Crossing the Mangrove Interactive Oral Reflection Statement Essay

Throughout the interactive oral, my understanding of cultural and contextual elements in Crossing the Mangrove was enhanced. Conde’s novel was abundant with culture due to her setting. Her choice of Guadeloupe as location and 1986 as the time period allowed for a mixture of traditional and modern views and ways of life. As Guadeloupe was a small island, it allowed for isolation and wonder. Many of the inhabitants of Riviere au Sel had left the island at least once, but were still isolated and found other lands to be obscure.

The isolation also led to a unique type of class system based on race, education, or wealth.

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The influence of French colonization that had taken place was still evident in the community so lighter skin was envied in the town even though the inhabitants were generally all black.These people were respected due to skin color. Many of the inhabitants wanted a modernized way of life and in some aspects their culture related to ours.

Although it may seem like Guadeloupe in 1986 was a completely different world from the one we live in, they have many of the same struggles our community has. Respected members of the community always create scandals with every misstep. Families seem perfect on the inside but are all experiencing their own peculiar problems.

A new person in town can turn everyone’s world around and change a whole community. Comparing Riviere au Sel to my community enlightened me on the similarities between cultures. Discussion also showed the influence of the traditional ways and how their life is different. Many people believed in superstition and mixed it with religion. Francis Sancher believed he was cursed and haunted by demons so the women in his life would pray for his soul. Mama Sonson claimed to have visions of death that haunted her through life. One mother believed her son was developmentally disabled due to an affair she had before his birth. Views like these are usually seen as unacceptable in our society. Although, I think many people secretly believe in them. Whether it be superstition or religion that sparks these thoughts, they are evident in all parts of the world, especially in small towns. The interactive oral in class helped me realize that parts of our culture are similar to the culture in Crossing the Mangrove and are similar to many other cultures around the world.

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