Journal article
Orality and the Re-enactment of Memory


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Publication Details
Subtitle: History, Ritual, and African-Caribbean Resistance in The Chosen Place, the Timeless People
Author list: Ashma Shamail
Publication year: 2015
Journal: International Journal of Humanities and Management Sciences
Journal name in source: International Journal of Humanities and Management Sciences
Journal acronym: IJHMS
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 6
Start page: 435
End page: 438
Number of pages: 4
ISSN: 2320-4036
Web of Science ID:
PubMed ID:
Scopus ID:


African-Caribbean women writers have
constructed the topic of ‘return’ and ‘homeland’ by exploring
their mixed racial inheritances and heritages. By linking to
historical places, these women have left an indelible imprint of
black heritage and culture all along the island borders.
Novelist Paule Marshall’s works often return to the Caribbean
islands of her ancestors focusing on history, memory, and
identity. Marshall’s novel The Chosen Place, the Timeless
People (1969) focuses upon communities with stress on
communal reconciliation with the past.
Orality as a dynamic form of knowledge gathering resource
with ancient roots offers stories, images, practices that are
articulated and acknowledged indicating the potential value of
cultural performances. Through the ritual Carnival, Marshall’s
characters recall past into present consciousness through
memory. They use oral history and collective community
building to reconnect with African roots that is necessary for
identity development. Dance, music, customs, and festivals
describe not only events of cultural importance inscribed in
memory and passed through generations, but serve to express
or record the hardships, sufferings, defeats and victories
among populations of the African diaspora. Carnival as the
central event that relates to the main story re-creates the
people’s memory connecting them to remembered history. The
ritualistic reenactment of the drama of slave revolt in the
Carnival every year on the fictitious Bourne Island symbolizes
African Caribbean resistance to oppression. The paper
attempts to create a conceptual space examining the
incorporation of memory into history, retelling stories, and
healing, through the ritual Carnival. 


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Last updated on 2018-30-10 at 10:17