that Southern small town country romanticism was a lie, a joke, kept secret by people who could n ot function . S . town was better than its future, given the brutal history of slavery in the American South. In her analysis, Smith discusses that Tar Baby deals with the American generations (53). Moreover, Jadine believes she is superior to the Eloe residents because of her education and experiences. Upon first becoming acquainted with Son, she saw herself as notches above him , so it is not surprising that she feels this way towards his people.
185 Certainly, the residents admire her for her greater exposure to the world, but Jadine fails to learn otiate the 29 And while Eloe longer. Her unwillingness to compromise foreshadows the demise of their romance. In the end, Jadine and Son cannot resolve the ir opposing class interests ( Mbalia 70 ). Neither can relinquish enough to encompass both their worlds, and it shatters, leaving them to their separate choices Ondine and Sydney are not disappointed in its failure. Concerning Ondine and Syd ney, the cross class romance between Son and Jadine exposes their intra racial class antagonism and their internalization of racial hierarchies that derive from imperialist regimes. 30 A cook and a butler respectively, Ondine and Sydney really are working cl ass but they do not think of themselves in this way. Mobley describes them as the Tar Baby as wel l. According to Jurecic and Rampersad, the hierarchy consists of the Streets at the top, then Ondine and Sydney, and finally, the natives at the bottom (Gideon, Therese and Alma Estee). Instead of placing Jadine and Son in the hierarchy, they note that Jad ine and Son complicate the structure (148). 31 Though Ondine and Sydney are domestics, they recognize that their U . S . citizenship gives them privilege over the local residents, which continues a centuries long power relation. They believe the intersections o f their nationality, race, and class places them in higher position than Son and the natives. They are also living in the largest house on the island, and their status as workers of
186 the Streets affords them privileges that the local people, and perhaps som e in Eloe, cannot access. Still, neither Ondine nor Sydney is content about their niece socializing with Son because count Ne definitely do not approve. To make peace with Ondine and Sydney, Son attempts to acquaint himself with them shortly af Magness 95 ). Before he allows Son to fully apologize, he insults Son when bragging about hi Phil a delphia Negro mentioned in the book of the very same name. My people owned drugstores and taught school while yours were still cutting their faces open so as to be able to tell 32 Sydney does not mention that he was raised in a poverty stricken Baltimore before relocating to Philadelphia. It is significant that Sydney, instead, identifies with Philadelphia because of the prosperity among African Americans in Philadelphia around the time he was liv ing there. Furthermore, Philadelphia alludes to another discussion of merican racial hierarchies through their ratification of a Constitution that compromised the principles of words, America is built on a foundation of inequities . Comparing their living quarters to the rest of the house, Sydney and Ondine are aware of the inequalities and hierarchy that exists even in
187 hand furniture, table scarves, tiny furniture contrasts greatly with the furniture in the rest of the house belonging to the Street family. Still, Ondine and Sydney felt they were better than Son and the local residents. In their poor treatment of Gideon, Therese and Alma Estee, Ondine and Sydney sehold. 33 Ondine and Sydney , self colonization, mimics the Streets and treats them as if they are inferior. Homi Bhaba further explains that the colonized often participate i n mimicry, where they mimic those in power. 34 Son notices their disdain for the local community. Later, Gideon tells Son that Therese does not like them either and it is because they are snooty at times (153). Morrison invokes ideas of humans being invisibl are invisible to those they serve. When they told Gideon to find someone other than Therese to help him, he continues to bring her and they do not notice that it is not a new woman that he brings. This shows how little attention they pay towards Therese. Other scholars note Ondine and Caribbe ans even though they are black themselves (73). On another note, Ondine becomes further irritated that Gideon is illiterate and that she always has to call out the list of items for him to bring back. However, Gideon is using trickery and faking illiteracy as a way to prevent them from giving him additional work (154). illiterate, laz Rampersad 150 ). As a reality check, Smith argues : that
188 island like Gideon and Marie Therese because they come from the States, speak English, and have access to greater resources. But their position in the Street household indentures them in a way that an independent business owner such as Marie Therese, despite her extreme poverty, is Though they treat the locals as if they are lesser, Sydne y and Ondine are aware of their own vulnerable position and dependence. Ondine tells Sydney to calm down when he expresses his anger at Valerian for allowing Son to stay in the house because they are too old to find employment elsewhere. Later, Ondine forg ets her advice to Sydney and insists on having some level authority, as she displays when she yells at Valerian for firing Gideon and Therese without first consulting her or Sydney. What they fail to realize is that they are not in charge, and ney serves the master faithfully, he is not the master, and Ondine may own the Really , they are mimicking slavery days, with Valerian acting as the master and Ondine and Sydney acting as his overseers or, more ac curately, neocolonial conditions. Also, they recognize Jadine is not their equal, as she often eats at the table with the Streets and they serve her right along with the Streets. Her education, sponsored by Valerian, has allowed her to achieve upward mobil ity. Valerian does not see them the same way he sees Jadine, and he makes it clear early on that there is to be no consorting with servants (59). Jadine recognizes her privileges, but she really does not want to help her aunt and uncle in any significant w ay. In the end, Ondine and Sydney discuss her ungratefulness towards them (283), before she takes a flight back to France. class relationship trope illuminates far more than the romance between Son and Jadine. Their relat ionship facilitates a discussion of the various
