Character Analysis: 'What We All Long For' by Dionne Brand

1609 Words Jan 12th, 2018 6 Pages
However, this novel is full of descriptions of streets and neighborhoods in Toronto. How do characters navigate these and how does their relationship to spaces shape or affect their sense of identity?
The city, Toronto in this case, presents a web of streets and geographical space that threatens to lock its citizens in a certain demarcated way of life and conduct. The four key characters in this narrative - Tuyen, Carla, Jackie, and Oku - each feel blocked in by the constrained locality that they have been born into and each attempts to escape it in his own way.: Tuyen by being an artist, Carla by being a courier; Oku by being a student and Jackie by working in a store. The first two not only attempt to escape by means of their profession using their profession to either flee the spaces and squares (by bike) or transcend it via imagination (by art) but they also adopt profession that go against societal expectations. These societal expectations were created by, and exist within the geographical space they live in. Toronto of the late 20th century had an internalized set of expectations for immigrants and its citizens. The parents of the characters succumbed to it. The protagonists, however, resolved to step out of their boundaries and most of them succeeded.
In What We All Long For, Tuyen's parents Cam and Tuan leave their home in Asia…