Literature Review on “An Echo in the Bone” by Denis Scott
On May 1974, the first performance of Dennis Scott's An Echo in the Bone was staged by the Drama Society at the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica. The play deals with the destructive impact slavery has left on the history of Afro West Indians. Scotts aim, through this play, is to reclaim and recreate the past lost to our ancestors as well as the voice taken from them, that merely stands today as an echo in the bone. Though he aspires to recreate the history of then enslaved, he also acknowledges that the past should not hold possession over one’s self but act as a guided to not repeat past mistakes. He focuses on the period of enslavement and its transition to post emancipation while using the thematic issues of racial prejudice, the supernatural, gender roles in society and the repercussions of history. He sees the past as a guide to fully understanding ones true identity and culture, a view many of his generation holds in high regard as opposed to the modern generation who believes the past should remain in the past. With there being limited and somewhat biased credit of the period of enslavement, Scott intricate oral traditions and folklore animate his play to life with a sense of emotional and spiritual understanding. The title itself is a play on words and the play is written in colloquial language in Jamaican dialect and is centered on the murder of Mr. Charles, a white estate owner, whose death occurs nine days prior to the beginning of the play, presumably at the hands of a black peasant farm owner popularly known as Crew. In the pursuit to capture Crew, his shirt and machete were found by the river bed, covered with blood. It is this evidence that leads to the conclusion by his wife, Rachel, that Crew is dead. In accordance with her cultural tradition, Rachel decides to keep a nine night for her deceased husband. The play is set in Jamaica, in an old dilapidated sugar...
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