Although Slavery Is Rarely Mentioned in “Le Cœur À Rire Et À Pleurer”, Its Legacy Haunts the Text. to What Extent Would You Agree with This Statement?

Le cœur à rire et à pleurer by Maryse Condé is unquestionably a text in which the author subtly alludes to slavery several times; in fact, I believe that the notion that it ‘haunts’ the text is a very appropriate description. Plainly, Condé doesn’t seem to wish to mention slavery by name very often in the text. However, it is evident that in her memoir she is very aware of the undeniably negative effect that slavery and its respective legacy had on several of the most memorable events of her childhood while growing up in Guadeloupe. Incontrovertibly, Condé refers to it often enough for slavery to be able to be classed as one of the major themes which manifests in the text.
This somewhat cautious referral to slavery can primarily be seen through the racism against black people which is still shown in Guadeloupe during her described childhood. Even though the final Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1838 , the racism associated with it still existed in the 1930s when Maryse Condé was born and started to grow up.
One example of this is in part ten of her memoir, ‘The Loveliest Woman in the World.’ There is an evident racial hierarchy which exists in the Cathedral, shown by Condé’s statement : « Je ne pouvais m’empêcher de remarquer combien elles étaient rares, les figures noires ou simplement colorées dans la nef centrale de la cathédrale sous la carène renversée de la voûte. »   (pp. 90) This demonstrates that race was still a very significant factor in determining the importance of certain people. This goes to show that slavery does indeed ‘haunt’ the text, as black people were still being treated in an unfair manner which made them seem inferior to white people; even though slavery was very much in the past at the time of Condé’s childhood.
Condé also reiterates a Guadeloupian nursery rhyme which is very much self-degrading for black people to sing as it embodies the wish to be white instead of black; indeed, Maryse Condé calls those who sang it, including...