pioneers, oh pioneers

4071 Words Dec 7th, 2013 17 Pages
Setting in Jean Rhys’s “Pioneers, oh Pioneers”
How does the setting underline the main conflict and the meaning for
characterization?


Table of Contents
1. Introduction

1

2. Setting

2

2.1 Dominica

3

2.2 Dr Cox’s house

4

2.3 Ramage’s house

5

2.4 Comparison Imperial Road and Market Street

7

3. Conclusion

8

4. Bibliography

10

5. Honesty Statement

11

1. Introduction
___________________________________________________________________________
This seminar paper analyses the different functions of the setting in Jean Rhys’s short story
“Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers.”
The author Jean Rhys was born in 1890 and brought up in Roseau, Dominica (Rhys 1981:
10). Her father was Welsh and her mother Creole (Rhys 1981:6), so she grew up
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“Her given name, Isla, the Spanish for Island, may suggest that Ramage has embraced the
island itself” (Hooper 2005: 124).
The date 1899 also implies that the action occurs at the time of colonialism. To have an
overview of the history of the society living there at that time, the reader may consider that
the West Indies were discovered as a place where tobacco and sugar grew very well and one
might earn money by planting there and shipping the goods apart. For this reason thousands
of people from Africa were departed to the West Indies to work there as slaves. Although in
1899 slavery was already abolished, racial segregation was still present.“[T]he majority of
Dominica’s population is of African descent, mainly speaking French Creole and of the
Catholic faith.” (Savory 2009: 2) but the minority of white people, mostly from Europe, who
believed in the Anglican Church, was still the dominating class. They urged the black people
to adapt to their culture and rules (Smith 1974: 5-6).
Besides telling the reader that the story is set in the time of colonialism, the date fulfils
another function. November 1899 is the turning point between two seasons, two years and
two centuries. As Malcolm and Malcolm point out it “adds to the sense of uncertainty and
displacement” (1996: 85).
2

The question of where the action takes place is more difficult to answer, but it will be
discussed in the chapter “Dominica” of the seminar paper.
Particular places of…