SCS Logo
Back to former speakers
 Jamie Pierre, Alfrena

Jamie Pierre, Alfrena

PhD Candidate in Literatures in English @ University of the West Indies, St. Augustine


Alfrena Jamie Pierre is a PhD Candidate in Literatures in English, and a burgeoning Lamming scholar at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, in Trinidad and Tobago. Her doctoral research focuses on the six novels of distinguished Barbadian novelist, and profound Caribbean thinker, George Lamming. She has presented academic papers on George Lamming’s oeuvre at various local, regional and international fora. She has also published on Lamming’s work. Her paper, "The God Question in George Lamming's In the Castle of My Skin", was published in Volume IV of the journal, Meditating and Mediating Change: State - Society – Religion. She also authored the tributary article on George Lamming for UWI Today: "From Castle to Kingdom: Caribbean Literary Legend George Lamming Passes On". Her research interests include representations of Christianity in literature, George Lamming, Caribbean poetics, identity and trauma.

Geographical location : Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Research Area and Interest : Christianity in literature, George Lamming, Caribbean poetics, identity and trauma

Social Media

Past Conference(s)

Past Panel(s)

Past presentation(s)

Colonial Systems Interrogated in George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin
Summary: In the third chapter of George Lamming’s 1953 novel, In the Castle of My Skin, the theme of formal education is introduced within the narrative. The main setting for the chapter is the school yard and the opening paragraph begins with a detailed description of the space: “In one corner where the walls met there was a palm-tree laden with nuts … The school was in another corner … In another corner was the church”. We are then told that the boys never really understood why these two buildings were erected within the same space. The boys of Groddeck’s Boys Primary School, Lamming’s fictional representation of his alma mater, are oblivious to the consanguinity of their school and the church but the proximity of both structures points to the interrelationship of the institutions. The deleteriousness of both is poignantly intimated when the boys’ display for the English school inspector and the English supervising minister of the church on Empire Day is compared to, “an enormous ship whose cargo had been packed in boxes and set on the deck”. This imagery evokes the postmemory of the transatlantic slave trade upon the postcolonial psyche. This paper argues that In the Castle of My Skin employs a myriad of literary devices and narrative strategies to effectively deconstruct notions of innocuous colonial systems. It also contends that these devices are used to simultaneously sensitize the (post)colonized individual to the trauma of colonialism thereby enabling him or her to effectively transition from a colonized state of being to postcolonial consciousness.

Links of Interest