To Da-duh, in Memoriam


This story is set in Barbados, a tropical island in the Caribbean that was a British colony for almost 340 years before gaining its independence in 1966. The rich culture of Barbados is the product of English, African, and Caribbean influences. Most of today's Barbadians are descendants of Africans who were slaves on British-owned sugar plantations.

To Da-duh, in Memoriam

By Paule Marshall

"...Oh Nana! all of you is not involved in this evil business Death, Nor all of us in life."
-- from "At My Grandmother's Grave" by Lebert Bethune

1 I did not see her at first I remember. For not only was it dark inside the crowded disembarkation shed1 in spite of the daylight ...

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I was alerted to her approach by my mother's hand which suddenly tightened around mine, and looking up I traced her gaze through the gloom in the shed until I finally made out the small, purposeful, painfully erect figure of the old woman headed our way.

3 Her face was drowned in the shadow of an ugly rolled-brim brown felt hat, but the details of her slight body and of the struggle taking place within it were clear enough -- an intense, unrelenting struggle between her back which was beginning to bend ever so slightly under the weight of her eighty-odd years and the rest of her which sought to deny those years and hold that back straight, keep it in line. Moving swiftly toward us (so swiftly it seemed she did not intend stopping when she reached us but would sweep past us out the doorway which opened onto the sea and like Christ walk upon the water!), she was caught between the sunlight at her end of the building and the darkness inside -- and for a moment she appeared to ...

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"Child," Da-duh said, and her tone, her quick scrutiny of my mother, the brief embrace in which they appeared to shy from each other rather than touch, wiped out the fifteen years my mother had been away and restored the old relationship. My mother, who was such a formidable figure in my eyes, had suddenly with a word been reduced to my status.

7 "Yes, God is good," Da-duh said with a nod that was like a tic."He has spared me to see my child again."

8 We were led forward then, apologetically because not only did Da-duh prefer boys but she also liked her grandchildren to be "white," that is, fair-skinned; and we had, I was to discover, a number of cousins, the outside ...

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To Da-duh, in Memoriam. (2017, March 12). Retrieved May 20, 2019, from
"To Da-duh, in Memoriam.", 12 Mar. 2017. Web. 20 May. 2019. <>
"To Da-duh, in Memoriam." March 12, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2019.
"To Da-duh, in Memoriam." March 12, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2019.
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Added: 3/12/2017 03:12:05 PM
Submitted By: thecheater
Category: Creative Writing
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4322
Pages: 16

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