n Latin American Report - The shaping influence of the past in Lamming and Reid's works and the implications for the West Indian society in the global era

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



This article explores the presentation of history in literary works by Victor S Reid and George Lamming. It is my argument here that the presentation of history in these works helps us to understand the West Indian society not as a static entity but as dynamic, organic and an active participant in the alignment and re-alignment of forces in the era of globalization. In , George Lamming gives us an expose of the history of the Caribbean society in as much as it impacts on the people of Creighton village. That history is posited in a society where educational and religious institutions are shown to negate it, where family relationships are problematic due to it and where conflicts are endemic. Like in and in , Lamming does not skirt the historical exigencies that characterise the Caribbean society as in them lie the 'inner experiences of the West Indian community.' It is pertinent from the outset to point out that the Caribbean society is projected not as dormant, rather as dynamic owing to new forces which the villagers in can hardly control neither can they comprehend them. In the , V.S Reid projects a society that has seen it all and is highly expectant on the new day as a bringer of good tidings. The 87 year old John Campbell narrates the history of the island dating back from since he was eight and it is a history of people who are actively engaged in a quest for self-determination. The question that arises is: Is the anticipated day really a new day or is it one in a chain of long tortuous days that dates back to 1865? The anxiety that grips John Campbell triggers reminiscences that necessitate an exploration of Jamaican history in a way that is definitive and identity conferring on Jamaicans in the present era and in the unforeseeable future.

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