By Julio Cortazar
His first political novel.
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If he had, he would no doubt have concluded that Jean Veneuse was abandoned by his mother because ‘‘Jean Vene22 The Caribbean as Imagined by Historians and Psychoanalysts use is ugly. He is black’’ (Fanon 80). Fanon does warn the reader that he would lack objectivity if he thought Jean Veneuse’s neurosis typical of the ‘‘man of color as such’’ and states that he cannot generalize here anymore than he would in the case of Mayotte Capécia (81). Yet in ‘‘La Femme de couleur et le blanc,’’ (‘‘The Woman of Color and the White Man’’) the woman of color’s perverted agenda is universalized, becoming emblematic of a whole race.
The mother forces her daughter to be quiet and acquiescent and her son to be boastful about his virility. As soon as the son manifests any kind of emotionality or feelings not associated with sex, the mother, states André, puts him back in rank by calling him a makomé, a queer (Inceste 165). And we’ve known since Fanon that a Caribbean man simply ‘‘cannot’’ be a makomé, as Jacques André (Inceste 158), James Arnold, and others have remarked. This sharp division made by André between the two genders and their ensuing respective freedoms and duties is also noticeable at a linguistic level: the girl should not use Creole, as it is vulgar and sexual, but the boy’s 24 The Caribbean as Imagined by Historians and Psychoanalysts use of Creole is a display of strength and triumphant sexuality (André, Inceste 63–65).
Or have these exaggerations come from the white establishment, eager to validate the stereotype of the black woman as a whore and therefore devoid of any maternal feelings? ’’ (116). ’’ Just like Gabriel Debien, she cites evidence that ‘‘disease, malnutrition, and illness resulting from overwork were important contributors to male and female subfecundity’’ (119). These factors undoubtedly explain to some extent the low birthrate among slave women, yet this positivist insistence on logic, reason, and common sense at all costs results in an ideological reading on the part of the two historians in the sense that it obfuscates an important dimension of women slaves’ daily lives and attitudes: resistance.
A Manual for Manuel by Julio Cortazar