Georgia and Them There United States by Velma Pollard
In Georgia and Them There United States by Velma Pollard we have the theme of discontent, connection, pride, shame and the American Dream. Narrated in the first person by a young Jamaican girl called June the reader realises after reading the story that Pollard may be exploring the theme of discontent. Aunt Teach appears to be discontent with life in her Jamaica. She has nothing good to say about it. A marked contrast from what she thinks of Brooklyn. June on the other hand is not really sold on the American Dream. She sees poverty and waste in Brooklyn. It is nothing like what Aunt Teach has told her. Georgia herself also seems to be impressed with Brooklyn and has acclimatized by beginning to wear a blonde wig, just like Aunt Teach. It is also interesting that at no stage in the story does June make any real connection in Brooklyn. It is a world that is alien to her and one that remains unexciting.
What is also interesting about the story is the attachment that June has to Jamaica. Though she is excited about America she till knows where her real home is. It is the simple things in life that she likes. How the sun shines, how the path to her home is almost vertical. Little things like that thrill June and later on in the story the reader discovers that Brooklyn has nothing on June’s homeland. Unlike Aunt Teach who has immersed herself fully in her new home. Any remnants of her past seem to be forgotten now that she lives in Brooklyn. This may be important as Pollard could be contrasting June and Aunt Teach. How Aunt Teach is impressed by the idea of freedom, yet she has changed herself completely and may possibly have forgotten her roots. Though it is true that Aunt Teach gets along with all her work mates there is a sense that she has forgotten her family (apart from Georgia). She wants them to come to America too and as such there is a sense that she wants them to adjust to Brooklyn and by doing so forget about their roots.
There may be some symbolism in the story which might be important. June is impressed with the American clothes she receives from Aunt Teach so there may still be a part of her that would like to go to America. If America was more like home. This is understandable as the American Dream is a global aspiration. Many people from many different countries believe in the American Dream. Most likely because it is sold so well. Though not by Aunt Teach who may live in worse conditions than June. The fact that June has shaved her hair may also be symbolically significant. She is showing who she is and where she is coming from. If anything she is proud of her roots. Whereas Aunt Teach and Georgia have completely changed how they look possibly out of embarrassment and a desire to blend in with white America.
The end of the story is interesting as the reader gets a true sense about how June feels. She asks her father not to tell anyone she went to America. This is important as it highlights the fact that June may feel ashamed about going to America. America is a very different world to the world June knows and it does not suit her personality or character. She is a home bird and happy to be one. She no longer has aspirations to live in America (if she ever had) and is old enough and wise enough to make up her mind. She knows that she can live a peaceful and happy life at home and does not need to go to America to find happiness. Which does not appear to really exist apart from in Aunt Teach’s head. America represents change for June. A change which may or may not be pleasant. There is no sense either that June will change her mind. During her stay in Brooklyn she has seen enough to know where her home really is.