Miguel street
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Miguel Street. Characterization and Thematic Connection. Chapter 1: Bogart. Named after Amer. Movie char. Has no family; quiet and to himself “most bored man [the narrator] ever saw” Plays cards Leaves to America and changes for the worst Key issues:

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Miguel Street

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Miguel street

Miguel Street

Characterization and Thematic Connection


Chapter 1 bogart

Chapter 1: Bogart

  • Named after Amer. Movie char.

  • Has no family; quiet and to himself

  • “most bored man [the narrator] ever saw”

  • Plays cards

  • Leaves to America and changes for the worst

  • Key issues:

    • Concept of becoming “americanized”

    • Drinking, gambling, marital relationships

    • “being a man among we men”- fathering a child = manhood?


Chapter 2 the thing without a name

Chapter 2:The Thing Without a Name

  • Tone is diff.; narrator likes Popo

  • “poetic man”

  • Creating the “thing without a name”

    • Always working but to what avail?

    • Defines his identity

    • Source of stress

  • Popo is a “man-woman”; his wife leaves him; he cleans up; she comes back; he is jailed for stealing to impress/play the working game

  • Concept of dreams versus reality


Chapter 3 george and the pink house

Chapter 3: George and the Pink House

  • Looks just like his donkey and causes fear in narrator and town

  • He brutally beats his kids and his wife

  • Taunts narrator when he walk by

  • Elias excuses his father (29) as old and unintentional

  • Mother dies: worst funeral he has ever seen

  • Dolly giggles out of nervous incapacity for control

  • George finds a new woman but it is short-lived; opens a brothel; Dolly marries and then is humilated to her breaking point and leaves

  • George dies at the end; Elias attends funeral


Chapter 4 his chosen calling

Chapter 4: His Chosen Calling

  • Elais is diff. : Brains and determination

  • Elias attempts to pass Cambridge Cert. at the school Titus Hoyt runs

  • Wants to be a doctor

  • Narrator finds “litritcher” beautiful in Elias’ mouth

  • Receives 3rd grade on exam; tries for 2nd grade; teaches at Titus’s school; decides to be a sanitary inspector because he “like[d] the work”; tried to fly to places and pass the test- failed each time

  • Physical labor vs mental labor

  • Work versus education

  • Without education, cannot work in higher paying jobs


Chapter 5 man man

Chapter 5: Man-Man

  • Man-man = mad; town left him alone

  • Ran for “every election” in the city

  • Never worked but was never idle (47)

  • Scribbled “schoooooool” when narrator went to school- equates to work

  • His “accent” was like an Englishman

  • Uses his dog to steal from town; used dog to get back at shop owner who threw him out

  • Used his dog to sully clothes and sheets so that they would become unusable and then thrown away so he could scavenge them

  • Sadly, his dog was run over

  • Saw “God” and attempts to use religion to get attention; state that he is the new Messiah

  • “stone me brethren”- went “crazy” and taken away for good


Chapter 6 b wordsworth

Chapter 6: B. Wordsworth

  • English was “so good that it did not sound natural”(57)

  • Poet; invites narrator over to eat mangoes- has a garden and tells story of one boy and his pregnant girl who are in love until she dies and he loses both

  • “look up at the sky”(60)- narrator forgets all of the “anger and the tears and the blows”

  • “the greatest poem in the world”- one line a month; he is not concerned with money

  • Poet not feeling well and tells narrator that all he said was a lie; poet then “vanishes” as if never existed


Chapter 7 the coward

Chapter 7: The Coward

  • Big Foot never smiled, “looked” dangerous so inspired fear; his father beat him but was killed in a riot

  • Mischievous and mean (those who knew him knew him as such and not a comedian)

  • Americans were in Port-O-Spain: Hat had all kids begging and selling gum and choc.

  • Big Foot saves narrator from drunk soldier

  • Big Foot scared of the little dog: exposed his weakness and fear; cut his foot and narrator saw more weakness

  • Became a boxer and cried when he lost

  • Looks can be deceiving


Chapter 8 the pyrotechnist

Chapter 8: The Pyrotechnist

  • Full of rage and tries to be a comedian beat his children (10 of them)

  • Hat does not think him funny and thinks he is lying to himself (83)

  • Harrassed neighbor Bhakcu

  • More like a ”bird” than a man

  • Wants attention to feel like a man; got drunk and threatened to beat up everyone; morgan and family left to country

  • He was caught cheating and his wife holds him up by the waist and scolds him: “For the first time…he was really being laughed at by the people…and it completely broke him” (90)

  • House catches on fire and fireworks go off and he is charged with arson– irony: his work and search for value causes him to have to leave


Chp 9 titus hoyt

Chp. 9: Titus Hoyt

  • Hat says Titus is a thinker

  • Teacher and challenged the narrator; “one of the sadnesses in [his] life that [he] never fulfilled Titus’…hopes for [his] academic success” (97)

  • Believed in faith

  • Issues of the war are broached

  • Formed a literary club; took a trip to Fort George- Titus lies and all upset—Titus is a dreamer versus reality of education


Chapter 10 the maternal instinct

Chapter 10: The Maternal Instinct

  • Laura: 8 kids from 7 men

  • Narrator catches on to how Laura lives (109); she is a prostitute

  • Nathaniel moves in from “outside”: mistreats women

  • Calypso about beating women(111): “everyone needs a good dose of blows” – acceptable?

