Post-colonial girl-children in Olive Senior's short stories


  • Begoña Vilouta Vázquez



Niñas, Mundo femenino, Adolescencia, Mujeres negras, Postcolonialismo, Literatura caribeña, Relato corto, Senior, Olive


Three short stories by the Jamaican author Olive Senior deal with how difficult it is for a girl to grow up in post-colonial Jamaican society. From a post-colonial feminist stance, my analysis of the short stories considers how predetermined conceptions about race, colour, gender, or social class affect their protagonists as individuals. Their progress towards adulthood is deeply marked by the transference between two households, a rather common experience for Jamaican children. These changes of residence give Olive Senior the chance to explore the different and often opposing conceptions regarding issues such as race, language, social class, female sexuality, religion or marriage. The socialisation of girl-children is also influenced by the stereotype of the "angel of the house", a racialised construct characterised by silence, delicacy, and submissiveness. When it comes to physical appearance, paleness is one of the essential characteristics, referring to the superiority of white women. The construction of black women as Jezebels will be also analysed. The different conceptions about the aforementioned issues and the predetermined patterns of behaviour make it difficult for the protagonists to reconcile both worlds: one of the most common results shown by Senior is alienation and isolation. Girls usually end up not knowing where they belong.


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How to Cite

Vilouta Vázquez, Begoña. 2002. “Post-Colonial Girl-Children in Olive Senior’s Short Stories”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 15 (November):263-76.