Compare and Contrast Beka Lamb and Miguel Street

Topics: Belize, History of Belize, Belizean Kriol people Pages: 7 (2715 words) Published: June 12, 2013
 Most writers of the Caribbean have been preoccupied by particular themes and have adhered to mutual tracks, while often contrasted in approach and writing. The possibility or impossibility of the account of one’s story, when the very concept of the individual has been crushed by slavery and colonisation, the circumstances of advent of a new Caribbean identity, the analysis of the past, writing in exile and lastly, landscape and nature: where the environment or surrounding tells the story, is an essential basis of examination of oneself and one’s community.  Writers have also frequently concentrated on former oral and social customs, so as to examine carefully the fragment they assimilate in the advancement of modern-day society and consciousness. In both Miguel Street and Beka Lamb the impact of colonisation that influenced the major themes such as the issue of identity, exile and migration, and women, will be epitomised by comparing and contrasting. Beka Lamb was issued in 1982, the year subsequent to independence, but it portrays to the reader somewhat of the late 1970s, right between the political melee that conflicted the British Crown and Guatemala, a country whose territorial prerogatives on British Honduras had been extensively deliberated on the Belizean community. The social jeopardy that Edgell produces consist of the indigenous peril that Creoles, harbour, from the increasing Hispanic populace and the socioeconomic hindrances that Creoles experience as they endeavour to ascend from inferior to intermediate status--all in the wider perspective of Belize upgrading from just a society to an independent state. Zee Edgell gives the impression of hope, that, through suitable discipline, Creoles can equally redeem their rank in the Belizean indigenous hierarchy and also journey from lowly to more proficient professions--and without negotiating too much of their affluent ethnic heritage. During the course of the novel Belize is publicised as a country still vacillating between its embryonic national consciousness and a post-colonial viewpoint, a country wedged amid contrasting but pre-determined visions of itself. It is in this socio-political milieu that the story of Beka is established. The contending allegiances at play in the country, exasperating one’s search for identity, are echoed in the central character of the novel. From the article entitled, “The Wake in Caribbean Literature: a Celebration of Self-knowledge and Community” says, One of the best examples in Caribbean fiction of the dialectic relationship between the individual and society, between the child and its community is reverberated through the protagonist of the novel. Politics and community life are much more in the novel than a mere backdrop for an individual life-story. They are the inner landscape of every individual, of every child in Belize society, and Beka’s quest for a viable identity, for a consistent self-image, reflects a collective undertaking (Misrahi-Barak, Judith). In the introduction of “Caribbean Women Writers”, it says, The figure of the grandmother is an obvious emblem of the continuing influence of the past as pervasive in Caribbean women’s fiction, often like Velma Pollard’s ‘Gran’ who is a master baker, recollected in terms of a practical skill: Ma Chess in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John is a healer ... Granny Ivy in Zee Edgell’s Beka Lamb or the grandmother in Dionne Brands’s short story ‘Photograph’, or an association with its rural beauty, like Ma in Merle Hodge’s Crick Crack Monkey or the grandmother in Marlene Nourbese Philip’s Harriet’s Daughter (Condé, Mary). Miguel Street is Naipaul’s semi-nonfictional description of his juvenile home, Trinidad. Miguel Street is actually a “sneak-peek” account of the innate farcicality that immensely embodies the lives of Trinidadians (a microcosm of Trinidad) or to an extent the West Indies. The arrangement of the book is layered and proposes that Naipaul could have been motivated from...

Cited: Condé, Mary. “Caribbean Women Writers”. Palgrave Macmillan. (1999): 3-4. Print.
Edgell, Zee. “Beka Lamb”. Heinemann Educational Publishers. Jordan Hill. (1982): 119-20. Print.
Edward Baugh. "Reflections on “The Quarrel with History”." Small Axe 16.2 (2012): 108-118. Project MUSE. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Horan, Kaite. Ed. Voices from the Gaps. University of Minnesota, 3 Dec. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. < http://voices.cla.umn.edu/essays/fiction/beka_lamb.html>.
Misrahi-Barak, Judith. Ed. The Wake in Caribbean Literature: a Celebration of Self-knowledge and Community. 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. < http://laboratoires.univ-reunion.fr/oracle/documents/224.html>.
Naipaul, V.S. “Miguel Street”. United States. Vintage Books Publishers. (1959): 13-27, 204-07. Print.
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