Disguised Subjugation as Education: Colonial and Maternal Pedagogy in Jamaica Kincaid’s LucyHediye Özkan
Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy: A Novel, an autobiographical narrative as opposed to what the title suggests, examines the colonial and immigrant experience of an Antiguan girl, who grows up in the British Caribbean and comes to the U.S. at the age of nineteen as an au pair. The colonial and maternal education along with the textual capture and erasure in her childhood controls Lucy’s choices over her intellect, voice, body, mobility, and sexuality, while leading her to a stage where she seeks the new definitions of womanhood, female re-embodiment, and personhood in the New Land. This paper focuses on the autobiographical narrative as a catharsis for Lucy, who confronts the constructed reality through personal reflections on colonial education, and by doing so, who eases the predicament of colonisation and dualisms due to the coloniser inside. I argue that the systematic colonial and maternal pedagogy depicted in the narrative is employed to mythicise reality, obliterate the Caribbean self/culture, and disenfranchise colonial society. Referring to “cultural invasion,” a concept developed by Brazilian educational philosopher Paulo Freire to investigate disguised subjugation as education, this paper scrutinises Lucy’s retrospection both on her maternal and colonial tutelage that later becomes a leading force of her own decolonisation.