“Sugar Cane Alley” directed by Euzhan Palcy was filmed in Martinique in 1983; a period after slavery was abolished. The film tells the story of 11years orphan, Jose, who was born on a French-speaking island of Martinique. The living condition of Jose and other characters in the film reflects many of the same ideologies of slavery from many years before. This paper will summarize the whole film and will additionally highlight some of the Caribbean themes covered in the course.
In Martinique, almost everyone works in a sugar cane field. They cut sugar cane in the overseer’s fields, which barely provides money to live off. Their poor condition can be picked up in one scene, when during the play, one child broke the precious sugar bowl of Ma.Tine. As a result, she beats Jose because it was the only bowl they had. Ma.Tine, a grandmother of Jose is hard-working and God fearing woman. She never allows Jose to work in a cane field because she believed that one day their poor condition will be over and Jose will provide them a good life. So, the only way to come out of their difficult situation was to do well in the school for Jose. This is exactly what Jose does; he studies hard and takes an exam, which awarded him a license to attend a school in Fort-de-France.
In the meantime, he becomes a friend with Mr. Medeouze, a very old man. He is so old that he remembers his day of slavery, and tells Jose that working in the cane fields is also a form of slavery. Furthermore, he dreams back of going to Africa someday, and Jose says that he will follow him. In addition, Medeouze also says that his parents were emigrated from Africa. This scene indicates the slavery period that was discussed in the class because during Sugar Plantation System, when slaves were required to do work on cane fields; colonizers had turned to Africa and Asia for the workers.
After passing the exam for Fort-de-France, Jose received only a partial scholarship for the school. This indicates the racism issue discussed in lecture because during slavery period whites were considered to be superior over black slaves. By suppressing black slaves, the colonizers were ruling over them. However, hardworking Jose and Ma.Tine never get worried and they moved to the outskirts of the city, where Ma. Tine does laundries to support Jose for his education.
Meanwhile, in the school Jose becomes the victim of racism again, when he wrote the essay for one of his class....