A Poetics of Relation: Caribbean Women Writing at the by Odile Ferly (auth.)

By Odile Ferly (auth.)

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The case of Hermancia, a mentally deficient girl raped every Friday at the abattoir by seven men, is emblematic. Her rapists are all of different races; taken together, they make up the ethnic gamut of the island and thus symbolize the Guadeloupean man. Although Pineau may not be claiming that Guadeloupean men are essentially rapists, here she is certainly implying that they are essentially abusers. Even more revolting is the paternal abuse endured by Éliette. The experience traumatizes her for life, in both affective and sexual terms, and drives her mother to madness.

Thus the angel turns into a narcissistic devil, callous and empty. Here the author does not so much denounce Rosario’s frivolity as the sexism that leads men of the elite to treat women as precious possessions valued primarily for their appearance. Their socialization is held as directly responsible for women’s alienation. With the irruption of new female narratives from the 1970s across the region, positive self-images became more frequent, and the long-lasting depiction of Caribbean women as exotic, erotic, and alienated was challenged more systematically.

De la Grifa negra,” for example, the mixed-raced woman no longer connotes sensuality but is invoked to recall a past of exploitation and slavery. In this respect, Burgos’s verse contrasts with that of her counterpart Luis Palés Matos, for instance “Mulata Antilla,” which reappraises 24 O A Poetics of Relation the African legacy of Puerto Rico but nonetheless perpetuates the trope of the over sexualized mulatto female. ” (El cuerpo correcto, 1998). Here the eponymous character is endowed with charms that prove to be so potent that they perdure long after her death.

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