Brackish Water : Stories

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ivory Kelly (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Liza Wieland

Abstract: Each of the five short stories in this collection depicts the struggle of a Belizean character and takes place in a locale that recalls the history or culture of a specific region of Belize. There are both male and female protagonists in these stories and their circumstances represent both urban and rural life. These characters are also of various ages--from a ten year old boy to a woman in her seventies. There are however two important characteristics that are common to all of these protagonists. They all represent demographic groups that have historically been marginalized in Belize. There is for example a Q'eqchi Maya farmer whose infant son dies as a result of racial prejudice and neglect at a public hospital. There is also a ten-year-old village boy who longs to own a store-bought kite but his father's meager earnings makes this nearly impossible. The second similarity among these characters is that in their quest to free themselves from their external circumstances--racial prejudice poverty rural life broken family--they all discover that they must first overcome their own self-imposed constraints.  The title Brackish Water represents the threads that run through all five stories. First it symbolizes the physical landscapes in the stories as each one is set chiefly in a community that is located on the banks of a river or creek in Belize: Moho River Sittee River Halouver Creek and Belize River. These bodies of water are all brackish due to the mixture of fresh water with water that flows inland from the Caribbean Sea. Rivers and creeks have played a major role in Belize's history: from pre-Colombian days when rivers formed a major part of Maya trading routes to the colonial era when timber and chiclé--then the mainstays of the economy--were floated down-river and shipped to overseas markets to the present day when many communities still rely on rivers and creeks for their livelihood. The title Brackish Water also points to the dichotomies that are explored in the five stories: male and female rich and poor privileged and marginalized urban and rural black and white North Side and South Side local and foreign and so forth. Furthermore the title Brackish Water symbolizes the complex mixture of ethnic groups in Belize and the challenges and triumphs that this plurality creates. Finally brackish water is hard water and therefore represents the challenges that the characters in these stories must overcome in order to achieve personal fulfillment. 

Additional Information

Date: 2011
Anglo Caribbean, Belizean, Caribbean, Caribbean fiction, Creole
Caribbean literature

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