189 of a plantation house, evo kes commentary on the contemporary residuals of slavery and colonialism in the U . S . and Caribbean. The comparisons between the past and the present evince strikingly similar circumstances for the African American and Caribbean characters. It appears, in so me ways, that history is repeating itself. Morrison also includes intraracial class dynamics that are antagonistic. Jadine, Sydney and Ondine view themselves more highly than they do the local residents and Son, ultimately. Jadine and Son cannot reconcile their opposing class interests and worldviews, so they part ways in the end. Son, unlike Jadine and her family, respect the other working class characters. At the end of the novel, readers see that Gideon and Marie e significant, as the novel closes with Son rejoining them. Gideon warns him to stay away from Jadine, perhaps because he sees her as being a tar baby that will entrap him, while Marie Therese ensures that he stays away from her by leading Son to join the mythic Chevaliers. 35 her unresolved ending emphasizes the continued unsettling situations and circumstances of some African American and Caribbean populations. Romance, Fantasies, a nd Class in Tide Running class romance between Cliff and the Tide Running opens up a discussion of working class conditions. More specifically, the relationship allo ws Kempadoo to provide commentary on transformation over the course of the narrative. The general plot in the novel is a mask for the deeper issue of class conflict and c lass consciousness that Kempadoo explores. In an interview
190 c ritic Sissy Helff suggests that class is so significant in the novel that race takes a back seat to it assessment, as it acknowledges the intersections between var ious subject positions such as race, class, gender, and nationality, the analysis here does examine closely the portrayals of working class environments in the novel and the influences of contemporary imperialism on them. Even in this period of postcolonia lism, many Caribbean nations rely on foreign/imperial powers like the US, which reinforces a state of dependency or what is best termed neocolonialism. Adding to the existing scholarship on the novel, this examination of Tide Running env ironment and the factors that lead to his participation in the romantic relationship. Through community. In turn, the circumstances of the couple act as a contr ast that highlights the working class conditions. In the end, Kempadoo leaves readers with a sobering reality concerning the fate Before the romance even begins, the novel opens with a description of to day activities to reveal what shapes their realities. Far from paradise, readers immediately are able to decipher their class status by various descriptions in the scene, including the lack of food, the dilapidate and the lack of running water. They are also cramped together in the small house; the two brothers Cliff and Ossi, the sister Keisha, and their mother all live there. In contras t, Cliff recognizes that those who are foreigners to Tobago, like Peter and Bella who are married with one young son Oliver, live in large houses. Bella, who is from Trinidad, an friend, Hilda Schmitz, lives alone in a house where she makes her racially stereotypical sculptures with the
191 36 Bella and European people continue to enjoy colonial privilege in Tobago ev en though Trini dad and Tobago should be equal since they both make up the t wo island nation, but Trinidad bigger, wealthier, m ore modernized in western terms p lays th e part of the U . S . to some degree. A lthough they are no longer under colonialism, the contemporary situation is reminiscent of it, presenting a very similar picture. Once Cliff connects with the couple, he witnesses different ways of living and a different type of parent child relationship that cause him to develop unloving thoughts of his family. 37 class family is a female headed household where the mother is the only one with consistent employment, and she supports the family despite all three of her children being adults (over eighteen). 38 At least Cliff works at a cycle shop and goes fishing in the mornings with Stompy, an older man in the community, unlike the nineteen year 39 In his examination of class systems in Anglophone Caribbean nations, Gordon K. Lewis discusse s the continual unemployment among working class is the fact that quite simply many of them do not work. Chronic mass unemployment and underemployment go hand i 40 As a result, the mother is often stressed and unable to offer her children constructive guidance. In fact, she seems to encourage their shiftless behavior at times. For instance, she laughs hysterically when L ynette informs her that her youngest son Ossi caused a fight between a mother and daughter because he warning that he will soon impregnate someone with such lasc ivious behavior (44). For the most
192 articulates. Coupled with the lack of affection, she is also verbally abusive, using vulgar language. When Ossi asks if she brough t them any Kentucky Fried Chicken home after work, the language he re is also an example of the narrative strategy that Kempadoo employs throughout the novel that allows the characters to express themselves in their own language which reflects their class status. While Cliff and his family use a dialect, Bella and Peter u se Standard English. Unlike their mother, Lynette foresees that Cliff is headed for trouble even before he is fully enveloped by his relationship with the married couple because she is more aware of their daily activities. While the m other is working, Lynette manages their household. A female and the oldest, she fulfills traditional gender roles and assumes parental like responsibilities for her brothers by cooking, cleaning, and reprimanding them. The mother even admits that Lynette i of single parenthood; she, like the other family members, loves baby Keisha. Though s he wants a better life for Keisha, some of her desires for Keisha seem to be misguided and unrealistic (or leading down a futile road). She purchases non essential name brand items for Keisha that they and is excited when Keisha repeats moreso for the islanders, televised unreality mediates every dimension of existence, setting up expectations of commodity filled lifestyles and appetites for designer labels through an
