Saturday, July 20, 2019

Differing Perspectives of the Caribbean :: Caribbean History Historical Essays

Differing Perspectives of the Caribbean The Caribbean has been an unexplained region throughout the test of time because there are many different depictions of what actually is happening. The ranging cultures in the Caribbean bring about many different points of view. A perfect example is how Cliff, Mintz, and Benitez-Rojo describe their version of the Caribbean. They discuss affairs in the Caribbean from the days of slave trading to present day issues. In analyzing their anecdotes and books, one can find not only similarities between them, but discrepancies as well. All three authors express their thoughts vividly, unleashing ideas about the Caribbean. Among the most important themes of these ideas were that of the plantation, identity, and social hierarchy. The role of the plantation was a prominent issue brought up by all the authors. The plantation played an imperative role in Caribbean society from colonialism to contemporary society. Mintz and Benitez-Rojo gave a number of positive aspects of how plantations were positive in helping the economy whereas Cliff despised the whole plantation system. All authors bring out valid issues on their analysis of plantations. According to Mintz, the emergence of the plantation occurred when there became a decline in miners. This decline brought a new economy and an alternate plan to their mining careers. In addition, it was a new source of production for goods like sugar, rum, coffee and tobacco. Production of goods meant more money to the Caribbean’s economy as well as new materials to give to their colonial powers. Mintz argues that the Caribbean flourished because of the system of plantations. He goes as far as saying, "the plantation system was not only an agricultural device; it also became the basis for an entire societal design" (Mintz, 27). Benitez-Rojo also gives praise to the plantation in his article entitled the Repeating Island. He said how the "modest sugar boom in the Spanish Antilles left an indelible mark on the island’s society" (Benitez-Rojo, 42). The plantations created an economy in the Caribbean when there was previously nothing. It changes the whole course of Caribbean history and this can be incorporated with his Chaos Theory. Benitez-Rojo believes in the physics theory that things in one place certainly have a great effect on something else. However, Cliff significantly differs on her view of the plantation. In Cliff’s Abeng, there is much discussion about the plantation. However, Cliff argues how the sugar plantation actually hurt the economy and made little profits.

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