Table of Contents
In the face of overt racial prejudice in the Canadian society, Clarke strategically empowers Josephine, a white Canadian youth, to redefine the trajectory of racial prejudice in Canada. Idora’s interaction with the white representatives of the upper class in Canada demonstrates the profound segregation. She is inescapably stung by the issues of racism and further oppressed by the tentacles of colonialism in Barbados, Canada. However, in all these diabolical depictions of the racist Canada, Arthur Clarke intentionally assigns to Josephine a unique role of being Idora’s closes friend. In a world where hope seems to be slipping away with time, the friendship between the white teenager and Idora appears to be progressing. Their relationship is a manifestation of how humanity can ascend beyond the web of racial prejudice and develop a common approach to overcome the challenges. Evidently, throughout the novel More, the friendship between Josephine and Idora marks an important scale in defining female friendship in the novel. In this work, this relationship will be critically outlined. The features of their friendship will be discussed and its role in defining other salient issues in the novel will be explored.
Complexity of Josephine and Idora’s Friendship
A critical study of the relationship between Josephine and Idora reveals a subtly complicated kinship. Josephine’s background and Idora’s life are in a stark contrast. In a more subtle sense, Josephine’s life represents the monolith of racial prejudice that Idora loathed in all its forms. Having been married to a strongly racist man, it was easy to conclude that Josephine was an embodiment of the racial segregation that was prominent in Canada. Nevertheless, the writer chooses this character to make her the closest friend to Idora. “…Josephine was her best friend in the world, she would swear to that” (Clarke, 144). This conflicting friendship choice is meant to communicate the subtle complexity in the relationship between the two individuals. While Josephine’s marriage to Brandon, a dyed-in-the-wool racial apologist has since ended, one would expect that she would end up as a surreptitious racist due to the influence of her former husband. Although this is not highlighted in the work, there is sufficient evidence that suspicion formed a central axis in the characters’ friendship.
At the same time, the love that Idora has for Josephine prefigures the contentment that she finally felt when she became a Canadian citizen. Regardless of the suspicions surrounding their friendship, they are bonded by genuine love. Codes of honest appreciation for each other are truly evident in the work. No wonder that Idora rediscovers her ties with Canada as a country through the relationship with Josephine. Perhaps, the writer uses the struggles of Idora to identify herself as a Canadian to stop her own internal turmoil of accepting to be a Canadian regardless of the diabolical racial segregation that was widespread in the country at that time. Idora’s own sentiments affirm these assertions (Clarke 285). She seems to be thinking aloud about how strange it must be that they are close friends with Josephine regardless of the epic racial issues in the country
…Her friend? ….Not Josephine…, I surprise myself, and wonder how people see me and she…,see me and her…, walking and holding hands, as if we are…and laughing together .., sometime even skipping , like two teenage girls. (Clarke 285)
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Clarke has positioned Josephine at a strategic point to help generate a comic counterpoint to the narrowly defined “planet” of Idora. She exposes the prejudice to Idora’s mentality herself, especially, in regards to how she views the white people. However, while this is not directly known to Idora herself, there is a way to define how they relate. It further reveals the hidden unease within which their friendship is characterized. As mentioned earlier, they are both located at two different ends of the balance regarding their experience in a racial world, but nonetheless, they share a genuine passion for each other. Regardless of their circumstantial episodes with racism, these two friends have a genuine concern for each other. Idora, for instance, finds it very hard to understand Josephine’s inability to visit Kensington market which she considers “alternative” spots for visitors in the city. This further submerges the complexity of their friendship into a sea of confusion.
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As the writer progresses with the storyline, any critical reader would be at ease to dissect that the complexity of the friendship between these two friends poses s huge significance both to them as the main characters, or to the readers. Their friendship is highly rewarding and cannot be overestimated in the book, but it is possible to make an admission that the unease nature of their friendship equally qualifies the readers to label their friendship as “problematic.” She mentions how she hates Josephine, “I really hate that girl Josephine…” (Clarke 284). Idora does not really mean that she abhors Josephine, not at all; this simply shows the level.
Importance of the Relationship between Idora and Josephine
Josephine, no doubt, has offered Idora a peak into the other side of the white society. She has been positioned in the novel as a bridge to fill the gap between the white supremacy and the black hatred for the whites. Considering the work critically, the reader can view how effective Josephine is in replacing Idora’s highly prejudiced mentality regarding the white race, with a more liberal understanding of the concept of racism. In the beginning of the novel, the mental picture of the reader depicts bitter Idora. By all standards, her repugnance at the white society is evident. She despises Canada and other instruments that are connected to the white man. She loathes the white man immensely, which is understandable judging by the systemic racial segregation in Canada at that time. However, her friendship with Josephine starts a new era of thoughtfulness for Idora. She seems to have been engaged in an explicit mental shift after their meeting and subsequent friendship.