193 based TV shows influence Cliff and his family to a large extent. In the novel, television shows operate as ov ert references to U . S . (imperialist) influences, as many of the shows they watch are American shows. While some see the presence of American TV shows in different nations as a part of globalization, others view it as a part of Americanization or imperialis m. In fact, Scholte discloses that these terms are often used interchangeably or as synonyms (58). In his discussion on ideological state apparatuses (ISAs), Louis Althusser includes the communications ISA, which includes media entertainment like televisio n. He explains that ISAs operate by the ideology of the ruling or capitalist class in this case, the US superpower which is an ideology that aims to reproduce material realities of exploitation. 41 In support, many scholars such as Rahim critique the America n based media and control. These include the communication technologies of television, film, radio, cassettes, CD, DVD and computer that manipulate tastes and affect the collective imaginary through a type communications is not new, however; the formats may be new, but the communications ISA has been in operation for some time. 42 In essence, Rahim is describing what m any call cultural imperialism. Indeed, Cliff and his family are enamored by the images of American people that they watch daily on TV and Cliff eventually believes he can imitate what he sees on TV when he connects with Bella and Peter. While not performin g household chores or roaming the streets, Cliff, Lynette, and Ossi spend hours watching American TV shows, thus consuming American portrayals of what 43 two sibl ings, his niece Keisha, and largely absent working mother, the television is the chief
194 organizer of time, providing entertainment, escape, fantasy, a sense of community, and e TV shows, city life, seduced us into its womb, promising peace of mind, crime free living, and the blue privy to such circumstances, Lynette puts baby Keisha to sleep before the soap opera Days of Our Lives comes on in the afternoon, as the shows are an escape from her reality. It seems she desires the type of life that the shows exhibit for herself and Keisha. The soap operas are melodramatic and present an unrealistic portrait of life. The finales usually have happy endings after weeks of turmoil filled relationship dramas acted out by soap opera stars who are usually white actors portraying different class circumstances (middle and upper class) than their family. know Lynette wondering how it would be if she was to live in a house with she baby father, just Days of Our Lives , he going out to work and she influenced by American TV. Watc hing TV consumes a lot of their day and the mom encourages their staying in the house, thinking it will keep them out of trouble. She has good reason to want them to stay out of the streets, as readers later learn about their friends such as Rambo and othe r local males who are drug dealers. Aside from soap operas, Baywatch is another show they all watch. Baywatch is about lifeguards so the characters are always in swim wear that shows their picture perfect bodies. The show usually ends peacefully after the life guards have rescued someone with the use of their high
195 consumption of American television shows is that they do not fully comprehend that it is all fictive. Bella and Peter have completely differ ent circumstances from Cliff and his family who are operating under a cloud of US imperialism that dramatically impacts their cultural and economic worlds. Through the use of the cross class relationship trope, Kempadoo strategically includes references t o imperialism or the legacy of slavery and colonialism in the region. The couple first sees Cliff and Ossi in Plymouth on the jetty and, soon after, they invite the young men to their ss differences between ears fella from Plymuth. feels special that they would invite him, and ev house alone, engaging in sexual relations with them. His regular attendance at their house is working and contemplate from where it comes. Cliff complains that the work available such as Thomas does not understand why Cliff refuses this type of work and asserts that some local residents leave to go do various types of menial jobs for money in foreign nations and then return desirability who are trapped by geopolitical conditions which shape their island birthplace into a context in which nothing happens there are no ambitions and no possibilities for gainful and
196 available work compares with what he sees on TV. He is seduced by the glorious images and Thomas questio in a dive shop and he does some work with the fisherman Stompy because he enjoys the water, but this does not provide much money; it is certainly not a substantial monetary help to their household because it is not consistent employment. 44 Besides being apathetic, Cliff has feelings ion invokes a discussion about the feelings of inferiority being contemporary vestiges of the slave and colonial history in the region. In an interview with Harald Leusmann, Kempadoo mention new type of colonialism but not one that is only dependent on a foreign race and culture. Caribbean immigrants who live overseas have contributed a lot to this, get t he goods without having to work. (114) Caribbean peo ple resident in foreign nations), her comments still reveal the historical powerlessness among people in the region who have had to depend on help from others. There is still a level of impoverishment and powerless in the contemporary period. Furthermore, the unequal relationship between Cliff and the couple parallels the unequal relationship that exists in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago demonstrating how various xist between the two parts and Cliff is very aware. He and his family view Trinidadian people as foreigners. Cliff contemplates the similarities between Trinidadian people and other foreigners: e from Foreign. Even when
