Devlin is a business associate of Dexter’s. He tells Dexter that Judy’s beauty has faded and she has become a passive housewife to an alcoholic and abusive husband.
The story follows its main character, Dexter Green, over several years of his life. Fourteen at the beginning of the story, he is confident and full of ‘ ‘winter dreams” of a golden future. He feels superior to the other caddies, who are “poor as sin,” since he works only for pocket-money. He continually daydreams in “the fairways of his imagination” about gloriously besting the men for whom he caddies or dazzling them with fancy diving exhibitions.
The enterprising and resourceful young Dexter performs his duties expertly and so becomes the caddy most in demand at the club. As Mr. Jones notes, he never loses a ball, and he is a hard worker. Yet . . . Read More
At the beginning of the story, fourteen-year-old Dexter Green is a caddy at Sherry Island Golf Club. He works there only for pocket money, since his father owns “the second best grocery-store in Black Bear.” In the winter, Dexter frequently skis over the snow-covered fairways, a landscape that fills him with melancholy. During his days there, he frequently daydreams about becoming a golf champion and defeating the wealthy members of the club. One morning he abruptly quits when Judy Jones, a beautiful, eleven-year-old girl comes to play golf and treats him as an inferior.
Several years later he decides against attending the state university his father would have paid for and instead goes to a prestigious school in the East, although he has trouble affording it. The narrator makes it clear that he was more concerned with obtaining wealth than just associating with the wealthy.
After he graduates from college, . . . Read More
Marshall’s short story “To Da-duh, in Memoriam,” revolving around a rivalry between a grandmother and a granddaughter, functions within a series of contrasts as each female tries to prove that her world is superior. “I tried giving the contests I had sensed between us a wider meaning,” Marshall notes in her introduction to the story when it was included in Reena, and Other Stories. “I wanted the basic theme of youth and old age to suggest rivalries, dichotomies of a cultural and political nature, having to do with the relationship of western civilization and the Third World.” Marshall infuses “To Da-dun, in Memoriam” with small, careful details as well as large thematic concepts that explore those opposing forces, all of which contribute to the complex link between the vigorous American child and the aging island woman. Indeed, as Adam Gussow points out in The Village Voice, the love shared by grandmother and granddaughter is . . . Read More
By the 1930s, Barbados had been under British colonial rule for over three hundred years. Always a poor country ruled by a white, propertied minority, Barbados suffered throughout the 1930s. The rapidly growing population, rising cost of living, and fixed wage scale was exacerbated by the worldwide Great Depression. Riots broke out throughout British holdings in the Caribbean in the late 1930s. Protests in Barbados in 1937 resulted in the deaths of fourteen people.
The British rulers created a commission to look into the cause of these riots, and Grantley Adams, a Barbadian educated in England, rose to prominence after testifying that they resulted from economic distress. He formed the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 1938. In 1940, he was elected to the House of Assembly. Over the next few years, he led a reform movement that protected union leaders, increased direct taxation, and created a worker’s . . . Read More
Point of View
“To Da-duh, in Memoriam” is written from the first-person point of view. The majority of the story is viewed through the child narrator’s eyes. She recalls when she first met Da-duh, her first impression of the sugar cane fields, and the rivalry that exists between the two family members. Hers is the only voice the reader hears, and hers are the only eyes through which the reader sees Barbados and Da-duh. Thus the rivalry—and both participants’ reaction to it—is only explained as a nine-year-old child might have seen, or an adult looking back at the nine-year-old child that she was. At the end of the story, the narrator pulls back even further from the events that form the bulk of the story. Her narration of what happens after she and her family leave Barbados—the riots, the planes flying over the island, and her grandmother’s death—are told from the point of view of an adult looking back at . . . Read More
The story pits an aging Barbadian grandmother against her youthful American granddaughter. Upon their first meeting, the two sense a similarity in each other that far outweighs the differences presented by the seventy years between them. Most importantly, each has a stubborn strength of will and a confidence that her way of regarding the world is the right way.
The characters knowingly participate in this rivalry. Da-duh has the knowledge that comes with age and experience, but the narrator has the brash confidence of youth. Da-duh has her pride of place, showing off her land with its lush plants, trees, and cane fields. The narrator has the technological superiority of the modern world, which she uses to goad her grandmother into silent submission; Da-duh is not impressed by technology, but it is so foreign to her that she cannot even conceive of her granddaughter’s descriptions of life in New York. The story ends . . . Read More
Da-duh is the narrator’s eighty-year-old grandmother. She has lived her whole life on Barbados and is confident and proud of her lifestyle, surroundings, and ways of looking at the world. She dislikes the trappings of the modern world, such as any form of machinery, and is uncomfortable in the city of Bridgetown. When Da-duh first meets the narrator, the narrator imagines that she saw “something in me which for some reason she found disturbing.” However, Da-duh also feels connected to her granddaughter, as evidenced when she clasps her hand.
Da-duh is completely at home in the countryside of St. Thomas where she lives. She takes her granddaughter on daily walks on the land surrounding her house. She shows off the glories of the natural world, and listens with an air of fear to her granddaughter’s descriptions of life in New York. She is not accustomed to having her life challenged, as her granddaughter does, and . . . Read More
“To Da-duh, in Memoriam” is an autobiographical story told from the point of view of an adult looking back on a childhood memory. The story opens as the nine-year-old narrator, along with her mother and sister, disembarks from a boat that has brought them to Bridgetown, Barbados. It is 1937, and the family has come to visit from their home in Brooklyn, leaving behind the father, who believed it was a waste of money to take the trip. The narrator’s mother first left Barbados fifteen years ago, and the narrator has never met her grandmother, Da-duh.
Although an old woman, the narrator’s grandmother is lively and sharp. When she meets her grandchildren, Da-duh examines them. She calls the narrator’s older sister “lucky,” but she silently looks at the narrator, calling the child “fierce.” She takes the narrator by the hand and leads the family outside where the rest of the relatives are waiting. The family gets in the truck that . . . Read More
In his opening paragraph to V., the narrator of “That in Aleppo Once…” explains that he learned V.’s address from a mutual acquaintance who “seemed to think somehow or other” that V.”was betraying our national literature.” While the opinions of “good old Gleb Alexandrovich Gekko” matter little to V. or the narrator (who even slightly mocks him), this easily forgotten character raises the issue of betrayal in the story’s first paragraph. The different types of betrayal dramatized in the story are dizzying: the narrator may have been betrayed by his wife; the narrator may have betrayed his wife by leaving her to the Nazis in France; the Germans betray humanity; and V. betrays the narrator by giving his letter the title he does. In light of this title, the narrator is linked to his Shakespearian counterpart, who betrays his wife and is betrayed by “honest” lago. Betrayal is certainly one of . . . Read More
World War II and Occupied France
On May 10, 1940, German forces attacked the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. By June 9, the Germans had crossed the Somme River and effectively destroyed any hopes of French retaliation. In an attempt to appease the Germans and end the destruction they caused, Henri Philippe Petain (an eighty-four-year-old Marshal who had become the French premiere on June 16) asked the Germans for an armistice, which they formally granted on June 22. Petain offered the Germans the control of northern France (at France’s expense) and asked if the French could establish a government in the southern city of Vichy. The Germans agreed and on July 2 the Vichy government was established. At this time the Nazis held approximately two-thirds of France.
Petain was named chief of state of the Vichy government on July 10, 1940. As many suspected during its formation, the Vichy government proved to be a puppet regime for . . . Read More