Finding Your Own Magic: How Obeah and Voodoo Provide Women Agency in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea and Tiphanie Yanique's Land of Love and Drowning
One of the most important functions of Caribbean literature is to give voice to characters that would be otherwise voiceless. These characters are often slaves, women, racial minorities, and poor people; in other words, anybody who has been touched by the devastating oppression of a colonial society. The oppressed in the Caribbean have often turned to their belief in Obeah in order to assert themselves in the face of the colonizer. Obeah and magic are still ingrained in the culture of the Caribbean people because the culture of the European colonizer is still influencing society in the Caribbean.
Through this research it was discovered that both Rebekah McKenzie from Land of Love and Drowning, and Christophine from Wide Sargasso Sea, are very similar characters. They are both Obeah women who happen to be poor, single mothers, but are also feared and respected in their communities. The fear and respect are due to their practice of Obeah. Antoinette Cosway, from Wide Sargasso Sea, and Anette and Eona Bradshaw, from Land of Love and Drowning, practice a more subtle form of Obeah. Obeah is a magic that liberates these women from a system of patriarchal and colonial oppression. Because they have lifted themselves, they also have the power to help other marginalized people push back against similar oppression. The use of magic to fight against oppression put in place by a colonial system is a common theme in Caribbean literature, and consequently, is important to the everyday lives of real Caribbean people.
"Finding Your Own Magic: How Obeah and Voodoo Provide Women Agency in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea and Tiphanie Yanique's Land of Love and Drowning,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 17:
3, Article 11.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol17/iss3/11