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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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    1. Miguel Street Characterization and Thematic Connection

    2. 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?

    3. 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

    4. 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

    5. 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

    6. 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

    7. 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

    8. 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

    9. 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

    10. 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

    11. 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)

    12. 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

    13. 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

    14. 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?

    15. 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

    16. 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

    17. 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)

    18. 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