Sunday, 1 April 2012

Cambridge by Caryl Phillips

Character Sketch

Emily Cartwright is one of the main characters in the novel and one of the protagonists. She is rich, classy and strong willed white woman. From the beginning of the novel readers learn of her high expectations and kind heart towards everyone she meets. As she narrates the first chapter, the readers learns of plantation life through the eyes of an heiress.

Cambridge is a strong willed and God fearing Negro slave. He is strengthen by his Christian faith but weakened by white oppressors. He is a very determined character and helps to create conflict within the novel. He is one of the protagonists in the play and reveals himself in the second chapter as he narrates his plantation experience.

Isabella is a willing and dedicated servant of Emily Cartwright. She dies on their journey to the tropical island from a fever. She was a good example of the different reasons aiding to the trials of those who decided to settle in the Caribbean during the era of slavery.

Stella is a bold, large Negro woman. She was very caring towards her "madam" Emily and did not hesitate in fulfilling her assigned duties.

Mr. McDonald is the well able physician of the plantation. He was a very caring,intelligent and humane man. He was well versed in understanding the life in the tropical island and was very willing to share his knowledge with anyone who would listen.

Mr. Wilson is the stern manager of the plantation. He was a very strong-willed white man who not very popular around the entire tropical island. He was assigned to report to to Emily's father but instead he turned out to be a thief. He constantly stole from the plantation and eventually fled to a neighbouring island.

Mr. Brown was the overseer of the plantation. He was well known for being the enforcer of stern punishment in order to keep the slaves in line due to fear of revolt.

Mr. Rogers was a weary old man who lived on the plantation but seemed really bored with his life in the tropics.

Narrative Techniques

This novel employs the use of many narrative techniques. It is extremely vivid in description. Each scene is clearly explained by the narrator which creates great images in the mind of the reader. As the book plays out one learns of plantation life during the era of Slavery through the eyes of an heiress and the eyes of a tormented Negro Christian. Intense details is given of each of their encounters as the novel unravels. The intentions of the writer becomes exemplifies by the strong use of personification and diction that hooks the reader.

Personal View

My personal view on the novel is that it is very vivid in detail, so one has a clear understanding of what the writer is emitting. The novel takes the reader back into the times of slavery, and gives one the appreciation for being a young black girl within these modern times. The experience of our Negro- forefathers in intensely underscored by this novel. Although at first hand one sees it through the eyes of the slave owner, emotions are still played upon and the perceptiveness of wanting freedom as a slave is inevitable. The trails of the slave Cambridge are heartbreaking. His constant fight for freedom is commendable as many of the slaves were not as bold in their fight to be freed and return to their native land. As his brutal fight ends with him being hung, one can't control the melancholic feeling deep within.

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