The Color Of Identity In Claude Mckay's 'Banana Bottom'

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“For the island colony was divided into three main groups in a political and social way. The descendants of the slaves were three-fourths of the population and classified as black or dark brown. The descendants of Europeans and slaves were about one-fifth of the population and classified as coloured or light brown. The rest were a few thousand East Indians and Chinese and perhaps the same number of pure European decent.” (Pg. 4) Claude Mckay blatantly describes the historical reality here in his novel, Banana Bottom. The reality that McKay is describing in Jamaica, directly relates to the history of the Caribbean and Jamaica specifically in the 19th Century. The various differences in skin tone mentioned in this novel are not unintentional.…show more content…
Starting with Bita’s family, Jordan Plant is a dark-skinned Jamaican man that is Bita’s birth father that lost his wife when she was giving birth to Bita. Anty Nommy is Bita’s stepmother, but also her birth mother’s sister. She is the color of a young-cocoa plant leaf, but with that were rumors of her being Bita’s birth mother because of her color of skin in comparison to Bita’s skin tone. Bab is Anty Nommy’s son who is of dark-brown complexion, however, he desires to join the civil service. This is an ambitious goal due to his dark skin, because those who are in the civil service all have light skin. Another strong black character is Belle Black, who stands up for her rights in the wedding shop and in the hotel in Kingston when she felt discriminated against and shows her true values. Bita’s only real friend in the novel is Yoni Legge. Yoni Legge is described as the coolie-girl because of her alleged Indian father. She is the pretty young sewing-mistress and enjoys her status in the community but periodically succumbs to her passions. This is where the various men come to…show more content…
These two men are very different in personality but are important to Bita in her self-discovery. Herald Newton Day is “a clean-cut type of the new generation of Negro students of theology.” Mrs. Craig describes him as a worthy young man, but he is essentially proud, affected, self-righteous, and lacking in any racial identification and self-esteem. He is an absolute hypocrite when his actions of having sex with a nanny goat contradict his sermon on God’s love. Hopping Dick is the never-do-well, black peasant womanizer who is unable to accept any responsibility. He attracts Bita for a time, for he represents that aspect of her that the Craig’s have attempted to remove. However he runs away from the responsibility when marriage is

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