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Xuela's Character in Jamaica Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mom Writer

Project id 1005197
Subject area Self Improvement
Document type Essay
Words 2950
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Many critics of this Autobiography of my Mother have commented on the unrealistic facets of Xuela's extremist personality. Her lack of remorse, her psychological detachment, her love of the dirty and "impure," along with her swallowing demand for total control over everyone and everything around her give her an almost mythic quality. A more resilient, humanistic character could have doubts and failings which Xuela does not appear to possess. In light of Xuela's deep bitterness of authority, obstinate love of this unacceptable, intense rejection of the ìmaster-slaveî relationship, and most pointedly - her hatred of the British and British civilization, many critics have embraced the concept that Xuela is highly symbolic of the conquered, colonized races whose bloodstream makes up her own. There are lots of complicated parallels between Xuela's character as well as the collective mind and cultural beliefs of Dominica's "conquered" races. However, rather than sinking in despair, Xuela fails to accept her lot in life. Early on, she rejects the imposed cultural perception of herself as inferior. Her description of her basic schoolteacher is prescient: "a woman of the African men and women, that I could see, and she found in this a source of embarrassment and self-loathing, and she wore grief like an article of clothing, like a mantle, along with a staff on which she leaned always, a birthright which she'd pass on to us" (15). Xuela then explains the differentiation between Africans and Caribs in her Dominica. "My mom was a Carib girl, and when they (the course) looked at me this is exactly what they watched. The Carib people had been conquered and then exterminated, thrown off such as the weeds in a garden; the African people had been defeated but had lived. When...

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