Clare Savage is a Jamaican born woman, who is first referred to as a “light-skinned woman.” Because of her lighter complection, Clare struggles with identifying herself as a person. She is seen visiting different places, such as New York, England and Jamaica in hopes of being able to answer the question concerning her purpose in the world. Clare’s experience in each place she visits is heavily impacted by her quest for identity.

When Clare decides that the answer to her desire for self identification would be in London, England, she refers to the country as the “mother-country.”  Clare was born in Jamaica, a country that was once ruled by the British Empire. In order to fully understand why Clare decided to travel to London and why she refers to England as the “mother country,” it is important to understand the relationship between Jamaica and England.

Map depicting the Triangular Trade route Google Search, Google,

Jamaica began as a Spanish colony that was won over by the British in 1655. According to the video above, during the seventeenth century the island of Jamaica became an essential addition to the British Empire, proving to be very economically beneficial. Jamaica’s significance was primarily due to the islands production of sugar, one of the leading  commodities imported into Britain at the time. During the time of the formation of the British Empire, there was a high demand for cheap sugar cane. Because of the high demand for sugar and lack of expert labor in England, the country decided to take part in the Triangular Trade System. According to an essay written by Mark Govier, “In the colonies of St.Kitts, Barbados, Jamaica, Maryland and Jamaica, the use of slaves imported from Africa had been been established  to varying degrees, and was growing” (203). Essentially, what Govier describes is the Triangular Trade System. This system allowed slaves and crops to be traded between Europe, Africa and the Americas. Govier goes on to say, “…the Royal Society was part of the social and economic order which chose slavery as the most viable means of generating wealth via commodity production…” (203-204). The slaves made up the majority of the population. These slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugarcane plantations in order for England to cheaply produce sugarcane.

Although the British Empire was made up of several other colonies, the city of London was most famously known to be the center of the Empire. Being that London was considered to be the center of the entire Empire, it was a city that was referred to as the mother-country by the colonies that were under English rule.

In the novel No Telephone to Heaven, Clare Savage is on a quest for self identity. She decides that she might find her place of belonging by going back to the roots of her country. Clare’s awareness of Jamaica’s history with the British Empire is what fueled her decision in going back to London. Her reference to this city as the “mother-country” shows that she wants to go all the way back to her roots, in hopes of finding her purpose in the world.


“YouTube.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Jan. 2017,

Govier, Mark. “The Royal Society, Slavery and the Island of Jamaica: 1660-1700.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, vol. 53, no. 2, 1999, pp. 203–217. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Google Search, Google,