School Days Background

School Days Background

Published in 1997, School Days is novel that tells of the colonial world that the author Patrick Chamoiseau, one of the greatest writers in French and Caribbean literature, experienced in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

As the Colonial Period was ending for most countries, France was still holding on to its last colonies. Martinique, one of its last, is the setting of School Days. The narrator and the protagonist, the little boy who is young Chamoiseau, wishes to go out to school, where all of his older siblings get to go. His mother, Mam Ninotte, finally lets him go to school, where he gets to play with letters and sounds, learning the basics of phonetics. He is constantly called nice things like clever and brave in the school, and Chamoiseau sees his education at the school as a pleasant and enjoyable place. But soon after, Chamoiseau realizes that the only part of education that matters in the schools in Martinique is that the students must all learn how to be French.

School Days is clearly based on Chamoiseau’s own childhood in Martinique, and his narrative reveals much about the colonial days in the Caribbean.

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