  • Laura beats Nathanial

  • Oldest daughter Lorna old enough for education and Laura wishes this for her child and for her not to become like her (115)

  • Lorna pregnant; Laura cries for the first time: Lorna: “swims out and out until [she] tired and can’t swim no more” (117)


Chapter 11 the blue cart

Chapter 11: The Blue Cart

  • Eddos works at a dump and deals with junk yet brushes his teeth all the time

  • Found a new pair of shoes at dump- they looked good

  • Collected books and proud to sell many of them for cheap- value is having them and not reading them (like Gatsby’s library)

  • Got a girl pregnant from a “wild Spanish looking girl” and when brought to him, it was obvious she was not his


Chp 12 love love love alone

Chp. 12: Love, Love, Love, Alone

  • Miss Hilton dies and new couple moves in: focus on gossip of small town

  • Man (Toni)was rude, drunk and even his dog ran away from him; soldier

  • Mrs. Herreria was white and had married him “to take care of him” ; she eventually leaves; ending imagery is her sitting in a lawn chair outside of a fancy house

  • Narrator’s mom befriends her and helps her


Chp 13 the mechanical genious

Chp. 13: The Mechanical Genious

  • Ironic: Mr. Bhacku has no idea how to fix cars

  • Wants to feel value for his work as a man and fails

  • Narrator likes him for the same reason he liked Popo: he was an artist: “He interfered with motor-cars for the joy of the thing, and he never seemed to worry about money” (157)

  • Mr. Bhacku became a pundit for hinduism; how easy is it to become religious? How devoted is he?


Chapter 14 caution

Chapter 14: Caution

  • Bolo warns against propaganda; war is over and he does not believe it; Amer. Soldiers leaving George V Park

  • Bolo was “born sad” (166)

  • Used to read the newspaper a great deal when the war broke out; played a “lottery” to find the missing ball

  • Bought into a housing scam due to having read about it in a magazine- lost faith/trust in news

  • Tries to leave to Venezuela; sells box cart to Eddos; got scammed again

  • “you see how black people is. They only quick to take, take. They don’t want to give. That is why black people never get on.” (174)

  • Secretly played the sweepstakes for 3 years and does not believe it when he wins


Chapter 15 until the soldiers came

Chapter 15: Until the Soldiers Came

  • Edward, Hat’s brother; artist who liked to paint

  • Got a group together to go catch crabs

  • They looked suspicious so were stopped by the police (had a van and shovels)

  • Then “Hitler invaded France and Americans invaded Trinidad”(184-185)

  • Edward changed and dressed like Amer. when the soldiers came; all trinidadians tried to become Amer.; worked out, drank white milk and showed off their arms, sang in public for attention

  • Has to get married due to “making girl pregnant”; Hat disagrees; she was dubbed “a modern girl” and disliked; edward lied to make it seem ok that he married her


Chapter 16 hat

Chapter 16: Hat

  • Boyee and Errol are Hat’s nephews

  • Hat took 13 boys to cricket game; narrator learned Hat’s “…passion for impossible bets” (202)

  • Narrator sees that Hat enjoys life

  • Dogs resemble their owners and Hat has a tame dog

  • Has parrots

  • Hat got in trouble with the police for small things- watering down his milk to sell, cock-fighting

  • Discussion of the corruption of law in Trinidad (205)

  • Narrator noticed that Hat enjoyed simple things; did not need more

  • Hat brings a woman home (Dolly) and breaks up the Miguel Street Club

  • Hat’s wife ran away with all gifts that he bought her; Hat snaps and kills a woman –but not Dolly- and sentenced to 4 years

  • Narrator no longer a boy, but a man, left school and he “was earning money”

  • “When Hat went to jail, part of me had died”(214)


Chapter 17 how i left miguel street

Chapter 17: How I Left Miguel Street

  • Narrator was drinking and acting wild

  • “Is not my fault really. Is just Trinidad. What else anybody do around here besides drink?”(216)

  • Wants to study engineering abroad, but onky one scholarship left, so decides to study drugs to go to London

  • His going away party was like a “wake”

  • Uncle Bhacku took he and his mother to the airport

  • He leaves while respectfully acknowledging his uncle’s artist self: he hears the “tappet knocking”

  • He sees his shadow: “a dancing dwarf” on the tarmac


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