You may choose to respond to one of the following prompts:
As we noted in class, Lucy can be read as a bildungsroman, “a novel that recounts the development…of an individual from childhood or adolescence to maturity, to the point at which the protagonist recognizes his or her place in the world.” (Citation). The novel’s protagonist, Lucy, often attempts to make sense of her life in the United States by comparing her new experiences with those in her childhood/adolescence in Jamaica. Or, to put another way, her encounters in the present often trigger memories of the past. Identify a passage in the novel–there are many–in which such a moment occurs. Read the passage closely and explain how you understand its significance in relation to Lucy’s development and understanding of her place in the world.
“The times that I loved Mariah it was because she reminded me of my mother. The times that I did not love Mariah it was because she reminded me of my mother” (Kincaid 58).
Mariah, the mistress and the mother figure in the household, reminds Lucy of her own mother. Choose a passage in the novel, preferably one we have not yet discussed in class, that focuses on the relationship between Lucy and Mariah, whether it is a conversation that they are having or the former’s observation of the latter. In what ways to Lucy’s encounters with Mariah illuminate the former’s relationship with her own mother?
We noted the use of the prison as metaphor to describe Lucy’s state of mind soon after she arrives in the United States from the West Indies. Note the recurring mentions of this metaphor throughout the novel and write a response on its significance. Alternatively, you may identify and discuss another recurring trope in the novel.