Given the existence of two parallel universes in MR, it's an enticing idea to contrast the two â€“ each as offering its own different form of oppression, for example. Toussaint, while a diverse, safe (thanks to Granny Nanny), and relatively utopian-like civilization, gives up privacy to the point that one "couldn't even take a piss without the toilet analyzing the chemical composition of the urine and logging the data in the health records" (10). New Half-Way Tree, in contrast, offers a return to nature where freedom comes with the trade-off of facing myriad wild beasts with less technology at one's disposal. Opportunities for dualistic analysis appear easy and rewarding.
However, MR follows a generally cyclical pattern that crosses boundaries freely between the two worlds, particularly in relation to the Robber Queen myth and language.
Throw-away myths such as that seen in "How Tan-Tan Learn to Thief" link together the characters in ways that inform the reader (consider the foreshadowing of Tan-Tan marrying Antonio or how Tan-Tan forcing her neglectful mother to become her maid reveals hidden resentment) but take place outside of the main narrative. Yet in the cylical interconnectedness of MR, myths of the "Robber Queen" play a large part in Tan-Tan's childhood â€“ at one point she refuses to change out of a Robber Queen costume for two days straight (30). Faced with abuse by her father, Tan-Tan transforms into the myth herself to be free: "It must have been the Robber Queen who pulled out the knife. Antonio raised up to shove into the person on the bed again. It must have been the Robber Queen, the oulaw woman, who quick like a snake got the knife braced at her breastbone just as Antonio slammed his heavy body right onto the blade" (168). Tan-Tan becomes the myth whose stories shaped her childhood. All of this takes place within the broader context of a cultural tradition of heroes "escaping the horrors of slavery and making their way into brigandry as a way of surviving in the new and terrible white devils' land in which they'd found themselves" (57). Stories from 17th century Afro-Carribean myth, Touissant 'real life', Touissant myth, New Half-Way Tree 'real life', and New Half-Way Tree myth blur into one another, sharing stories, characters, and motifs (e.g. wisdom trumps physicality).
Similarly, Hopkinson's unique ways of storytelling blend these 'separate halves' together. The dialect remains constant throughout, and numerous changes in style (between the boldfaced nanny-narrator, 3rd person, boldfaced douen-speech) blur together.
I find parallels between this novel's celebration of a traditionally oppressed culture and the revolutionary picture of gender in Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. As both break free from restricing systems of oppression, both create worlds in which "the whole tendency to dualism that pervades human thinking may be found to be lessened, or changed" (94).