Travelling “back” to the Caribbean: Female Transnational Identities and Linguistic Relatedness in Paule Marshall’s "Praisesong for the Widow" and Edwidge Danticat’s "After the Dance"
Copyright (c) 2022 Federica Zullo
Questo lavoro è fornito con la licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 4.0 Internazionale.
According to Barbara Korte, there is nowadays a “corpus” of postcolonial travelers such as V.S. Naipaul, Jamaica Kincaid, Pico Iyer and Caryl Phillips who are engaged with colonial heritage and issues of belonging as well as new interactions of de-territorialization or extra-territoriality (2000). Central to this “canon” is the travelers’ efforts to underscore historical power relations forged through travel and to contest and protest their endurance. The travel narratives I investigate in my paper rightly belong to this canon, especially for the way they display processes of transculturation, linguistic relatedness, and cultural hybridity through the experience of travel.
In Paule Marshall’s third novel, Praisesong for the Widow (1983), the protagonist makes a physical and emotional journey from the United States to the Caribbean, discovering her African roots and a new “homeland”. In Edwidge Danticat’s travelogue After the Dance. A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti, the author/narrator reconstructs the carnival history of her country through the languages (English, French, Kreyòl), the cultural references and the artistic objects that represent the complexity of Haitian society. Across spaces and languages, I explore how the two female protagonists succeed in making the most important journey of their lives, against the fear of an unknown that becomes progressively familiar, embracing a transcultural and transnational renovated identity.