Postcolonial Nation and Matrilineal Myth: Social Construction of Maternity in Michelle Cliff’s “Clare Savage” Novels
Keywords:Black matrilineage, Matriliny, Female bonding, Postcolonial and feminist revision of history, Essentialism
AbstractThe aim of my essay is to show how the Afro-American writer Michelle Cliff uses the concept of matriliny in the process of the feminist recovery of the history of Jamaica. I will argue that Michelle Cliff is a writer that honors the anachronistic tradition of essentialism that is based on the notion that cultures and identities have certain innate qualities immutable irrespective of time and place. I will contend that this essentialist worldview, skews the fictive world of Cliff’s much celebrated “Clare Savage novels”: Abeng and No Telephone to Heaven by reducing it to facile, Manichean oppositions between the colonizer and the colonized, white and black culture. My essay will particularly focus on how Cliff’s project of the affirmation of matriliny is undermined by her deep ambivalence about the institution of motherhood, which in times of slavery and decolonization was implicated in various discourses inimical to the well-being of black women.
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How to Cite
Penier, Izabella. 2014. “Postcolonial Nation and Matrilineal Myth: Social Construction of Maternity in Michelle Cliff’s ‘Clare Savage’ Novels”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 27 (November):163-78. https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2014.27.10.
Copyright (c) 2014 Izabella Penier
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