197 narrative, including Bella, reveal that their circumstances are different from the Tobago populations. In descriptions of Bella, Cliff and Ossi mention her skin color and hair texture as well. These factors along wit h her nationality and her husband being a European man work together to deliver a very different set of circumstances for Bella privileged circumstances. While Cliff and his family are watching TV, a televangelist describes the problems in their Tobagonian community and tells listeners not to blame the U . S . or Trinidad (33). That he puts Trinidad on equal footing with the US reveals that Trinidad is better off than Tobago in certain areas, particularly economically. 45 ions the shared history of slavery connecting Bella and Cliff (165), but she also acknowledges the divide between Tobago and Trinidad (166). 46 Though the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago is not imperialistic in the way that the U . S . relationship is with Caribbean nations in general, the and his community. In the scholarship on Tide Running , tourism especially sex tourism is probably the most popular subject , as the relationship between Cliff, Bella and Peter is reminiscent of those who participate in the sex tourist industry. Kempadoo directly ties slavery and tourism. The novel reads: the bitter taste of slavery is in the earth itself, drawn up by the tree s into their trade, the new crop. But still it brings people who have to be served, white people expecting something in return for the Yankee dollar. It feeds the politi fattens their pockets, is regurgitated in public speeches, eagerly swallowed by voters, mixed up with a sense of justice and angry pride, spiked with the bile. (116)
198 enterprises to many people. Despite the dehumanizing nature of many forms of tourism, the economies. Many people, unfortunately, do not contemplate the many damages of tourism because they rely on the income it supplies. Morgan explains this reality, explaining that spiralling inflation, currency devaluations, trade liberalization and privatization have combined to make tourism the b scripts and images accentuate the manner in which the contemporary tourist industry draws on tourism locales. In fact, some people frequent tourist destinations for participation in more illicit aspects of tourism, as many have discussed. Throughout multiple segments of Caribbean societies, there is participation in the tourist industry; it is int ertwined in the economy of Caribbean nations. 47 and slavery still at work in the Caribbean in the form of tourism which keeps most islanders in an 7). Tourism presents a conundrum for many nations because of the great dependence upon it. Although the relationship between Cliff and the married couple does not begin as a sex tourist arrangement, exploitative undertones are present in the cross class re lationship. 48 It is not clear how or why the couple begins the threesome, other than to achieve sexual fulfillment. Their just because of his neighborhood. 49 However, the morals of
199 the couple never seem to come under scrutiny by anyone in the novel. Kempadoo leaves this for with the sense that they do not need to pay anything for it. At least under slavery, the labor of enslaved people was largely acknowledged. In the novel, sex is important because it is the form l justification (or at least also part of colonial privilege and slavery, so it is another form of continuity. Furthermore, it may not be a coincidence that B ella and Peter end up having a threesome with Cliff rather than Mo the voluble, more socially adept Ossi at bay and annex the services of the more innocent, thoughts of himself and, along with his interactions with the couple, it is clear that he is still immature in many ways. He even asks Peter to adopt him despite the fact that he is twenty years old. Cliff does not think this is odd because he has skewed ideas about manhood and parent child relationships. His relationship with his father is so non existent that Cliff does not know how to spell his name. The understand why some believe the couple purposely took advantage of Cliff. Besides, the relationship is lopsided obviously, with Bella and Peter being two professionals; Bella is an artist and Peter is a lawyer (65). It seems that Cliff becomes a hobby for them. Additionally, Bella and Peter both state that Cliff reminds them of the black dallie the stereotypical sculpture of a black
200 and Peter exoticize and e xploit Cliff and the Tobago community. Kempadoo, through the cross class relationship trope, also provides some insight about other types of fulfillment the couple and Cliff receive from their association with one another. Scholars explain that tourist ty pe sexual liaisons provide benefits for both parties. 50 It seems that Cliff and Bella have voids they are trying to fill somehow through the relationship. Bella desires an emotional connection, as Helf explains ( English Studies 84). Helff believes the novel is not so 147). Aside from gaining a small level of prestige in his community because of his association with the couple as well as exposure to unfamiliar places and people (68, 95), Cliff gains access to adorned in their name brand clothes and shoes literally speechless. 51 starring now. I move me famous foot. You know how much people go pay for me two foot to be nd imagination has run wild at the moment. Cliff desires to have a c hance at the lifestyles he witnesses on TV and he thinks that Bella and Peter have it or at least some semblance of it. Their excitement to be in the house is apparent to Bella and Peter. Though Bella thinks Cliff is only in it as a way to escape his envir onment temporarily, Cliff seems to desire love or affection, too.
