Essay on The Caribbean Islands

1222 Words 5 Pages
"The Caribbean"

The Caribbean, a region usually exoticized and depicted as tropical and similar in its environmental ways, cannot be characterized as homogenous. Each individual island has their own diverse historical background when it comes to how and when they became colonized, which European country had the strongest influence on them, and the unique individual cultures that were integrated into one. The three authors Sidney W. Mintz, Antonio Benitez-Rojo, and Michelle Cliff, all and address the problem of the Caribbean’s identity. They each discuss how the Caribbean’s diverse culture was created and molded by each individual island’s history, how its society was molded by the development of plantations, how the Caribbean dealt with
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make it very difficult to characterize the Caribbean as a "cultural" area. Benitez-Rojo agrees with this idea, also rejecting the idea that the Caribbean is a "cultural" area. According to Mintz, the Caribbean is similar in social-structural features rather than cultural ones. In his analysis of the Caribbean, he organizes the commonalties of the region using nine distinct features, which bind the islands of the Caribbean into a major societal area, regardless of their differences. Mintz also emphasizes how the Caribbean "should be viewed in terms of a multidimensional continuum, rather than in terms of some single abstract model"(Mintz 21). Mintz also expresses how the islands of the Caribbean lack unity and a sense of national pride. He suggests in his article, The Caribbean as a Socio-Cultural Area, that a social hierarchy does not exist in the Caribbean. Mintz states that

"the concomitant development of insular social structures in which internally differentiated local community organization was slight, and national class groupings usually took on a bipolar form, sustained…