Themes and Meanings

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

The themes of alienation and exile play important roles in Season of Adventure. At the beginning, Fola Piggott is alienated from her heritage. Her experience at the Ceremony of Souls signals her reconnection with her own culture. As the novel progresses, Fola journeys both emotionally and physically from identification with British ways to those of the Caribbean. The theme of the backward glance appears at the beginning of the novel, when Fola attends the ritual ceremony. The theme continues throughout the novel and intensifies in Fola’s search for her natural father. This search is also a search for an alternative tradition, the tradition of the past that she has never known.

Chiki embodies both alienation and exile, for he attended the British school for boys, just as Fola attended the school for girls. His alienation increases after his expulsion from the school, as he sails for America as an exile from his native land. After he returns to the Forest Reserve, the theme of the role of the artist in a changing society comes to the forefront. A talented painter, Chiki struggles with his inability to transfer the sound of the Caribbean music made by steel drums onto his canvas. Although Chiki is the first to provide a political perspective on the role of the artist, Gort the drummer eventually realizes the connection between politics and art. Gort is the folk artist whose art is directly inspired by the peasant community. In many ways,...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

At the end of the novel, though the drums have been restored in the new second republic of recently independent San Cristobal, “everyone knows and says that the drums are not the same.” Still, as asserted by a projection of Gort’s way of thinking:Gort will say: as a child treads soft in new school shoes, and a man is nervous who knows his first night watch may be among thieves; so the rhythms are not sure, but their hands must be attentive: and so recent is the season of adventure, so fresh from the miracle of their triumph, the drums are guarding the day: the drums must guard the day.

Fola has experienced a “season of adventure” in which she has acquired a deeper and more relevant meaning in her life; in like manner, San Cristobal has undergone a significant season of adventure out of which is acknowledged the necessity, bordering on emergency, to address real and fundamental needs of the society. These needs will not be met by preying on the people or by rushing toward a dangerous future. Rather, as the experiences of Fola and the society suggest, “In San Cristobal, as elsewhere, a man was the sum of the experience he had been or refused to become from stage to stage of his development.” African and peasant roots are vital elements of this “sum of experience.” Season of Adventure ends with a positive assertion of the creative vitality of the West Indian people. The language of the drums, literally and symbolically, remains alive; Fola has come leagues toward finding herself through her “backward glance”; San Cristobal’s future has the opportunity to benefit from the acknowledgment of its infusion of the culture of its African and peasant past.