Desire and Belonging in Caryl Phillips' "Crossing the River" Book Review by ohn

Desire and Belonging in Caryl Phillips' "Crossing the River"
A look at the effects of the African diaspora.
# 1624 | 2,300 words | 1 source | 2000 | US
Published on Feb 17, 2003 in Ethnic Studies (Conflict) , Ethnic Studies (Africa) , Literature (English) , English (General)

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This paper takes a look at the African-American experience starting from slavery and extending through American history to World War II. The paper also discusses the attempts by African-Americans to "belong" to American society, especially through religion.

From the Paper:

"In Crossing the River, Caryl Phillips' construction of desire plays a key role to his depiction of the African diaspora. In his novel, common desires to find love, acceptance, and belonging - tie together the experiences of generations of black people torn from Africa without new places to consider home or new people to consider family. Phillips uses their desires to show that freedom from slavery has only been part of black men and women's fight. Once free, these men and women are rejected by white societies and left with nowhere to turn. Thus, through his representations of this common desire, Phillips puts a focus on a less clear cut problem than slavery or freedom, one that has faced and is still facing black people: that of belonging. His novel serves to urge displaced people to recognize this desire to belong and to be accepted, and, instead of giving up, to always struggle through hardships to try to fulfill it. "

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APA Format

Desire and Belonging in Caryl Phillips' "Crossing the River" (2003, February 17) Retrieved April 19, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Desire and Belonging in Caryl Phillips' "Crossing the River"" 17 February 2003. Web. 19 April. 2021. <>