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Interracial EncountersReciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937$
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Julia H. Lee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814752555

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814752555.001.0001

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The Eaton Sisters Go to Jamaica

The Eaton Sisters Go to Jamaica

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 The Eaton Sisters Go to Jamaica
Source:
Interracial Encounters
Author(s):

Julia H. Lee

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814752555.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the direct racial confrontations that seemingly arise in the memoirs of the Anglo-Chinese North American authors and sisters Edith and Winnifred Eaton. In her memoir, Me: A Book of Remembrance (1915), Winnifred Eaton uses black figures to solidify her claim to the privileges of white womanhood and authorship. She specifically describes several scenes in which she is the object of black Jamaican male sexual desire; Winnifred's constant staging of situations in which she flees the advances of black men strengthens her claim to white womanhood and its privileges. Meanwhile, Edith's interactions with Afro-Jamaicans have quite the opposite effect from Winnifred's. Rather than shoring up her sense of entitlement as a white woman, Edith's interactions with Afro-Jamaicans remind her how contingent and imperfect her own mimicry of white womanhood is. The latter part of the chapter foregrounds the links between the racist domestic practices of the United States with the colonial project of exploitation in Jamaica.

Keywords:   Edith Eaton, Winnifred Eaton, white womanhood, Afro-Jamaicans, white privilege, racism

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