Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor
229B Mc Micken Hall
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
Office # (513) 556-0834
Fax # (513) 556-5960
Questions -- Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother
What role does genealogy play in Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother? How is the colonized subject "genealogy-less," existing within a "non-genealogical time" (112): how does this statement seem true for female protagonist in Kincaid's Autobiography?
How is maternal genealogy disrupted in Autobiography? How is Xuelaís relationship to her mother similar to Annie John's? How is the relationship different? Does Xuela seek surrogate mothers --"doubles for my mother became indispensable" (Khatibi, 91) -- as Annie John does? What is Xuela's relationship to her father? How is the biological "father" invested with power? Does he represent the colonial "law of the Father"?
Kincaid uses the symbol of dormancy to illustrate the manís power over the people and the land. How does she show the ocean in contrast to this dormancy? (137) How is the symbol of the sea important?
What is Xuelaís relationship to language -- French patois, colonial English? Why does she vacillate between language and silence, speech and aphasia? How does Xuela enact both language and silence as acts of resistance?
Explore the themes of rebirth and metamorphosis in the autobiographical works of Jamaica Kincaid -- include elements from the stories from At the Bottom of the River, the novels Annie John and Autobiography of My Mother. Incorporate quotes, points from the secondary readings, if possible.
Analyze the importance of mother substitutes and love objects in Jamaica Kincaid's literary autobiographical works -- either relationships, friendships, land, sea, etc. Why are these "love" objects important? What do they reveal about Kincaid's writing? the importance of writing for Kincaid? can writing also be seen as a maternal substitute in Kincaidís autobiographical world? Use the primary literary texts, secondary readings, and interviews to substantiate your response.
Offer a parallel reading of mother-motherland and father-patria in Kincaidís autobiographical works. What is the relationship of mother-motherland to colonialism? to a postcolonial critique in of Kincaidís texts? Use specific examples from several literary works and secondary sources to answer this question. Consider: Xuela, Annie, Annie John, the policeman-father in Autobiography.
How does Kincaid develop a distinctly counter-western world view or perspective in her autobiographical works? How is darkness configured? Silence? Language? Religion? Death? Use specific examples from several literary works and secondary sources to answer this question.
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