Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Cheryl Duffus

Abstract

Elizabeth Nunez is a Trinidadian author, critic, and professor who explores the development of female identity within Trinidadian society through her fictional and critical writings. Nunez's article, "The Paradoxes of Belonging," questions the identity of the white creole woman in the Caribbean as she lives in exile due to rejection from her European heritage as well as Afro-Caribbean society. Nunez questions this shaping and questioning of identity through her own fictional works with the formation of her female characters. She uses her native country of Trinidad as the main setting to develop black and biracial female characters and utilizes the impact of familial and societal ideologies in order to show how the Trinidadian female identity adapts and rejects the gender roles that are placed on them. Nunez's novels, When Rocks Dance , Bruised Hibiscus , and Prospero's Daughter present readers with three different family units in which female children are being raised. When Rocks Dance follows the black girl that is raised by her single mother in Trinidad. Bruised Hibiscus introduces readers to a family in which a biracial girl is raised by a mother who alienates her from society and her own family due to her skin color. While Prospero's Daughter presents the situation of a white girl that is being raised in Trinidad by her widowed father. Each novel presents readers with a different scenario in which a female child is raised and how her identity is then constructed: the present mother, the absent mother, and the widowed father. Nunez uses these family units in order to show how the Trinidadian female identity is affected by different settings, but that ultimately there is a common ground of exile for the Caribbean woman due to marginalization and isolation due to the child's race and gender.

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