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Annalise Carter

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Introduction

Annalise Carter Julie Mulleny Postcolonial literature and theory assessment - Question 2 'Postcolonial narrative, structured by a tension between the oppressive memory of the past and the libratory promise of the future is necessarily involved in the work of mourning." (Sam Durrant) In what ways and to what effects are colonial pasts remembered and thus rewritten in any one or more of the texts o this unit? Throughout Merle Hodge's postcolonial novel 'Crick Crack, Monkey' we are lead thought the childhood of the main protagonist, Tee. A main and paramount theme that runs throughout this narrative is that of education. It is due to this theme that Tee's colonial past is changed and distorted. At the outset of the narrative that we are introduced to a young girl living a simple, but happy life in Trinidad with her Aunt Tantie. This urban life becomes misshapen when Tee attends secondary school and is sent to live with her Aunt Beatrice. It is through Aunt Beatrice's European ideal and Tee's European socialisation at secondary school that her colonial past is transformed and rewritten. From the outset of the novel we see Tee as a young confused girl. Her mother died in childbirth, which caused her father to emigrate overseas, " Then papa went to sea. I concluded that what he had gone to see was wether he could find Mammy and the baby". ...read more.

Middle

Throughout Hodge's novel we see Tee develop into a colonised individual. This is where his colonial backgroung is rewritten. There are many forces at work within the narrative, which slowly but surely change Tee's natural character. This became possible through her western style education and by the desire of Aunt Beatrice. Tee's past becomes distorted through Aunt Beatrice's desire for her children to be accepted into middle class society. It is easy to change to perception of young children whilst they learn new things about the word they live in, and this is what happens to Tee. The aspiring class often show distaste towards the lower classes of society through condescension. We view this when Beatrice visits Tees at Tantie's house, "Don't touch anything children". This class distinction is apparent throughout the narrative, we see Tantie repeatedly refer to Beatrice as " the b***h". In her new society Beatrice expected Tee to receive the same education that was provided for the relatives of the colonizer. She was subjected to many European lessons. This resulted in Tee acquiring European culture. Tee was taught many concepts that she had no prior knowledge of as they were not relevant and were not an everyday occurrence in her own life. Her first few months at school were hard as she found it difficult to make the adjustment. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Tee is alone in Trinidad both these women have imence influence over her. The conflict between these two parties can never be resolved fully therefore Tee is never able to resolve the problem and choose one form of life in place of the other. This conflict arises from Tantie's and Beatrice's distaste for the respective other class. Tantie often refers to Beatrice as 'The b***h' whereas Beatrice instils middle class ideals in Tee, that blacks are worse people that white people. Tee cannot find anything positive to link herself to therefore is unsure about her identity until the end of the narrative. We see that she is psychologically torn regarding her social relevance. Tee is not much more than a child when the book ends and her problems are left unresolved. For Tee England promises a new start and an opportunity to think about her identity away from the conflict of home. The novel has an ambiguous ending and we never receive a resolution to Tees problems, " I desired with all my heart that it were the next morning and a plane were lifting me off the ground". This is the unfortunate outcome a colonial education has on the collinised members of society. The education given had the intention of 'civilasing' and bettering the prospects of it's participants. By rewriting the culture and background the question is raised if this 'help' given by the Europeans did more harm that good to children like Tee. ...read more.

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