Yam, Roots, and Rot: Allegories of the Provision Grounds
Abstract

Abstract:

The historical and metaphysical connection between humans and the soil seems to be of vital significance to the recuperative power associated with the provision grounds, a relationship I trace by turning to Erna Brodber's allegorical novel, The Rainmaker's Mistake (2007). Drawing upon the work of Sylvia Wynter and others about the differing plots of the plantation and the provision grounds, this essay explores how Brodber challenges the plot of plantation narratives and employs allegory to excavate the roots of the provision grounds, particularly the figure of the yam. While roots are a generative metaphor for cultural origins, Brodber demonstrates that decay is the material way in which we know history has passed and thus is key to the articulation of time and nature itself, a position with profound implications for the region's historiography.