Evolution in/of the Caribbean Landscape Narrative

  • Eric Prieto


Soon after starting preschool, the young hero of Patrick Chamoiseau’s autobiographical novel, School Days, begins to bring home pictures he has drawn of the family house. But the house depicted in the drawings—which always features a smoking brick chimney—bears little resemblance to the house in which he actually lives. Nor do the oaks and firs he draws around it seem to belong in a Martinican landscape. The boy has, it seems, taken images seen in school textbooks and transposed them, innocently and unconsciously, onto his own environment—a development that causes some consternation in the boy’s family: “S’cuse me?!”1 If, after just a few weeks of school (learning French fairy tales and the history of “our ancestors the Gauls”), the boy has already begun to view those things most familiar to him through the lens of French pictorial conventions, then what will be the long-term effects of continued schooling and reiterated contact with institutions that are scornful of his native culture?


Natural Landscape Cultural Theory Urban Planner Local Landscape Cultural Program 
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© Eric Prieto 2012

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  • Eric Prieto

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