Study Guide

Anancy's Score

by Andrew Salkey

Anancy's Score Themes

Themes and Meanings (Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Central to Anancy’s Score is its theme of oppression, the tension between the colonizer and the colonized. Within the supernatural motif, Anancy becomes a compelling character, deviating from the generic conventions of the beast fable. As wily and ruthless as his West African folkloric ancestors, he reveals an awareness of the plight of the Caribbean people. The Anansi of folklore, in contrast, evinces little or no concern for the community.

At first, the twenty stories of Anancy’s Score appear to be loosely connected. The stories move rapidly, with few or no transitions, from the Creation to the political world of the Caribbean to the emancipation of slaves to the Vietnam era. Under further scrutiny, what appears to be haphazard construction is revealed to be a tenuous but present thread of character development. With each story, Anancy is shown to be more than the cool, calculating opportunist of the traditional stories. Rather, he becomes more and more a political citizen of the C. World. Many of the opposing forces Anancy confronts are not created by his antics. They are, instead, the colonizers of the C. World, those who have come to exploit the land and the people of the Caribbean. Eventually, Anancy the trickster transforms himself into his ultimate form: the new man Anancy, who sees himself as the political savior of the Caribbean. He sees his mission as rallying the people to empower themselves to drive out the colonizers....

(The entire section is 530 words.)