Thank you :)

This class has become one of my favorite classes at Emory. At first, I was a little nervous about taking the class. I know students from the Business school have a reputation or stigma about us in the college: they often make students in the College uncomfortable while taking classes at Goizueta, and I was worried about coming off as another arrogant B-school senior. I was equally nervous about taking a Women’s and Gender Studies course (subject matter that I have little exposure to) crossed with Comparative Literature and having to analyze text (something I haven’t done since my senior year of high school). From the choice of text and weekly discussions, this class has made me really appreciate my heritage and has made me proud to be a female. My favorite books are Wide Sargasso Sea, No Telephone to Heaven, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and Before Night Falls. Wide Sargasso Sea was difficult to read, but in retrospect I think it was a good introduction into the course and helped me gauge the level of analysis at which my colleagues were used to in their other classes. It was also amusing to read some of the Jamaican terms that I’ve heard growing up and how these terms have persisted since the time the novel was written. This novel also made me reflect on the impacts that colonization have left on the Caribbean, especially the class system and revolts against the imposed class system. Likewise, I enjoyed the depiction of Jamaica in No Telephone to Heaven. I was amused by the way Michelle Cliff switched between English and Patois, as I often do when I’m speaking with my family at home. It also made the think introspectively about having to bridge the gap between two cultures and finding acceptance within the two. Like Claire, I also have half-siblings, so I empathize with some of the differences she felt between her and her sister Jennie. The familial relationships in Breath, Eyes, Memory struck me the most. I felt it was a beautifully true story of the matriarchal society in the Caribbean (in contrast to a patriarchal society in the United States). I have always had a strong bond with my mother, so I enjoyed reading characters who do not share the same type of relationship with their mothers and seeing how their relationships change in the novel. Before Night Falls was the most surprising to me. First, it was the only novel we’ve read so far with a male protagonist. Second, Reinaldo Arenas’ autobiography was a striking account of the persecution writers and other “counter revolutionaries” faced in Cuba. What I appreciated most about the novel was how honest he was about all his experiences, even admitting that he had lost hope and pride at times. I’ve greatly enjoyed being in this class this semester. I truly felt welcome despite my lack of experience in feminist literature and love the discussions we have in class. Best of luck to all of you next year 🙂

2 thoughts on “Thank you :)

  1. Breath, Eyes, Memory is easily my new favorite book. The familial structure in the novel is astounding. I also really like the patois within NTTH. I found myself reading the novel aloud and I wondered how many other people did the same thing. It would be interesting to ask Cliff whether or not it was intended for readers to go beyond reading and enter into their own sort of performance art while engaging with this text. I’m glad you got a lot out of the class Donae, I find that I am always satiated in my comp lit classes. I wish you could’ve taken more in the department but late is better than never. I wish the best of luck to you as well at your awesome new job!

  2. I have to agree that Breath, Eyes, Memory is also a new favorite of mine. I really enjoyed everyone’s presence in the class. With your musical background I felt like you helped us with several of the different pieces. Good luck to you as well 🙂

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