Chapter

The Return of the Native: Jean Rhys and the Caribs (1936)

Peter Hulme

in Remnants of Conquest

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780198112150
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670688 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112150.003.0005
The Return of the Native: Jean Rhys and the Caribs (1936)

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Jean Rhys's knowledge is intricately connected with her ‘old’ and ‘complicated’ feeling about the Caribs. Only once did that ‘complicated feeling’ confront the Caribs themselves, a visit to the Reserve that took place in 1936, during Rhys's one brief return to the island of her birth. Out of that visit came her long story, ‘Temps Perdi’, which was only published in 1969, but possibly written, or drafted, soon after the visit. That story is this chapter's main point of reference. It has been apparent that outside attitudes towards the Caribs have been inseparable from attitudes towards the majority Afro-Dominican population. Rhys's position is different from that of many visitors in two respects. She wrote fictional texts and she belonged to a Dominican family. The complexity of that sense of family, and the ambivalence inevitably associated with a native return, forms the themes of the chapter.

Keywords: Jean Rhys; Caribs; Temps Perdi; fictional texts; Afro-Dominicans; family; native return; attitudes

Chapter.  15731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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