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Earl Lovelaces The Wine of Astonishment - Book Report/Review Example

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Earl Lovelaces The Wine of Astonishment

Ivan Morton, a teacher turned politician, is the only hope for the villagers of Bonasse and he has become the new member in the legislative council of the country. In a reflective analysis of Ivan Morton, who torn between projecting a white background and his actual roots, it becomes obvious that the character is in limbo. "In The Wine of Astonishment, Lovelace produced one of his most revealing portraits of the alienated self in the character of Ivan Morton. Mortonis a teacher-politician whose climb up the social ladder alienates him from his black culture." (Rahim, 157) Therefore, Lovelace presents the character of Ivan Morton as experiencing what it means to be in limbo and the actions of this character throughout the work may be comprehended as the consequence of this experience. The Wine of Astonishment deals with the Spiritual Baptist community's struggle to achieve freedom as well as to assert their dignity as human beings and the character of Ivan Morton illustrates the experience of being in limbo as he is torn between projecting a white background and his actual roots.
A profound analysis of the character of Ivan Morton in The Wine of Astonishment makes it obvious that he is confronted by the issues of cultural identity and he is in limbo. He was the only hope for the villagers of Bonasse when they were undergoing a crucial struggle due to the Prohibition Ordinance which was passed in 1917 and the people of the Spiritual Baptist community believed that he could make a difference to their fate when this teacher turned politician became the new man in the legislative council of the country. However, he turns out to be putting the people in the limbo through his wretched deeds. He becomes the topic of contempt in the community as he is not able to rise to their expectations. He undergoes a conflict concerning his true identity and he cannot act according to the needs of the community. In fact, he is torn between projecting a white background and his actual roots and he feels as if being in limbo. Thus, Eva, the narrator of all the events in the novel, points to this crisis in this character which suggests how Ivan Morton is torn between projecting a white background and his actual roots. "If Ivan Morton can't understand that to free the church is to free us, if he can't understand that the church is the root for us to grow out from, the church is Africa in us, black in us, if he can't understand that the church is the thing, the instrument to make us legal and legitimate and to free him, Ivan Morton, himself too, if he can't understand thatthen he don't have any understanding of himself or of black people." (Lovelace, 133) Therefore, Ivan Morton, the black government official who grew up in the village, turns out to be the enemy of the community as he begins to set the people of his own village and community in the limbo.
Although the character of Ivan Morton at times offers indications of the concern for his roots, he is ultimately trained to forget it and move forward to achieve the identity of the White. Thus, he is torn between projected white background and his actual roots, and this conflict between the apparent and the real places him in limbo. The declared concern of Ivan Morton for the villagers manifests a mere ...Show more

Summary

Earl Lovelace's The Wine of Astonishment is an important novel in Caribbean literature which deals with the Caribbean history and culture concerning the struggle of a Spiritual Baptist community. The novel is also important in that it gives a very convincing illustration of a person who experiences what it means to be about being in limbo…
Author : millergarry
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