Writing Gender, Re-writing Nation: Wide Sargasso Sea, Annie John, Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home and Myal: Rebecca Ashworth
The second half of the twentieth century saw a dramatically increased visibility of women’s writing in the Caribbean literary project of self-definition, with certain voices emerging as a defining presence. In reaction to the colonial inscription of the white Creole woman in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) sought to re-inscribe an alternative subjectivity. Merle Hodge’s pioneering novel Crick Crack, Monkey (1970) was an early indicator of the approaching boom in African-Caribbean women’s writing in the 1980s that emphasized gender as a valuable and necessary site of analysis in the region’s project for decolonization. Pivotal texts at this time both recorded and contested the colonial presence in education and socialization, including Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John (1985) and Erna Brodber’s Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home (1980) and Myal (1988).