Brenda Chester DoHarris's The Colored Girl in the Ring: A Guyanese Woman Remembers joins the company of some of the most memorable works of Caribbean literature, those classic accounts of coming-of-age, such as George Lamming's In the Castle of My Skin, V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas, Michael Anthony's The Year in San Fernando, Merle Hodge's Crick Crack, Monkey, Erna Brodber's Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home, Zea Edgell's Beka Lamb, Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, and Beryl Gilroy's Sunlight on Sweet Water. Like most of the bildungsromans - and autobiographies such as Austin Clarke's Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack - the key elements in this work include the almost formulaic picture of the poverty-stricken family home, the struggling parent or parents sacrificing everything to provide an education for their child, the brutal schoolmaster wielding the personalized whip (it usually has a name - here, it is Little Nell), the school curriculum that emphasizes the colonial master's culture and history to the exclusion of anything relevant to our young Caribbean, the inevitable preparation for the examinations (the successful completion of which will offer our protagonist an opportunity of escape), and finally the departure from the Caribbean homeland.

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Copyright © 1998, College Language Association. This article first appeared in CLA Journal: 42 (1998), 118-123.

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