201 companionship, in exchange for sex in which he is servicing the couple. But the fantasy does not stop here because the youngster is himself extremely needy in ter ms of the affective domain. His seducer Peter offers a pe rverted father son relationship . Despite these minor and momentary benefits, the cross class romance is an utter failure. In the end, Bella and Peter never suffer because of the decisions they make concerning their cross class romance with Cliff, but Cliff suffers tremendously. The tele vision and music influences including Jamaican dancehall work together to delude Cliff, in a sense. Not only do the U . S . making but also the Jamaican dancehall culture that he assimilates influences him. Kempadoo sugg ests that Trinidad and Jamaica are having an assymetric relation to the black working class of Tobago along with the American imperialist impulses. Cliff, unfortunately, takes his delusions to another level and steals Bella likely re enacti ng something he has seen on TV or heard in a song. 52 This, ultimately, lands him in jail. Readers do not know what his fate will be in the end, but the court chang es him, and escalates his fantasy world. Perhaps Cliff goes this route because he thinks there is no legitimate way for him to really obtain such materials. 53 On the other hand, the couple can continue to live their life and find them another Cliff if they so choose. They do not seem overly excited to try to help Cliff in his predicament; instead they are surprised by his behavior. Though Bella wonders what impact their relationship was having on Cliff, she and Peter seem to be quite shocked at the final res ults. 54 Conclusion Tar Baby Tide Running complicate discussions of class by introducing how U . S . imperialism influences class relations within the African Diaspora. The novels both explore how these new articulations of impe rial power impact
202 relations among middle class (or elite) and working class Afro descended characters. Readers see how postcolonial figures, such as Bella and Peter, engage in imperial type exploitation of Cliff and how African Americans such as Jadine, On dine, and Sydney take on the perspectives of wealthy white people towards both other African Americans (Son) and Afro Caribbeans (Gideon, Marie Therese and Alma Estee). In the case of Tide Running , there is the additional issue of an internal asymmetry wit hin the nation of Trinidad and Tobago that allows Trinidadians, often of lighter skin tone, to enjoy the privileges associated with colonizers and (U . S . /British/or imperial) tourists. In many respects, Peter is similar to Valerian who takes no responsibili ty for his role in the situations that transpire. Moreover, Morrison and Kempadoo seem to suggest, since the cross class romances in both novels fail, that issues concerning class inequalities are not easily resolved. Their discourse on class in the novels leaves readers with a sobering reality concerning the fate of some individuals with a working class status. They both broach the subject of class by foregrounding a cross class relationship trope that is manifested through the romances of Son and Jadine a s well as Cliff and the married couple, Bella and Peter. The trope juxtaposes the stark differences in the material realities between the two parties and allows the authors to participate in working class literary traditions where they reveal contemporary struggles of working class life. Notes 1 or bonded by an emotional tie of love. 2 The films use the romance as a way to comment on eco nomic and class differences. For more on cross class British writing. There is much scholarship on cross class romances in British literature. Rita Fe lski also notes the history of British cultural studies that emphasizes working classes on page 34. 3 This chapter is not focused on the Romanticism tradition that was popular in Europe and America from the late eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth cen tury. Although, Stephen Sharot reveals that, in American literary history in general, novels dating as far back as the eighteenth century, such as Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), featured
203 cross class romances (89). This chapter also does not concentrate on the contemporary romance fiction genre that includes a number of black romance novels by writers like Brenda Jackson, Donna Hill, Rochelle Alers, Carl Weber, E. Lynn Harris and Eric Jerome Dickey. This chapter centers on romantic relationships that fea ture in the works of African American and Caribbean writers that generally are not classified as part of the romance genre. However, both of the above mentioned romance traditions are invoked in this chapter. 4 cism, see Chapter 2 of Playing in the Dark . Also, in her essay The House that Race Built Tar Baby . Additionally, Eli zabeth Ann Beaulieu, in The Toni Morrison Encyclopedia 297). 5 The gap in p ublication between the novels allows my readers to see the similarity in interests that exists among writers of the African diaspora. 6 Also, I am addressing here how Caribbean people and African American s become implicated in neocolonial relations which e xacerbate and otherwise influence class divisions within the relations amon g African Diaspora subjects. Important to note here, too, is that t he entire period under examination in this dissertation is a period in which the U . S . dominates the Caribbean reg ion. In the 1980s, the U . S . launched the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the U . S . continues to extend its power through loan policies and through secur ity arrangements . 7 Jadine is an orphan and her aunt and uncle look after her. 8 The character Margaret is from a white working class background as well. Though Morrison provides some classes in the novel. 9 The review of class in the analyses of Tar Baby is much more extensive than in Tide Running and many of the attention than Tar Baby . 10 Son is more race conscious t han Jadine. Mbalia writes that he is more race and class conscious and that he has a socialist outlook (77 79). Susan Neal Mayberry makes a similar claim about Son being race and class conscious (148). 11 ies the multicultural/creolized possibility transcending racial 12 The existing criticism on Tide Running is scant and it focuses primarily on (sex) tourism, highlighting sexual exploitation in t he tourist industry, health issues resulting from sex tourism, and US media influences. This dissertation chapter certainly does not undermine the importance of the issues discussed by the critics who have written on this novel. In fact, this paper examine s class conditions that, certainly, are linked to issues of tourism and various forms of hegemony. Yet, this study also aims to highlight the intricacies of class interwoven throughout the novel, situating the novel within literary discourses on class. 13 F orms of US imperialism or hegemony are obvious within the US as well through the oppression of minority groups, and Morrison shows this reality in Tar Baby . In the past, especially during the Black Power Movement, scholars used the term internal colonialis m to describe the position of African Americans within the US. Robert L. Allen says this term was widely used during the Black Power movement of the 1960s to describe predicaments of blacks in urban ghettoes and the US South. During this current contempora ry period of globalization, some Latin American scholars like Ramon Grosfuguel have reconceptualized the term internal colonialism, and prefer the term Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ricans in a Global Perspective . Additionally, in this chapter I focus on the formally colonized people. When analyzing Tar Baby , scholars tend to focus on Valerian, the representative colonialist/capitalist, which places the focus on the colonizer (i.e. Valerian). Furthermore, I see V alerian and his wife as being representative of the continued imperialist leanings of superpower countries like the US.
