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Brown Girl, Brownstones

bildungsroman

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bridgnorth Shropshire to Anthony Burgess [John Anthony Burgess Wilson Burgess] Biography

a novel by Paule Marshall, published in 1959. This compassionate and richly layered novel relates the story of Selina Boyce, the daughter of Barbadian immigrants, and through her perspective, the story of her parents, Silla and Deighton. A gallery of minor portraits provides a panoramic view of black life in Brooklyn. Brought up by her hard-working, austere, and resilient mother, Selina yearns for freedom, always aware of its negative aspects as embodied by her feckless, doomed father. Her love for her mother is underwritten by the double legacy of guilt and sacrifice she must bear, and the Caribbean roots she longs to recover. The novel works on several levels: as a feminist bildungsroman; as a study of the Caribbean immigrant experience in the context of the wider black American community; and as a loving tribute to the strength, resilience, and humour of Caribbean women.

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