The House of Six Doors Referenced in Island Bodies by Dr. R. King

Sep 02
No Comments by patricia Book Shelf


In her recently published book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination,
Dr. Rosamond S. King references The House of Six Doors in “Force-Ripe” (Chapter 4) on Caribbean Women’s Sexual Agency. Dr. King’s work is an important look at sexuality within the context of the Caribbean culture, both imagined, as well as the actual, often contradictory expression. I have quoted paragraphs from her section on The House of Six Doors. I appreciate Dr. King’s keen observation of the dynamic between the main characters, and how their choices related to sexual expression informs their self image and growth.

From a Somatic Depth Psychological perspective Dr. King’s work brings to light the cultural dissonance between the unconscious bodily instincts, and the conscious cultural constraints. Somatic Depth Psychology recognizes that the body, or soma holds information that is unconscious, but has great influence on the decisions an individual makes. Dr King’s analysis of the characters is valuable in informing the psyche-soma connection. 

From chapter four of Island Bodies: 
Lucy and Heremakhonon are coming of age novels by two of the most revered living Caribbean women writers, Jamaica Kincaid and Maryse Conde, respectively. Both books are considered classics. The third novel examined here, The House of Six Doors by Patricia Selbert, is a valuable but virtually unknown book from the Dutch Caribbean diaspora. All three novels are explicit about the authors’ opinions of the gendered moral expectations of their novels’ middle class or aspiring middle-class Caribbean communities. p.123,124

In 1972, sisters Serena and Hendrika move away from Curacao and the stability of their grandmother to the United States with their mother, Gabriela, a little money and no preparation for their new life in a new country, a different language, a racial system that classifies their light skin and white or Latin, depending on what language they are speaking. The mother’s plan is that she will work as a nurse while her daughters become movie stars. Although they are old enough to see the problems with her plan, the sisters stay quiet, having witnessed the mother’s severe mood swings and multiple suicide attempts when she was contradicted or when events did not go her way. Each daughter claims sexual agency in ways that have significant but very different ramifications for their bildung, their formation into mature adults.


Aug 02
1 Comment by patricia Miscellaneous


39 years ago I met my soul mate.
A year later to the day, we were married.
Yesterday we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary.
To love you, and be loved by you, has made my life magical.
 Here’s to many more years together on this extraordinary journey called life, my love.


An Immigrant’s Story~Taught at UCSB Extension!

Jul 18
No Comments by patricia Events

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Thank you to Deborah Gordon for choosing to teach An Immigrant’s Story. I am honored that the abridged version of The House of Six Doors, was used for both the winter and spring quarters at UCSB, in an Extension Reading and Discussion class for foreign students. There were students from all over the world in this English class.

The abridged version was published to offer speakers of languages other than English, content they would be able to relate to. At the end of each quarter I was invited to meet the students, I was delighted that they had many thoughtful questions.

A big thank you to all the students. I enjoyed your questions and comments tremendously.



Mar 12
No Comments by patricia Miscellaneous

This is an update for all of you who are asking about what I have been up to.
I have been working on my dissertation for my Ph.D., and my research topic is:
The Somatic Sensory and Somatic Emotional Aspects of the Immigrant Experience.

What does that mean?

We not only experience the world with our minds, but we also experience it through our bodies. With our minds we are able to think about our surroundings; with our bodies we sense and feel the world around us. The culture in which we were born greatly shapes the way in which we do these things. Because our home cultures feel familiar to us, we often do not think about all the ways in which they form our minds and our bodies. Immigrants can often become disoriented when they leave their original cultures and notice that people in other cultures do not think or feel the same way as they did back home. In order to fit into a new cultures, we usually focus on learning to think in new ways without considering new ways to sense or feel. I’m doing research to better understand the effects of sensing and feeling in the immigrants experience.

Although it is a lot of hard work, I love this topic! It’s so cool!

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