204 14 general, have been used to refer to any and every type of relation between a more powerful state or society and a less powerful on He also boldly informs that for a number of scholars in the Furthermore, distinguishing between formal and informal forms of imperialism is necessary because many scholars tend to agree that the US imposes an informal form of imperialism upon other nations. Exp laining the differences, control or full (24) . 15 : At the A Dying Colon Caribbean nations. They note that th Boyce Davies also examines discourses of fourth chapter in her book Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject . 16 Harrison provides examples of several creative works that celebrate the feats of William Walker, a representative figure of The Crusade of the Excelsior (1887), of the historical romance novel. 17 Only within the past couple of decades have many scholars been boldly associating the US with imperialism. To study of American culture; and the Also, see Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History edited by Tony Ballantyne and asculinity in the Popular Historical Culture and Imperialism . 18 Scholars note that terms like imperialism, colonialism, and hegemony are often used interchangeably. See Howe. Also, Morrison highlights French and American imperialism in Tar Baby . For a discussion on the rise of imperialism and its effects on the Britis h West Indies (Caribbean nations colonized by the British) from the 1880s 1920s, see Leah Rosenberg. 19 Caribbean. Also, the novel opens with a (9). 20 Later, Therese tells Son that she thought he was a horseman (152 153). The name Isle des Chevaliers comes from the history of the blind horsemen. Because of her poor eyesight , Gideon calls Therese a descendant of the blind horsemen. At the end of the novel, she leads Son to join the horsemen. Pages 8, 47, and 303 of the novel also mention the horsemen. 21 obs (195) and she cleans up at the airport (298). 22 Alma Estee is representative of self of dried blood. Her sweet face, her midnight skin mocked and destroyed by the pile of synt hetic dried blood on her 23 Malin Pereira expresses that colonization is the major concern in Tar Baby (72). 24 become aware of Son lu rking on the premises. Gideon tells her that he (Gideon) is starving. It is not clear if he is
205 25 poor who ate splendidly from their gardens, from the sea and from the avocado trees that grew by the side of the 26 ularity or isolationism that is 27 This is an instance in the novel where the issue of colorism (prejudice based on lighter skin tone)is present. In (155). 28 Madelyn Jablon also write s about Jadine and assimilation (73). So does Carmen Gillespie (220). 29 In Eloe, Jadine thinks about the dark skinned black woman wearing yellow and carrying eggs while in a grocery store. Jadine is unable to relate to this woman who represents an authenti city just as she is unable to relate to the people in Eloe. See Maxine Lavon Montgomery, Conversations with Gloria Naylor , 15. 30 Gillespie notes that Jadine internalizes racial hierarchies as well (218). 31 Mbalia claims that Jadine, Ondine and Sydney mimic the ruling class and are the petty bourgeois (72). My chapter discusses more on mimicry later. 32 butlers were the highest paid servants in the a rea (150). 33 Magness describes a hierarchy of blacks with Ondine and Sydney at the top, Son in the middle and the local Therese, and Al 34 see in his book The Location of Culture . Furthermore, Apollo Amoko, in Postcolonialism in the Wake of the Nairobi Revolution: Ngugi wa Thiong'o and the Idea of African Literature , offers an assessment of s literary works. 35 See Jurecic and Rampersad (151 52) for a discussion on the role of the tar baby tale in the story. They mention different versions of the tale. 36 Hilda makes sculptures that objectify black people, exposing their sexual organs and emphasizing their physical (also known as the black dallie) that scares Cliff and Ossi when they first see it (55) Gypsy Peters from a Carnival celebration in Trinidad with lyrics that tell black boys who are into fashion, drugs, etc. to get an education because it is the way out of poverty. Scenes about the sculpture are also on pages 55, 60, and 128 of the novel. 37 Later in the novel, Cliff states that he can never depend on his mother and his uncle. 38 headed household in which the mother is co ping with generational cycles of poverty and single motherhood. With the erosion of the extended family network, matriarchal power dwindles. Mothering women wield diminished authority and become increasingly incapable of controlling boys who run wild from 39 the fisherman who asserts his manhood in daily battles with the sea and teaches him wage earning work, pride,
206 resilience, strate gies for battling the elements. The arduous work loses in the end to just chillin until idleness, need 40 People tend to differentiate working classes from poverty classes (i.e., the poor) by the presen ce or absence of jobs. However, a job is not the best barometer, as even those who are part of working classes like the Dunstan family suffer bouts of poverty. See the introduction of this dissertation for a discussion on the working class/poverty class de bate. Also, Lewis delivers a definition of working class that describes the status of many of the characters in construction workers, and self emplo yed small shopkeepers (92). 41 See Chapter 2 of this dissertation for a discussion of Althusser and ISAs. 42 Jennifer Rahim basically argues that postmodernism is an extension of European imperialism or that it causes some of the same negative effects as imperialism. She also claims that European imperialism and postmodernism both encourage invisibility or disap motherlands through state sanctioned cultural censorship and a Eurocentric education system, the contemporary character of disappearance describes the bombardment of consciousn ess by overwhelmingly North American media 43 Morgan makes an astute point about the effect of their TV significance exists in another place not here alienates the impoverished islander from immediate conditions of 16). 44 Bella claims that Cliff admits he would rather participate in sex tourism (100) because it pays more money than some of the other jobs that he considers to be menial. Still, Cliff is quite different from Ossi who refuses to work at all it seems (54). 