Being Within and Without: The Effects of Colonial Education and the Genre of Bildungsroman on Double Consciousness in Crick Crack, Monkey

Main Article Content

Agatha Miodowski


Merle Hodge, the author of Crick Crack, Monkey (1970) dexterously portrays the maturation of a young girl, Tee, affected by the imposition of European models onto her Trinidadian culture. I argue that this imposition is chiefly advanced though a repressive colonial education, both formal and informal, and manifests in Tee as double consciousness. Tee internalizes the class and race conflicts exacerbated by a pro-British establishment which leads to an identity split that can not be reconciled. Race, class and education are interwoven, turning them from separate concepts to an imperial identity of Britishness which alienates Tee from her own heritage by causing her to view herself as a reflection of this destructive force of colonial power. Additionally, I acknowledge that writing in the genre Bildungsroman sets a different sort of obstacle for Hodge. Writers of the Caribbean novel of maturation exist in a literary limbo--their classification as a Bildungsroman has been heavily contested, thwarting their attempts to rediscover a unique cultural heritage through their writings. The traditions of the Bildungsroman as a nationalistic, patriarchal text yields very different results when placed in the context of a third-world, postcolonial, female-centered novel of development. The use of the Bildungsroman in West Indian literature compounds the effects of racial othering and the imposed infantilization of the colonized people which reflects in the structural components of the genre.

Article Details