Examining how Sugar, Sugar represents the effects of experience and tradition on the bodies of migrant slave workers


  • Jas Ghuman


Bodies, Migrant, Diaspora, Memory, Identity


The experiences and traditions of migrant workers between the 17th and 19th centuries stem from their diaspora condition, forced upon them when they attempted to find work in safe and stable environments. In this context we can consider the bodies of these migrant workers, and investigate how they would have had to adapt to endure hardship. The hardship these workers endured is reflected in their clothing and skin, often a symbol of identity, as shown in Lainy Malkani’s Sugar, Sugar. There is also evidence in Malkani’s short stories of emotional hardship endured by the workers, particularly the women, who suffered abuse and sexual exploitation, coming to regard it as their own fault for not keeping their body ‘sacred’. Additionally, I will explore the struggle of the migrant slaves attempting to hang onto their traditions whilst experiencing hardship, and the effects this has on their experiences on the sugar plantations.