Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture & Education 2014
ISBN 978-967-13140-0-5

Making Generations: Corregidora as Revenge Novel

Shaheena Ayub Bhatti

National University of Modern Languages


“We were told to make generations” and that’s just what we have done and what you also must do. These are words uttered by Ursa’s mother and her inability to “make generations” is what forms the crux of this novel. Gayle Jones, in writing about the Portuguese coffee planter, Corregidora, underlines the most important aspect of slavery: the double marginalization of women on the plantations. These women, struggling to remove the shackles of slavery find themselves in postbellum Southern States, as much enslaved by the likes of Mutt Thomas and Tadpole as they were by Corregidora. Gayl Jones's classic novel with the tale of the blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother is a tale of revenge, but revenge of a rather strange kind: they must bring forth babies into this world who will bear witness to the sexual and emotional abuse borne by these women. The last will and testament of UC’s mother is to “make generations” and this statement, read in the backdrop of the plantation owners burning of the slave-owning papers to escape being penalized for encouraging slavery, attempts to trace the permanent scars left on the minds of the slave women. Various critics have given their opinions of Gayle Jones’ first novel and her perspective of slavery and its impact on slave women working on the coffee plantations. James Baldwin wrote: “Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women.”


Corregidora: Name of the Brazilian Coffee planter, Antebellum: Post slavery, LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

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