“She is White. Black. Female. Lover. Beloved. Daughter. Traveler. Friend. Scholar. Terrorist. Farmer.” (91)

The video below discusses the importance of self-identification. This video also explains some factors that may affect how one self-identifies.

In the novel, No Telephone to Heaven, Clare Savage is seen traveling through Jamaica, London and New York. Clare’s reason for visiting three different places and living an almost nomadic lifestyle, is the hope that she will discover who she is as a person. Throughout the novel, readers are taken on Clare’s journey toward self-identification.

This quote is important to the overall novel because it is the first insight to the confusion that Clare seems to be experiencing. While trying to define Clare as an individual Michelle Cliff uses many different words. Clare’s fragmented identity is shown in this quote because Cliff uses some antonyms when describing who Clare is. Cliff states, “She is White. Black…” (91). The societal factors of colorism and race are expressed in this line in the novel. According the video above, society has a large impact on the way we self-identify. White and black are two colors that are thought of to be opposites. Clare is described as White because of her lighter skin complexion. Cliff goes on to describe Clare as black because she is of African descent. Cliff moves on to say that Clare is someone who loves others and is someone who is loved by others. Ultimately, Cliff use of antonyms shows readers the confusion that Clare experiences while on her path to self identification.  


“YouTube.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Nov. 2015, youtu.be/Q84PtXfpANI.