In the Castle of My Skin

by George Lamming

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 302

Lamming mentions, in passing, the names of a number of men who became heroes to West Indians of African descent: Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, even Patrice Lumumba. Research the lives of these men and of other important or inspirational figures such as Franz Fanon or Bob Marley. What qualities did they embody that addressed the desires of the West Indian population?

When were the West Indies "discovered" by Europeans? Who settled them first? What different colonizing nations have been represented there, and which nations continue to maintain their presence? What role did slavery and plantation agriculture have in their colonization?

In the novel, the character of Trumper leaves Barbados and emigrates to the United States. In this, he is like millions of other natives of the West Indies who came to the United States in the twentieth century and continue to come today. Where are the main communities of West Indians in the United States? What are some of the challenges they face? What tensions have arisen between West Indian communities and other immigrant or native communities in the United States?

Like many other writers throughout history, George Lamming became an "exile"; he had to leave the country of his birth to find his artistic voice. Research the lives and careers of some other famous exiles of modern or ancient literature (Ovid, Boethius, Dante, Lord Byron, or James Joyce, for example). Why were they exiled? How did their exile figure in their work?

Barbadians are proud to consider themselves citizens of "Little England," a place with a special relationship to the mother country. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, England built one of the largest empires the world had ever known. What were some of the other important colonies? How did England try to instill its culture and values in the colonies?

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