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Carribean migration and the construction of a black diaspora identity in Paul Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones

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Author(s): Timothy S. Chin

Journal: New West Indian Guide
ISSN 1382-2373

Volume: 80;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 63;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Barbados | Caribbean | USA | literature | literary criticism | migrations | cultural identity

ABSTRACT
Analyses the novel 'Brown girl, brownstones' (1959) by Paule Marshall. Author argues that this novel offers a complex and nuanced understanding of how Caribbean migration impacts upon cultural identity, and how this cultural identity is dynamically produced, rather than static. He describes how the novel deals with Barbadian migrants to the US in the 1930s and 1940s, and further elaborates on how through this novel Marshall problematizes common dichotomies, such as between the public and the private, and between racial (black) and ethnic (Caribbean) identity. Furthermore, he indicates that Marshall through her representation of the Barbadian community, foregrounds the central role of women in the production of Caribbean identity in the US. In this, he shows, Bajan women's talk from the private sphere is very important. Further, the author discusses how the Barbadian identity is broadened to encompass Caribbean and African Americans in the novel, thus creating transnational black diaspora connections, such as by invoking James Baldwin and Marcus Garvey.
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