42 pages 1 hour read

Danzy Senna

Caucasia

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1998

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Symbols & Motifs

Negrobilia

Before Birdie leaves with her mother, Deck gives her a box of odds and ends he calls Negrobilia. It contains:

a Black Nativity program from the Nkrumah School, a fisted pick […], a black Barbie doll head, an informational tourist pamphlet on Brazil, the silver Egyptian necklace inscribed with hieroglyphics […], and a James Brown eight-track cassette with a faded sticker in the corner that said ‘Nubian Notion’ (127).

Birdie can see that he threw the objects together haphazardly, but the box that represents cultural blackness comes to gain significance the further she strays from her black self. 

The box even comes to be a religious object: “I practiced my own form of praying. I would sit, fingering the objects in my box of negrobilia, usually humming a little tune […], while I tried to imagine what Cole was doing at that very moment” (140). The box is a touchstone for Birdie’s relationship with Cole, and she uses it as though it creates a psychic connection. As Birdie moves deeper into her white life, the box starts to lose its meaning: “I blasted the Cars and sifted through my shoe box of negrobilia, staring at the same old dusty objects, fingering the same old plastic pick, the same old Egyptian necklace that was tarnished and in need of polishing” (272).

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 42 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools