Character, theme, and point of view are inextricable in In the Castle of My Skin. As already noted, the alternation of first-and third-person narrators is the author’s crucial device for conveying the communal identity of his protagonist and his concern with the fate of the community as a literary and moral question.
The novel’s autobiographical framework is a strategy for narrating the larger story of the village’s demise. In the Castle of My Skin clearly is not merely an autobiographical novel or a standard bildungsroman. At the same time, the narrator’s awareness of the community’s plight, increased between the time of the events recounted and the time of writing, is a crucial element. As Sandra Pouchet Paquet writes about The Pleasures of Exile, though again her remarks apply equally well to the novel and to G. as its “author,” “His dissenting voice is personal and collective. As colonial subject, Lamming offers himself as a representative text to be read and as a privileged interpreter of his own historical moment.” That is, Lamming unabashedly uses his own subjective, autobiographical understanding of events and relationships to correct, in his view, earlier “imperialist” versions of his island’s and region’s history.
Lamming allows his narrator to comment on the characters in such a way as to emphasize individuals’ importance as parts of the communal identity. Possibly because of...
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