Season of Adventure Essay - Critical Context (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)

George Lamming

Critical Context (Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Season of Adventure echoes some concerns of George Lamming’s first novel, In the Castle of My Skin (1953). The protagonists of both works are disturbed by a sense of unease as their education and immersion in middle-class society loom to separate them from the grass roots of their background. In In the Castle of My Skin, an autobiographical novel, G. leaves his home island before he is able to reconnect fully with the source of his making, although he is sensitive to the life of his childhood. In Season of Adventure, Fola moves toward an understanding of her roots in taking her “backward glance.” Chiki clearly admits his sense of belonging to the people of the grass roots. He and Fola have managed to avoid the exile toward which G. heads.

In the “Author’s Note,” the narrator raises the question of the responsibility to their home community of artists and intellectuals in modes of exile: “I . . . attached myself to this new world which was so recent and so slight beside the weight of what had gone before. Instinctively I attached myself to that new privilege; and in spite of all my effort, I am not free of its embrace even to this day.” The experiences of Fola, Chiki, and Gort in the novel show that they escape this particular guilt of the narrator’s self-reproach. Lamming suggests that if the future is to survive with freedom and vivacity in West Indian society, the past—honestly, seriously, and responsibly—must be taken into account.