Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Saint Pierre

Saint Pierre (sah[n] pyehr). City on the West Indian island of Martinique, which is a French colony with a slave-based economy. Located fifteen miles from the cloud-crested volcano Mount Pelée, the town has a church, a convent and school, an army fort garrisoned by cowardly French soldiers, and homes of proud, conservative Frenchmen. Creole-speaking slaves work their masters’ sugarcane fields that reach to Pelée’s slopes, build zigzag roads through heavy forest growth up and down lush valleys, and toil as domestics in their masters’ houses. Madame Peyronnette’s mansion is on the Grande Rue, in the Quartier du Fort. Monsieur Desrivières’s city residence is on the nearby rue de la Consolation.


Anse-Marine (ans-mar-een). Prosperous estate on the east coast, inherited by Monsieur Desrivière, that is spoiled and idle. Youma, tall and graceful, has her own room in his plantation house. She dresses in vividly colored robes for special occasions. The stalwart field-workers, their half-naked bodies glistening like polished bronze, toil and sing under the sweltering sun, while their overseer guards them from poisonous snakes. The overworked women sing in caravans as they go to market balancing head trays of cocoa, coffee, coconuts, mangoes, oranges, and bananas. Other slaves work at nearby sugar mills and wharfs. Their sixty-foot-long canoes transport barrels of rum and casks of sugar to...

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