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Lived City (2): Love and Desire on Urban Margins 1. The Caribbean Experience in Toronto -- “I’m Running for my Life” “I’m Running for my Life”

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Presentation on theme: "Lived City (2): Love and Desire on Urban Margins 1. The Caribbean Experience in Toronto -- “I’m Running for my Life” “I’m Running for my Life”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Lived City (2): Love and Desire on Urban Margins 1. The Caribbean Experience in Toronto -- “I’m Running for my Life” “I’m Running for my Life”

2 Outline Margins and Minorities: The Caribbeans in Toronto Margins and Minorities: The Caribbeans in Toronto Regent Park and “Canadian Experience” Regent Park and “Canadian Experience” Regent Park Regent Park “I’m Running for my Life” by Austin Clarke “I’m Running for my Life” by Austin Clarke

3 Caribbean Immigrants in Canada: Background (1) Early Immigrants: student and (female) domestic help e.g. A. Clarke and May in “Running for my Life” Early Immigrants: student and (female) domestic help e.g. A. Clarke and May in “Running for my Life” Three factors of changes in the 60’s Three factors of changes in the 60’s Canadian immigration laws Canadian immigration laws Great Britain was closing its doors; deterioration of racial relationships there Great Britain was closing its doors; deterioration of racial relationships there the steady decline of the British economy the steady decline of the British economy

4 Caribbean Immigrants in Canada: Background (2) --Toronto Ideal of multiculturalism vs. reality of racism (e.g. Vertical Mosaic; “Toronto: The Meeting Place”) Ethnic Areas in Toronto City: Bloor Street, Little Italy, Chinatown, Cabbagetown, etc. (see map)map differential incorporation; e.g. housing, salary 1996: 83% of the Caribbeans had yearly income falls under 25,000; 1996: 14% of European-origin families live below the LICO (Low Income Cut Off), 32% for Aboriginals, 35% for South Asians, 45% for Africans, Blacks and Caribbeans direct racism: e.g. police brutality (e.g. Mr. Johnson in “Running” 78)

5 East End -- the Don Valley Parkway –the route the commuters take to go downtown. “Few find any reason to stop in the east end, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.” the Don Valley Parkway –the route the commuters take to go downtown. “Few find any reason to stop in the east end, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.” To the north is. In the 1940's, blocks of poorly maintained houses were demolished and replaced by Canada's first major public housing project. Although it was much praised on its completion in 1957, it quickly went downhill, and now 72% of the residents live below the poverty line. To the north is Regent Park. In the 1940's, blocks of poorly maintained houses were demolished and replaced by Canada's first major public housing project. Although it was much praised on its completion in 1957, it quickly went downhill, and now 72% of the residents live below the poverty line. (source: Neighborhoods in Toronto Neighborhoods in Toronto e.g. Eastern and Bayview vs. Rosedale)Eastern and Bayview Rosedale

6 Caribbean Immigrants in Canada (3) : Multiple Voices House party (fete) and Caribana As means of strengthening a sense of community; the venues for illegal activities Multiculturalism Brand against it: Neil Bissoondath 認為多元文化政 策造成「一種加拿大式的、溫和的、文化種族隔離 政策」 (Hutcheon 315); Brand 也認為它將加勒比海 裔分隔開來,「沒有處理真正的〔政治、經濟上〕 的權力問題」 (Hutcheon 274) 。 Austin Clarke thinks that the immigrants are partly responsible for their failures.

7 Eaton Center U of T Toronto: The Ethnic Areas vs. the White Center

8 Regent Park “Canada's first and the largest social housing project or a social engineering project” “Canada's first and the largest social housing project or a social engineering project” “The recent Regent Park Revitalization Plan is also viewed and undertaken as a pilot Canadian social re-engineering effort” “The recent Regent Park Revitalization Plan is also viewed and undertaken as a pilot Canadian social re-engineering effort”Regent Park Revitalization PlanRegent Park Revitalization Plan (source) source

9 Downtown Toronto: Multiple Culture & Power Center East

10 Regent Park: Past and Present Image source: Left, RightLeftRight

11 Example 1: Rude (1995) Director: Clement Virgo Director: Clement Virgo Setting: Regent Park Setting: Regent Park Story: 3 stories respectively about a boxer, a window dresser and an ex-convict over the course of an Easter weekend. The stories are connected through a underground female DJ named Rude. Story: 3 stories respectively about a boxer, a window dresser and an ex-convict over the course of an Easter weekend. The stories are connected through a underground female DJ named Rude.

12 Example 2: “Canadian Experience” Canadian Experience: a catch-22 situation– you need to have “Canadian experience” in order to get hired. Canadian Experience: a catch-22 situation– you need to have “Canadian experience” in order to get hired. The protagonist’s experience of The protagonist’s experience of -- the apartment and its lack of privacy -- the elevator (doors closed like “two black hands”) -- immigration as degradation (life back home vs. present situation) -- the railway as a black river.

