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Short Story and Caribbean Background

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I believe that “Some People are Meant to Live Alone” and “Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers” both reflect the beginning of the Caribbean writing style. You can tell through the characters and settings that the writing reflects the Caribbean. The authors describe the settings and the main characters as you were standing right in front of them. I believe that the authors, Frank Collymore and Jean Rhys, have to describe the characters and setting intensively to get the point across so that these stories have a Caribbean background. During that time most writers were getting away from writing with the Caribbean background. “There is little that is obviously Caribbean except a few details of the setting like the references to jalousies and whistling frogs and while we can admire its particular qualities this story also serves to remind us of the cultural assumptions many of the other writers in the anthology have striven to break away from.”

But as I said, in these stories the characters and the settings bring forth the Caribbean background. In the two stories that I have chosen, there are some themes that they both share. The main characters are both isolated from other people, rumors are often spread about them, and they are often thought bad of on the island. All of these themes or characteristics can be related with the Caribbean background during the Pioneer Movement. Because during that time it was important of your status and color on these islands. Collymore, Frank. “Some People Are Meant to Live Alone.” The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. By Stewart Brown and John Wickham. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. 1-8. Print.

In “Some People are Meant to Live Alone” the character is isolated from other people on the island. This relates to the beginning of the Caribbean because the islands were isolated from the rest of the world at the time. The islands had a mixture of several cultures due to being the resting point between the United States and Europe. Also many people fled to the islands due to their own countries declining. “It will only show you what some people will do to … Yes, some people are meant to live alone.” This left the original citizens on the island trying to prove that their work original. Uncle Arthur had been shut out of the world just like the beginning of the Caribbean writings. Author Frank Collymore tells us that Caribbean writing can be a separate style. Just like Uncle Arthur, some people are meant to be alone and are content. This story may not be a best seller but you can tell where the roots come from. That these short stories come from the Caribbean and they reflect the movement of its time. Rhys, Jean. “Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers.” The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. By Stewart Brown and John Wickham. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. 9-17. Print.

In the next short story any reader can tell that it comes from a different movement of history. The “Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers” has to do more with the color of the skin and your rank. As your reading the story it makes you feel as if you were standing in front of Mr. Ramage. “Ramage had first arrived in the island two years before, a handsome man in tropical kit, white suit, red cummerbund, solar topee.” Jean Rhys, the author, further goes into describing the difference between the people on the island with skin color and their rank in society. This was a separate style of writing during the time because there are few places on the planet where you can see this happen and write about it. In the Caribbean, your rank and the color of your skin determine how your life is on the island.

If Mr. Ramage were a lower rank or a different color he could have been killed. Caribbean’s on the island thought that he was crazy, but due to his power and color he was left alone. Another example of the early movement would be the citizens on island spreading rumors of Ramage which eventually led him to taking his life. Stories like these are what made the movement and the writing style unique for its time. There is a different life style on the island and to this day it continues. These two stories are a few examples of a separate style of writing coming out of the Caribbean.

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