Rue cases nègres (1983)
- Summaries (3)
Martinique, in the early 1930s. Young José and his grandmother live in a small village. Nearly everyone works cutting cane and barely earning a living. The overseer can fine a worker for the smallest infraction. The way to advance is to do well in school. José studies hard and succeeds in an exam allowing him to attend school in the capital. With only a partial scholarship, the tuition is very costly. José and his grandmother move to Fort-de-France to make José's studies easier...
Set in 1931, Sugar Cane Alley paints a rich impasto of native life under French colonial rules, filtered through the coming-of-age of a bright, sweetly opportunistic boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty-town roots with the education opportunities that beckon him to the big city.
On the Carribean island of Martinique, a young boy named Jose listens to stories of Africa told by an old sugar cane worker. After the old man dies, the boy writes the stories in his own words and submits them as a school essay. His telling is so eloquent that the school master accuses him of plagiarising them from a book. "I don't know what book you copied this from," says the teacher, "but I know you did, and I'll find out." Utterly humiliated, Jose flies from the school and goes downtown with the intention of getting into trouble. Fortunately, he does not get killed, injured or arrested, but he does come home very late to find his school master having tea with his grandmother. The teacher rises to attention and says, "Your grandmother has told me all about the old man who was your friend. Some day you are going to be a very great writer."
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