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Discuss Merle Hodge’s Crick Crack Monkey As A Novel

3055 words - 12 pages

Discuss Merle Hodge’S Crick Crack Monkey As a Novel


Merle Hodge born in 1944, in Trinidad is the daughter of an
immigration officer. After studying at the Bishop Anstey’s high school
of Trinidad, she obtained the Trinidad and Tobago Girls Island
Scholarship in 1962 which led her to the university college of London.
She obtained a degree in French and later in 1967 a Master Philosophy
degree. Merle Hodge traveled a lot in Eastern and Western Europe and
when she returned to Trinidad she started teaching French in junior
schools. Later she obtained a post of lecturer at the University of
the West Indies. In 1979, she started to work for the bishop regime
and she was appointed director of the development of curriculum. In
1983, she left Grenada because the bishop was assassinated and she is
now working for the Women and Development Studies at the University of
the West Indies in Trinidad.

She wrote the novel Crick Crack Monkey in 1970 where she deals with
the theme of childhood in the West Indies. The main protagonist called
Tee lives with Tantie who is a working class woman. She later goes to
live with her aunt Beatrice and she faces a new and different world
from that of her Caribbean world: “Hodge's story is presented through
the eyes of a black, lower class girl of Trinidad in the 1950s.” The
whole story is one presented from one point of view: Tee’s. She is
left alone by her father who goes abroad after the death of her mother
and she has to live with her lower class Tantie where she learns about
being independent. Later in the story her aunt Beatrice takes her and
she then has to adapt herself to the ‘white’ world. She faces a lot of
cultural and identity conflict as she does not really know where she
belongs or what culture is wrong or right. “However, looking at the
story of "crick crack monkey" through the eyes of a young white girl,
rather than a young black girl, the reader might see the injustice and
the ethnic discrimination that a black person must endure. She would
not be accustomed to being called a "little black nincompoop" (Hodge
457), and she would most likely not have to suffer a physical beating
with a ruler (Hodge 456)”

Tee becomes the narrator and Hodge guides the reader through an “intensely
personal study of the effects of the colonial imposition of various
social and cultural values on the Trinidadian female.” Tee narrates
the diverse problems in her life in such a way that it is often
complicated to split up “the voice of the child, experiencing, from
the voice of the woman, reminiscing; in this manner, Hodge broadens
the scope of the text considerably.” It has often been seen that the
British have used various techniques to influence the viewpoints of
the Caribbean people. “The people's self awareness, religion,
language, and culture has coped with the influx of British ideals and

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