Abstract

The Caribbean “yard” narrative is a uniquely regional literary genre whose significance lies in its critique of the economic deprivation and social marginalization of the impoverished yet richly communal spaces of the “yard”—a backyard space shared by multiple dwellings. This essay focuses on C.L.R. James’s Minty Alley (1936), where this genre is inaugurated in novelistic form, and explores the performative dimensions of communal exuberance through which the yard narrative seeks to challenge the limitations of material destitution. The struggle against poverty, containment, and social insignificance is here represented as a spatial phenomenon whose implicit origin lies in the history of colonialism and slavery with their transformation of the human being into a tool of capitalist production. The social outcasts’ struggle to forge human bonds and preserve personal dignity within the squalid spaces of the yard signals a form of local resistance to the logic of material ownership, defying it through the performance of communal intimacy and engaged participation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1932-8656
Print ISSN
1932-8648
Pages
pp. 40-55
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-24
Open Access
No
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