The breast and its milk are of central importance in Maryse Condé’s Windward Heights, published in French in 1995 (English translation 1998) and set in Guadeloupe and Cuba at the turn of the century. This essay explores ways in which patriarchal order is being undermined by its upholders’ own attempts to silence, control, and erase both the black and white breast. Milk becomes a liquid catalyst that enables an ever-slippery, ever-morphing creolization, the process that leads to the creation of an alternative space for the collection and projection of female voice and history. Condé’s novel shows that while controlled métissage is attempted through the violation of the black and white breasts, creolization is undercutting this project, allowing the breast agency as well as space for rebellion. While the breast cannot be represented through the colonizer’s language, the voices submerged under it rise to the surface when breast milk flows are followed. This essay maps out these streams through an examination of alternative modes of family expansion that run counter to patriarchal lineage. Additionally the alternative network, or the many unheard voices that make up Conde’s text, is examined, as are the ways in which these women subvert and reimagine origin myths.

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