45 Church and school are mostly absent from this novel (other than the televangelist). Belinda Edmondson explains class status as a conduit to economic power, it is no longer dependent politically or culturally on respectable middle (14 ). Cliff and his family pay more attention to the TV shows than they do the televangelist. 46 antaged political and economic position in the twin island Republic 47 Morgan also discusses how governments promote tourism (1) and she expounds on how tourist advertisements highlight plantation houses and colo global sex trade are clear. Its ingredients included, on the one hand, a master race with economic prowess and political ascendancy and, on the other, a servant race which was economically and politically subordinate. On the one hand, there was an obsessive desire simultaneously to exoticize and denigrate, as well as to consume the vitality and sexual energies of the racialized Other; on the other hand, there was both resistance to possession and an established practice of using interracial sexual liaisons for intergenerational skin lightening and upward social 48 Rahim asserts sm. Sexual experimentation as the leisure afforded the wealthy, rather than overt solicitation for sex, seems the 49 The conversations of Small Clit (SC) are featured on pages 132 140. In the intervie w with Leusmann, Kempadoo 50 se encounters is that for the duration of the encounter and and gains access to a glitzy paradisiacal leisure world, the passport to which is money. Affiliation with the tourist
207 partner wins status and prestige among friends. All parties entering into the encounter bring powerful and enduring Morgan also states, munity, it brings him the significance of having been found worthy to enter the other world to which they all aspire. In terms of realizing himself, it provides alleviation of meaninglessness, as well as commodities food, a location in a virtual reality an d intensified (16). 51 Despite them having no jobs or precarious circumstances, Cliff and Ossi have some name brand clothes and shoes, such as Filas and Nikes, which shows misplaced priorities. They are mimicking what they see on American TV shows, thus participating in mimicry as they feel like they are in a movie. Caliban and the Yankees: Trinidad and the United States Occupation (during WWII US empire building) by Harvey R Neptune 2007 chapter on cloth es and loving American style. She mentions the obsession with consumerism in the novel. 52 Caribbean dancehall or bad boy music among the youth, with links to American ghetto/gangster rap, hip establishment protest, the redeployment of the stereotypical sexualized black body by many of the popula 53 Barbara Foley discusses that in working class literature or prol etarian lit erature, a system producing criminal individuals Within the working class aesthetic, readers also witness am ong characters a distrust of authority figures and institutions such as police officers and court systems (Christopher and Whitson 75). Meanwhile, Robert L. Allen asserts that incarceration/ repression is another strategy of neocolonialism. 54 Rahim describe consorting freely with locals . Yet, he re enacts discourse that hyper sex ualizes and eroticizes blackness (13). Also, she notes: grace as the desirable, though dif ferent, local black boy, Bella and Peter quickly return to their sense of superiority, Peter by virtue of his wealth an d whiteness, Bella by her class (15).
208 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION A (CLASS) LOOK INTO THE FUTURE However, my silence, like all our silences about class, easily becomes part of the collusion, part of our acquiescence and participation in unjust economic practices, an unwitting support of class elitism . -bell hooks Where We Stand: Class Matters T he richest 1 percent of American families have nearly as much wealth as the bottom 95 percent. Robin D. G. Kelley personal tastes of people. Instead, it refers to the need for us to have some more studies on issues of class. T he situations of working class es are no t a large part of public discourse despite growing gaps or increasing class disparities. Some people take issue with discussions on black working classes because of the stereotype that all black people are working class. 1 However, this proje ct refuses to ignore the humanity of these populations and the reality of their existence. No matter how fragile the subject of class, we must discuss it so that injustices do not continue to be our silences about class, easily becomes part of the collusion (163). Although mounting attention towards inequalities is present in the Caribbean, it is more pronounced in the U . S. By having a black president in the U . S . , some people assume things are better for blacks and that the U . S . is now a post racial society. This is erroneous thinking, to say the least. President Barack Obama and his administration have made great gains; still, there exists a lack of attention on working classes. On January 28, 2014, President Obama deliv ered his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Towards the beginning of his address, he stated, (Obama n.pag.). To rectify this situation, he announced his plan is to offer a set of concrete,
209 practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class (Obama n.pag.). At no point in his address did U.S. working class es take center stage, despite a growing fi eld of working class studies that emphasizes the necessity of research in the area. silence about working classes in his State of the Union Addres s, unfortunately, is typical of many people in U . S . society. In this contemporary period of globalization where standards of living are constantly in flux, continued explorations of working class literary studies are needed. In this dissertation, I demonstrated how writers use a cross class relationship trope , a litera ry technique that pairs two characters from different class backgrounds , in their work to interrogate issues of class. These authors use the trope to participate in multiple discourses and to discuss various subjects, including imperialism, educational sys tems, continued intraracial class antagonism, human rights, and globalization. T he cross class relationship trope has lasted as a shared trope in U . S . and Caribbean regions from 1970 to t he present, and n o matter the topic, the writers foreground glaring class disparities in U . S . and Caribbean societies. Literature is playing an increasingly important role because it is one form of public discourse that takes on class and has done so consistently since Civil Rights and Independence movement s events that h a d the promise of improving standards of living fo r African American and Caribbean communities. However, contemporary scholars are not adequately reflecting the writers concern s in their scholarship , and this is particularly of grave importance because the re are few if any other venues in which lives receive serious attention. T o a large extent, t he African American and Caribbean writers in this project use the trope in similar ways to offer commentary about class inequalities in the U . S . and Caribbean nations and class division within African American and Caribbean communities. The writers
