By Odile Ferly (auth.)
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Extra info for A Poetics of Relation: Caribbean Women Writing at the Millennium
Raised protagonist Yolanda attempts to settle back in the island. Modern, middle-class Yolanda is contrasted throughout with her traditional (not to say conservative), aristocratic female relatives. Gender inequities in the Dominican elite are patent. Thus, unlike their brothers, Yolanda’s female cousins could not attend university on the grounds that too much education spoils a woman’s chances of a good marriage. In this circle, male marital infidelity is acceptable and boasted about, while female sexuality is repressed.
They are played against their sister Félicia, a paragon of the languorous mulatto woman and effectively the object of the Frenchman’s desire, the one Jean-Luze marries. ” In Colère, Rose undermines the figure of the helpless mulâtresse when she agrees to trade her chastity for political protection. She thereby not only attempts to save her family but also takes control of her own sexuality, albeit in a pernicious way. Similarly because of the authors’ extraction, pre-1970s women’s fiction in the Hispanophone Caribbean centers on white Creole female characters.
While Félicie is toiling away in the garden or at the river doing the laundry, the sole occupation of her companion Maxime is to satisfy his sexual appetite, to her great exasperation. Her body is “la seule terre qu’il travaille, qu’il laboure, qu’il sarcle et qu’il remue. Une terre brune et légère qu’il sème, chaque jour que Dieu fait. La récolte n’est pas son souci, ma terre le nourrit si bien qu’il n’a jamais faim. Ma terre, il la prend dans ses mains et la jette aux alizés” (8: the only land that he works, ploughs, hoes, and turns over.
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