Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study examines Marshall's use of the trope of travel within and between the United States and the Caribbean to critique ideologies of Development, tourism, and globalization as neo-imperial. This examination of travel in Marshall's To Da-Duh, In Memoriam; The Chosen Place, The Timeless People; Praisesong for the Widow; and Daughters exposes the asymmetrical structures of power that exist between the two regions. In so doing, my study locates Marshall's concern about the imposition of power in the post-colonial period rather than exclusively in the Caribbean's colonial past. My close reading of these texts draws upon the vexed tradition of travel to the Caribbean including colonization, Development initiatives, tourism, and globalization.
The trajectory of this study follows Marshall's concerns about the growing influence of the United States on the Caribbean as the 20th century unfolds. Chapter One looks at "To Da-Duh, In Memoriam" to show how a young girl's travel to see her maternal grandmother in Barbados reveals the formidable presence of the United States as an emblem of modernity--and a potential antagonist to Barbadian sovereignty--on the eve of Barbados' independence. Chapter Two examines the travel of Development practitioners in The Chosen Place, The Timeless People to challenge the efficacy of Development practice in the Caribbean. Chapter Three considers how Marshall uses the travel of tourism in Praisesong for the Widow to question unambiguous representations of nationalism. Chapter Four looks at the travel by a bi-national, transnational elite protagonist in Daughters to show, on one level, how Marshall ultimately recognizes the inevitability of the United States' influence in the Caribbean, and, in turn, how she exposes the perpetuation of inequality that frames the seeming borderlessness of globalization.
By analyzing what may appear to be a rather simplistic trope of travel in Marshall's fiction within the vexed history of human interaction through travel between the United States and the Caribbean, this study shows how Marshall locates the later 20th century encounter between the United States and the Caribbean on a continuum of hegemony against the Caribbean from colonialism to the present.