Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

American Influence in Trinidad

A Brighter Sun by Samuel Selvon really struck me in the way the U.S. and the Whites not only have influenced other countries but the minds of the individuals living in these countries, as seen through Tiger in the novel.  After getting married at the tender age of 16 and starting his own family, Tiger, initially finds himself trying to replicate the ‘Indian model’ of living in a small village in Trinidad. However, as time progresses, Tiger learns how to read and desires to become more educated while the town he lives in starts to change, particularly by the infiltration of the Americans. As the Americans decide to build a road across the village, Tiger gets excited with the idea of working for the Americans and this opportunity gets him thinking of new ideas particularly the idea of improving his life in all ways and living better. Although this is a positive thing, this infatuation for the new really puts him in a bad position with his wife, who feels that he has become preoccupied with things that have put her and the family second. This juxtaposition is interesting, because it shows the power that the actions of the Americans  had on culture and on a society who was not necessarily ready for change or even wanting change. The old traditional way of living means retention of culture, while the new means challenging these values, or getting rid of them completely.

2 Comments

  1. I am so intrigued by the continuance of culture. That within generations, traditional dances are passed down, old sayings are reworded, and certain practices are left behind. As a new generation emerges, what the preceding generation has outlined undergoes a process of being accepted, altered, or rejected.
    There is a constant negotiation between two generations to perfectly find the balance between preserving and evolving.

  2. I find it interesting how once the British were somewhat out the picture the Americans came swooping in. When we learn about colonization the role the US had on destabilizing other nations is rarely investigated. For example, in most parts of Africa the US was able to exploit resources in a more subtle manner. And this is virtually the same thing that happens today in the Caribbean.

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