Small Island Andrea Levy

1126 Words Sep 21st, 2013 5 Pages
How does Levy tell the story in the Prologue?
Levy uses a number of different techniques and aspects of narrative in order to tell the story in the prologue of Small Island. She opens the story in the perspective of Queenie, but when she was a child (‘Before’) – (use of time as an aspect). This is also the use of characterisation to tell the story, because the perspective lends a naivety to the telling of the story, the most prominent example being when Queenie meets the African man – she is intimidated by him and is too young to hide it. She is fascinated by him, and also attracted to him - but as a child doesn’t she realise that - however Emily and Graham do, and proceed to tease her.
There are underlining themes of ignorance, power
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This idea of Queenies family being above their workers is extended when her father exerts his power once more by dismissing Graham’s dream of going to live in Australia with ‘Australia – you? You daft beggar.’ He can call Graham what he wants – whether it be Jim or beggar – because he is his boss and of a higher class. And yet another example is Queenie using Emily as a bin (in a way). She offers Emily her apple core – so Emily gets Queenies ‘sloppy seconds’ so to speak, and is disposing of the apple for Queenie.
Levy uses Queenies father as a voice for the issues of class and race in the prologue, but the irony in this is that later on, her father calls her a ‘daft ‘aporth’. This isn’t educated English, and contrasts with the African man’s polite etiquette and proper English – ‘It’s nice to meet you.’ So in actuality, Queenies father acts like he is of a lower class than the foreign people, but thinks of himself as better than them.
Although the reader doesn’t know it, Levy has already started to create and background and add development to the story that will occur later – she is using the aspect of the starts and endings of stories in her narrative. When Queenie meets the African man, we see already that she is fascinated by him – and it is hinted that she is also attracted to him. The fascination is shown by her detailed description of him that includes
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