Learned Resourcefulness in St. Domingo

Dillon’s article mentions both Madame Leclerc as lacking the resourcefulness of the Creole and the Creole as a self-reliant individual. Mary looks up to the Creole as someone capable of being self sustaining; in practice, the exact opposite of the person relying on a metropolitan center (such as Paris) for the perpetuation of one’s (social, economic) existence.
However, Dillon quotes Sansay’s text that says that Creole woman have “precisely the inner resources” to support themselves. Is self-reliance, then, an innate characteristic and not something bred? Is Madame Leclerc’s “voluptuousness” also somehow a trait she has been “afflicted” with? It is hard to believe that the desire to lounge faintly on a couch, dropping one’s slipper repeatedly, is an inherited rather than learned behavior. Likewise, the resourcefulness of the Creole woman is also a behavior learned because of harsh circumstances, rather than an outpouring of inner resourcefulness that has been cleverly hidden up to now. The challenge, perhaps, is more along the lines of how hard are people willing to work to relearn patterns of behavior better suited for their current situation.
Clara, Mary’s sister, epitomizes this shift. As Dillon points out, she has much the same background of the voluptuous colonial wife as Madame Leclerc, however, she confronts her changed circumstances and forces out of herself this resourceful, supposedly Creole behavior that allows her to adapt. In fact, even before her circumstances in St. Domingo necessitate Clara to be resourceful, Clara’s abusive relationship, which likely would have occurred in the metropolis as well, demanded that same trait.

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