210 emphasize the difficulty of cross class alliances and how class division among African Americans and Caribbean people causes further strife within these already marginalized groups . T hey also suggest the working class populations within these groups, in general, rarely experience upward class mobility . Still, the writers engage in a politics of resistance in their writing by interrogating the hardships of African American and Caribbean people and , specifically , the working class populations within these groups . They refuse to allow inequities to continue to be ignored . The writers diverge in their use of the cross cla s s re lationship trope only to underscore specific issues that they see as being pertinent to individual African American and Caribbean communities. For instance , the demographic differences between the Caribbean and African Americans in the U . S . influence the l iterary portrayals. Caribbean nations have small populations (in comparison to the U.S.) where sometimes those who own the means of production are still in fairly close proximity to those who work for such owners. Th is reality influences th e various types of cross class relationships and the antagonistic nature of the relationships that the writers portray. In contrast, a friendship is the most common type of cross class relationship among African American writers in this project , and they use the friendshi ps to interrogate the un relenting antagonism among different classes of African Americans . 2 In the end, this project demonstrates how African American and Caribbean writers participate in contemporary discourses on class through their use of the cross clas s relationship trope, which offers a lens for examining class within literature , and how they contribute to literary, class, an d feminist studies. There are a number of possible directions for future studies on literary portrayals of class and the cross class relationship trope. This project was not able to explore a number of other novels by African American and Caribbean writers that evince this trope, such as Michelle
211 Abeng Beka Lamb , Myal , Toni Love and Song of Solomon . Also, t here can be closer examinations of the middle class spaces in novels that feature this trope. Additionally, studies investigating the possible presence of the trope in other genres would allow comparative studies on its various uses. Whether or not the cross class relationship trope is present in other bodies of literature (other than African American and Caribbean) was not in the scope of this dissertation, but it is an area for future exploration as well . The id eas offered in this dissertation project certainly can be expanded to address class issues in other literary areas. Class Relationships in Contemporary o expand the research on issues of class in general and working classes in particular. It is my hope that this project will spur additional studies in these areas. Notes 1 Patillo McCoy acknowledges the great deal of work done on U . S . black working classes, and she, r ightfully, suggests that there should be attention paid to U . S . black middle class populations. Her body of scholarship is making important contributions and expanding the field of studies on middle class people and environments. See Patillo Middle Class, Yet Black , 25. 2 This is only one of many comparisons between the two bodies of literature explored in this project.
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236 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Scholars program at the University of South Florida. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida in 2014. While at the University of Florida, she he ld the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, a five year graduate fellowship, and she spent the 2012 2013 fellowship year abroad performing dissertation research as a specially admitted student at the University of the West Indies Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. Her pr imary areas of research and teaching are in 20th and 21st Century African American, Caribbean, and American Multiethnic Literatures, Africana Studies, Feminist Theories, and Postcol onial Studies. Additionally, Dr. Brooks holds a n MA in Afro American Studie s from the University o f Wisconsin Madison (UW) . Upon graduation from UW in 2005 , she decided to take a break from school and try her hand at full time teaching before returning to graduate school in 2009 to pursue a PhD. At this point, she has taught a va riety of literature and composition courses at a number of post secondary institutions. She also attended Florida State University on a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa a yea r early with a BA in Engl ish in 2003. Currently, Dr. Brooks has publications on writers and literature of the African diaspora appearing in a number of academic journals, including the Journal of Africana Religions, Jamaica Journal, JAC, and ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Cult ure, Politics & Consciousness .
6RXWK$WODQWLF0RGHUQ/DQJXDJH$VVRFLDWLRQ 3XWWLQJ'RZQ3DUNLQJ/RWVRXW7KHUHLQ8QSDYHG3DUDGLVH7RQL0RUULVRQ>HQ@&RXQWHUV$PHULFDQ&RZER\&XOWXUH $XWKRUVf6XVDQ1HDO0D\EHUU\ 6RXUFH6RXWK$WODQWLF5HYLHZ9RO1R6XPPHUfSS 3XEOLVKHGE\6RXWK$WODQWLF0RGHUQ/DQJXDJH$VVRFLDWLRQ 6WDEOH85/http://www.jstor.org/stable/41635635 . $FFHVVHG Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. . South Atlantic Modern Language Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to South Atlantic Review. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 01:41:30 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions