Identity and dislocation in Caribbean women's literature: a study of the writings of Velma Pollard

Schulenburg, Darlene (2001) Identity and dislocation in Caribbean women's literature: a study of the writings of Velma Pollard. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Jamaican-born Velma Pollard has been publishing poetry and short stories for nearly thirty years. Her first poems appeared in the 1970s, her first volume of short stories in 1989, and her first novel in 1994. Despite this considerable literary output, in the evergrowing critical literature on Caribbean women's writing Pollard's work has not attracted any of the scholarly treatment accorded to other writers. Given this lack of critical attention to Pollard's considerable body of work, this thesis aims to provide the first detailed and contextualised study of her writings (excluding the majority of her poetry and of her writings on linguistics), and to accord Pollard the recognition her work deserves. Chapter 1 of this thesis situates Pollard's writings in the context of Caribbean (women's) literature, and writings on identity, dislocations and (Caribbean) migration. I argue that Pollard's principal contribution to Caribbean literature is found in her engagement with two main subjects, return migration and relationships (male-female and female-female), within a wider context of debates on identity and dislocation. Chapter 2 introduces Pollard's work by way of a general discussion of her novella Karl, which won the Casa de las Americas literary award in 1992. I consider Karl to be central to Pollard's work, not least because it features many of the themes explored by her later writings, including her novel, Homestretch, which is the subject of Chapter 3. Pollard's first novel, Homestretch, which was published in 1994, explores the themes of identity and dislocation through the experiences of 'return migrants' and 'repeat migrants' and their comparison of life in England, the United States and Jamaica. The novel chronicles how these migrants come to reconnect with and accept their cultural heritage. In chapters 4 and 5 I discuss selected stories taken from Pollard's two collections of short stories, Considering Woman ('Cages', 'My Sisters', 'My Mother', and 'Gran') and from Karl and Other Stories ('A Night's Tale', 'Miss Chandra', 'Betsy Hyde', and 'Altamont Jones'). In these stories Pollard explores male-female relationships and the lives of several generations and a wide range of Caribbean women and men. Pollard utilises the West Indian setting, speech, situations and conflicts in these stories to graphically describe familiar Caribbean role models and to provide a narrative and literary examination of the frustrations and conflicting desires of women in the region. In my conclusion, I address the ethnographic quality and significance of her work, and its contribution to an understanding of the Caribbean.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: Master of Philosophy Awarded by Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education now University of Gloucestershire
Uncontrolled Keywords: Caribbean Literature, Women writers; Literature, Jamaica; Pollard, Velma
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 15:38
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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