chapter  2
“With the utmost familiarity”
Black and white women
Pages 18

The crucial interdependence of the West Indies and the “mother country” informs Catherine Hall’s conclusion that “English national identity . . . cannot be understood outside of England’s colonial dependencies. Jamaica, a small island in the Caribbean, may never have been seen by the majority of the English population yet it occupied a place in their imaginary” (1992: 242-3). Similarly, notions of “whiteness” were inextricably bound up with current definitions of “blackness,” so that as we have seen, constructions of the white mistress are necessarily dependent on constructions of the black female slave or servant.