Discuss the Relationship Between Modernity and Tradition in French-Caribbean Creole Culture?

Topics: French language, Martinique, Caribbean Pages: 7 (2622 words) Published: May 27, 2010
Discuss the relationship between Modernity and Tradition in French-Caribbean Creole culture In order to address the question, we should first fully understand the terms modernity and Creole culture and then analyse how the two intertwine, and then decipher to what extent there is a relationship. The definition of Modernity used in this essay will be that modernity is’ the quality of being current or of the present’. Whereas for Creole culture we have more difficulty, Creole culture can be the people, the language; however as the essay is dealing with their tradition we will use their search for an identity as the basis for their culture. ‘Caribbean identity came not only from the heritage of ex-slaves, but was equally influenced by indigenous Caribbeans, European colonialists, East Indian and Chinese coolies (indentured servants)’ (Ormerod, Beverley, 1998). Therefore it was the joint search for a cultural history that led to their identity, and as they were all uprooted from their original homes they were unable to share in a single culture, so they shared in the joint search. This became the basis for their Creole culture. Within this essay one will see how there has always been a relationship between modernity and tradition, and that it is more prominent now than it ever has been. Immediately through their cultural identity one could conclude that French-Carribbean Creole culture was created by the modernity of its time. One could argue that the Creole culture was only recently created through their uprooting and search for an identiy. There was a demand for slaves and these Africans became the answer. Therefore one could argue that modernity created Creole culture and that there is a very strong link and relationship between the two. However it is a lot more complex than this and within this essay I will attempt to show this relationship, firstly by looking back and showing that it was originally there in their homelands of Africa. I will then show the differing opinions and how some think they should embrace the relationship and others think the complete opposite. I will then show how through misinterpretations many think there is not a relationship, through the rise and decline of negritude, then the clear relationship between modernity and tradition through the rise of ‘Créolité’. I will then conclude that there is a relationship, that they are embracing it, and then show how their culture is very similar to that of the westerners despite what both might think or say Despite the many contrasting issues, one cannot deny that there was a relationship even back in Africa. One would think 'lorsqu'un viellard du village meurt, c'est toute une biblioteque qui disparait', but we know that this wasn’t the case. Stories and moral lessons were always passed on, a new ‘Viellard’ would emerge and tell the same stories and lessons however each put a more modern spin on it so the next generations could relate. In this way there is a clear relationship between modernity and tradition, even from the beginning. Through their many narrative devices and uses of rhetoric, such as Krik-Krak, repetition and rhetorical questions, the audience would be tested so they were paying attention and the lessons would be forever passed on. The viellard was more than a library he was a social and moral code of behaviour. The viellard was the head of society and so-called leader; therefore we know that there is a serious relationship between modernity and tradition if their leader sees the importance in the use of a modern spin, and the continuation of the old morals through modern mediums.

There are many misinterpretations about Carribean-creole culture, which has dramatically affected the views towards the relationship of modernity and tradition. Many view Cesaire ‘as the absolute authority as though his work and thought were one monolithic whole’ (Rosello, 1995, 52). However one should properly understand that Ceasire had nothing to do with the...
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