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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Down, Lorna O.
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Paper/Section Title
Flying inna massa face: Woman, nature and sacred rites/Rights in Marie-Elena John’s Unburnable.
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Proceedings Title
EACLALS Triennial Conference
Date of Meeting
March 25-29, 2008
Place of Meeting
Venice, Italy.
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Date of Publication
2008
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Abstract
Marie-Elena John’s Unburnable, named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by Black Issues Book Review, has opened up a new space for feminists and postcolonial readings, by foregrounding the natural world in which her novel is set. In centering then on the environment in her novel, John focuses our attention on various constructions of nature and how such constructions play a decisive role in power relations in a colonial society. This paper explores the lives of women, in particular, the three major female characters in the novel and analyses the ways in which their constructions of nature enable them to ‘fly inna massa face’, that is, confront the colonialist power structures and so attain their liberty. The paper argues, in fact, that to attain their freedom requires a close affinity to and knowledge of nature, including the spiritual, as well as knowledge of the social, economic and political structures. The extent to which they are able to attain this knowledge and affinity is the extent to which they are able to attain their liberty, as these form the basis for acquiring the power necessary to confront and transform their world. The paper also takes into account, that the term ‘nature’ is problematic, but will situate it primarily in terms of present discourses on sustainable development and eco-feminism.....
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