School Days

School Daze: Confusion Inherent in Finding Identity through the Colonial Education System

Patrick Chamoiseau, in his detailed narrative School Days, uses playful and colorful language to delineate the emotional struggles of a young schoolboy in colonized Martinique. Chamoiseau’s creative and careful choice of words opens his reader’s eyes to the internal struggle of the anonymous protagonist, who continually seeks to come to terms with his conflicting Creole and French identities. The different teachers under whom “little boy” studies physically represent the opposing personas he feels compelled to embody. By using these teachers as vehicles for the colliding cultural expectations impressed upon “little boy”, Chamoiseau successfully portrays the rampant, clashing feelings “little boy” experiences as he confusedly attempts to understand his roots and his place within his two distinctive worlds.

Chamoiseau clearly implies his young character’s initial optimism at the prospect of starting school, a mentality the author renders naïve later in the narrative. Chamoiseau’s depiction of the enthusiasm with which “little boy” imagines his pending academic life, and the almost animalistic way in which he constantly demands approval of his mother, intensify the extreme emotional connection he has to the notion of becoming a...

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