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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

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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