Essay on The Caribbean According to Three Writings

Essay on The Caribbean According to Three Writings

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The Caribbean According to Three Writings


The Caribbean is made up of many islands that were inhabited by many peoples speaking different languages and believing in different things. With the beginning of colonization, many more peoples speaking different languages and believing in different things claimed ownership over certain islands (in many cases nowhere near each other geographically). Under new "ownerships", the islands became involved in slave-trading. Each different colonizer of the islands chose to take slaves from different areas of western Africa, depending on where their "mother country’s" other colonies were located in Africa. This resulted in the arrival and mixing of new groups of different peoples speaking different languages and believing in different things. Consequently, the Caribbean is an extremely diverse region of the world. To study either its history or what it is today, is not an easy task, and to try and define its people is nearly impossible.

Introduction of the Authors

The three authors on the Caribbean; Sidney Mintz, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, and Michelle Cliff, all took drastically different approaches in trying to tackle the common issue of how the Caribbean’s history has shaped it into what it is today. Sidney Mintz wrote as an anthropologist in the 60’s, focusing on the taxonomy (a classification of organisms into groups based on similarities of structure or origin) and natural science view of the Caribbean. Benitez-Rojo, a Cuban, wrote his piece twenty years later, and as a literary critic instead of asocial scientist. Due to his different literary background and the different time period in which he was writing, Benitez-Rojo chose to look at the Caribbean using the...

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... the chaos that is the Caribbean, but he also successfully lost me numerous times. Lastly, Mintz’s article, while very informative, seemed over-simplified. By making a specific list of what the Caribbean has in common with itself, and by saying things like ‘plantations divided the society into two parts’ makes everything too easy to be completely accurate.


Benitez-Rojo. "The Repeating Island", as seen in Post-contemporary Interventions, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 1992.

Cliff, Michelle. Abeng. Published by the Penguin Group, 1984.

Cliff, Michelle. "If I Could Write This In Fire, I Would Write This In Fire", as seen in An Anthology of Literature From the Caribbean, The New Press, New York.

Mintz, Sidney W. "The Caribbean as a Socio-cultural Area", as seen in Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean, Garden City, New Jersey, 1971.

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