Caribbean literature records the disillusionment with the reality of political independence that followed the failure of the West Indies Federation, and indicts the confederacy of dunces largely responsible. Peter Abraham’s This Island Now, V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men, Oonya Kempadoo’s Buxton Spice and Caryl Philips’s A State of Independence, among others, have excoriated both colonial and national political machinations that divide states and the region on the grounds of race, class and ideological differences. I want to attend, however, to a more positive vision which cautiously raises hopes for the prospects of Caribbean citizens to actually achieve a state of independence, or as Erna Brodber puts it in The Rainmaker’s Mistake, entry into ‘the Free’ (2007 150). This process, however, takes place far outside the realm of organised politics: specifically, the realm of Spirit. The writing of Erna Brodber and Kei Miller envisions Caribbean people accessing epistemological resources of their own cultural fashioning, resources which properly harnessed admit the possibility of growth, transcendence and fulfilment beyond the strictly material realm. In both, the liberation of the individual is linked with that of the community and imagines achievement of a real confederation.
OCallaghan, Evelyn, Writing states of independence: Erna Brodber and Kei Miller, Kunapipi, 34(2), 2012.