The Cricket Match Essay

Decent Essays
“The Cricket Match”

Samuel Selvon’s short story, “The Cricket Match” explores the subtle racial tensions amongst West Indian immigrants living in England whilst working with English counterparts. Selvon sets his narrative in a tyre factory in Chiswick, England. Most likely, the timeline in which this story occurs is somewhere in the mid 1950’s when England were still colonists of most of the English speaking Caribbean islands. The main idea behind Selvon’s tale lies with Algernon the protagonist, whose desire to fabricate his knowledge of cricket, so as to simultaneously impress but show disdain towards the Englishmen around him backfires because it is this self-proclaimed knowledge which places him into conflict. Selvon also
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Selvon ingeniously crafts the resolution, though with slight absurdity, through a somewhat amusing and likable manner very similar to that of a picaresque novel. Algernon manages to compose an unenthusiastic team to play against the English team. Still, even more amusingly, the English players are equally afraid of Algernon’s team and vice-versa. The match commences with the West Indian eleven batting first, and displaying a commendable though fortuitous performance. Conversely, and perhaps conveniently though, rain begins to fall, hence bringing the match to an abrupt end. This resolution allows Algernon to save his ‘credibility’ and further taunt his English co-workers: ‘“If my bat didn’t fly out my hand”… as if to say he would have lost the ball in the other county.’ and: “… next cricket season I will get a sharp eleven together… now if you want me to show you how I make that stroke…” This conclusion which Selvon employs gives Algernon a fairly roguish characteristic, and thus the picaresque similarity.

Selvon’s plot structure is basically simple and straightforward. The narrator introduces the story and highlights the major flaw of the protagonist, which then manifests itself as a central part of the conflict. While the rising action begins to escalate, minor episodes relating to the conflict begin to surface, thereby enhancing the dramatic effect of the climax. The plot’s falling action is
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