This article explores how the Belizean writer Zee Edgell's novel Beka Lamb uses the bildungsroman to point to contradictions in both colonial discourse and narratives of nationalist decolonization. The bildungsroman is a genre that provokes unsettling and valuable insights when found in Caribbean women's literature. It brings with it assumptions about individual subjectivity, progress, and socialization that underlie modes of justification for colonialist and misogynist practice and yet can be used to expose the shortcomings of models of development and to foreground the priorities of Caribbean women's literature. In Beka Lamb Edgell uses the bildungsroman to engage a debate between discourses of identity, Creolization, and relationality in the Caribbean by juxtaposing a young girl's maturation and her diverse nation's decolonization. In the process of adapting this genre for new ideological and cultural purposes, Edgell reveals the creativity and flexibility of the genre.
Heather Smyth; “She Had Made a Beginning Too”: Beka Lamb and the Caribbean Feminist Bildungsroman. Genre 1 June 2011; 44 (2): 181–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-1260194
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