13 Austin Clarke Writer of “Canadian Experience” and “I’m Running for My Life” Writer of “Canadian Experience” and “I’m Running for My Life” Born in Barbados in 1934 and came to Canada to attend university in He has had a varied and distinguished career as a broadcaster, civil rights leader, and professor. Born in Barbados in 1934 and came to Canada to attend university in He has had a varied and distinguished career as a broadcaster, civil rights leader, and professor. Clarkes has dealt extensively with the lack of roots and ruins in the lives of immigrants in Canada, and the consequent damage to the psychological and emotional health of these men and women. (Harney 131) Clarkes has dealt extensively with the lack of roots and ruins in the lives of immigrants in Canada, and the consequent damage to the psychological and emotional health of these men and women. (Harney 131)

14 "I'm Running for My Life" Plot: two days – Plot: two days – 1) May in the master’s bedroom, haunted by guilt; (pp ) 2) May, trying to find the “presence” in the house, finds the master in the basement. (81- ) 1. May: What does May do in the master’s bedroom at the beginning of the story? (76, 77) What does she want? What does she feel about the house? And what is she afraid of? (e.g. p ) 2. Master-Servant Sex: How is she related to Mr. Moore on the first day, and at the sex scene? (80, 85-) Aftermath: How does May feel after the sex? Aftermath: How does May feel after the sex? -- May goes tearfully to her friend Gertrude to confess her "sin." -- May goes tearfully to her friend Gertrude to confess her "sin." Gertrude: claims that it is a sexual assault that May experiences. What do you think? What do you think Clarke wants to convey here?

15 May's Action & Her Contradictory Feelings What does she feel about being in the bedroom: 75-76) What does she feel about being in the bedroom: 75-76) With her want and hate: desiring social upgrading— 75 With her want and hate: desiring social upgrading— 75 Remorse -- Christian way of thinking Covetousness? Theft? Dishonoring? Remorse -- Christian way of thinking Covetousness? Theft? Dishonoring? Trying to ignore it (79-80) “safe now” “a new woman” Trying to ignore it (79-80) “safe now” “a new woman” What does she do? What does she do? Material needs: trying on the mistress’ dresses and pantyhose p. 77, possessing them in her mind. Material needs: trying on the mistress’ dresses and pantyhose p. 77, possessing them in her mind. Curiosity: Answering a phone call; Curious about the book, The Joy of Sex Curiosity: Answering a phone call; Curious about the book, The Joy of Sex Hiding under the bed Hiding under the bed  Repressed desire for the master and to replace the wife?

16 May's contradictory feelings toward her master About the wife’s possession (77) About the wife’s possession (77) About the man’s loneliness: Loyalty, pity and sympathy for the man (80) About the man’s loneliness: Loyalty, pity and sympathy for the man (80) Feeling naked (80) –Why? Feeling naked (80) –Why? The basement encounter (85) The basement encounter (85) The aftermath: 1) a new kind of life; 2) guilt over adultery; 3) “CONFIDENTIAL” The aftermath: 1) a new kind of life; 2) guilt over adultery; 3) “CONFIDENTIAL”

17 Mr. Moore’s Views of May appreciative of her, but neglectful p ; appreciative of her, but neglectful p ; sexual desire for a colored woman 86, 87 sexual desire for a colored woman 86, 87 sense of deficiency when having sex with his ex-wife p. 87 sense of deficiency when having sex with his ex-wife p. 87  yearns for the experience, wants to avoid it; 87  yearns for the experience, wants to avoid it; 87 feels re-invigorated 88 feels re-invigorated 88

18 Personal Desires in a Social Context: May’s Social Position May's feelings about the house Fear of the house: its emptiness and coldness, like a tomb;  Cultural Difference? Fear of the house: its emptiness and coldness, like a tomb;  Cultural Difference? a presence  her intuition of the master’s desire? a presence  her intuition of the master’s desire? Indian blanket 92 (murder?); Indian blanket 92 (murder?); 82-83

19 The Aftermath: Two Interpretations May's explanation: pp May's explanation: pp guilt over adultery  being a moral Christian guilt over adultery  being a moral Christian newness and love in her  a loving individual newness and love in her  a loving individual the Indian blanket  transgression the Indian blanket  transgression her fear and fantasy and her readings of recent horrors (86)  social determination her fear and fantasy and her readings of recent horrors (86)  social determination Gertrude's responses -- concern for her own work; 94; master and slave 95 Gertrude's responses -- concern for her own work; 94; master and slave 95

20 Contrast between May and Gertrude May– weak in need of help; relies on external supports such as frying pan and house slipper; controlled ideologically to desire being accepted by white society/masters May– weak in need of help; relies on external supports such as frying pan and house slipper; controlled ideologically to desire being accepted by white society/masters Gertrude – jumps into conclusion. But is she totally wrong? Gertrude – jumps into conclusion. But is she totally wrong?

21 Ironies Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, too weak, too invigorated; peace, wanting to die too weak, too invigorated; peace, wanting to die the words “Confidential” “Pictures” “Photos” “Term Papers”  signs of memory and power the words “Confidential” “Pictures” “Photos” “Term Papers”  signs of memory and power May: tears p. 96  a controlled woman unable to see her submission to power or her own power. May: tears p. 96  a controlled woman unable to see her submission to power or her own power.

22 References Ethno-Racial Inequality in the City of Toronto: An Analysis of the 1996 Census bibliography.htm bibliography.htm


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