Taking it with them: Elsewhere consciousness in the fiction of Edwidge Danticat, Paule Marshall, and Jamaica Kincaid




Winterbottom, Linda A.

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This dissertation examines and develops the trope of "elsewhereness" in select fictional works by Edwidge Danticat, Paule Marshall, and Jamaica Kincaid. It presents an analysis that engages with and extends two earlier critical uses of the "elsewhereness" trope: those of Carole Boyce Davies and Michael Hanchard, both of whom theorize the term within discourses of Black Female Migratory Subjectivity and African Diasporas. Focusing mainly on female protagonists in the literature of Danticat, Marshall, and Kincaid, this analysis identifies a number of modes of "elsewhereness" that appear across these texts. The argument is that "elsewhereness" operates in these fictional narratives of post-colonial diasporic consciousness for female black Caribbean-American characters who strive for agency and an affirming sense of self while negotiating family and culture in the context of the painful histories of oppression wrought through the institutions of slavery and colonization. I further argue that by deploying constructs of "elsewhered" female Afro-Caribbean diasporic characters, Danticat, Marshall, and Kincaid produce a useful and collective study of the cultural and identiary problems and possibilities of Afro-Caribbean and Caribbean-American diasporic subjectivity. Thus this dissertation extends and develops the critical discourse on postcolonial narratives of Caribbean-American diasporic identity as a rich category within the broader spectrum of Comparative American Literatures.


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Danticat, Edwidge, daughters, elsewhereness, Kincaid, Jamaica, Marshall, Paule, mothers