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Caribbean Journal of Education

‘Unexpected Places’: The Role of the Private Domain in the Construction of Caribbean Identities and Experiences in the ‘Hurricane Story’ Poems of Olive Senior’s Gardening in the Tropics


At the outset, Caribbean representations of nation depicted and were offered by male projections of Caribbean identity and experience. The 1940s to the 1970s were fraught with sociopolitical and literary constructions of national identities for the once enslaved and colonized Caribbean territories which were male-centred and which bore gendered assumptions concerning what was to be regarded as necessary for the creation and development of these nations. As Gafoor (1993) states in her discussion of the depiction of Indo-Caribbean female experience by male writers, “…male authored postcolonial texts have so far followed the patern of imperial texts in their ideological assumptions about women” (p. 130). Caribbean politics during this period of time also offered concepts of national and personal identity which were focused on the black male who sought to affirm his worth and the ‘readiness’ of his nation in response to the challenge of independence.

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