High Wind in Jamaica Themes & Motifs

Richard Hughes
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Colonialism and Race

British colonial power and racial prejudice form an important theme in the novel, but they also contribute to a problematic motif of aesthetic idealization. Hughes expends great effort dissecting and critiquing the relationship between colonialist and subaltern while himself indulging in a primitivistic style that at times becomes its own form of objectifying imperialist gaze. Set during the Victorian Era in the immediate aftermath of British emancipation, A High Wind in Jamaica is situated in a liminal period during which racial power dynamics in colonial Jamaica are experiencing a shift. The Bas-Thorntons, a white, resolutely British colonial family, feel threatened by this potential change. Hughes richly describes the ways in which they nervously interact with an environment and local people who do not conform to their ideas of Britishness. However, in doing so, Hughes exoticizes the titular setting, creating a Jamaica that is meant...

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This section contains 4,152 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the High Wind in Jamaica Study Guide
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