Symbolism In Minty Alley

891 Words4 Pages
C.L.R. James’ novel Minty Alley is a reflection that speaks to the material and fraught relations between descendents of West African slaves and Indian coolies, or contract laborers, in Trinidad. It is the epitome of working-class life and culture, and, indirectly, the incongruity between that life and the life of the black bourgeoisie. It is a sliver of West Indian life, carefully detailed and unsentimental; conceptualized through the receptivity of the middle-class new comer, who, though of African descent, had been inclined to a greater, yet, obstinately, more limited and forced, realism; a different life. “The yard is not simply a folkloric metaphor, a convenient symbol of "the people"-- but rather a cultural mapping that is itself informed by the contradictory projects of cultural and national identity. It is a spatial metaphor that engages history, class, national and racial consciousness within the public dramas and confrontations that structure the plots of yard fiction” (LITS2025 3). James uses his main protagonist, Haynes who is unsuspecting of the lives of the people of No.2, to illustrate the revolution of their society. Antonio Benitez-Rojo as cited in LITS2025 defines the yard as, "a perennial feature of Caribbean cities, and his definition privileges the difference and otherness of the yard as a "fetal, miniscule nodule of turbulence" that "is a result of the plantation, and it is at once the anti-plantation" (211). The yard engages history, class,
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