Trumpet Coursework

Better Essays
“Explore the way that Kay portrays family relationships in Trumpet. In what way does this theme relate to the struggle for identity?”
Joss Moody the protagonist of Jackie Kay’s novel Trumpet lived in a world full of contrasts – internally Josephine but to all who knew him the famous trumpet player Joss. Having to deal with so much contrast so close to home can make a person wonder who is right and what to believe leaving them struggling to figure out who they are amongst it all. Being that the novel has a 70 year time span starting in 1927; the reader has the chance to experience society at different points in Joss’ life and we can infer what the norm and day to day life would have been for Josephine. For example, in the 1930’s
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“Whatever” is a dismissive word often used by a mother who having grown tired of repeating the same thing over and over, has given in and has ultimately stopped caring. Only once, they overcome this barrier, are Colman and Millie able to grieve together.

Following this is the relationship between Edith and her husband. Though we never hear from her husband, we learn about him through Edith. Edith is an elderly white lady who has been widowed for a long time. Her husband was a black man who had come from Africa to Scotland on a boat. He came over as a young man at the ‘turn of the century.’ At this time, racism was still very prominent and so interracial couples were virtually non-existent. Edith says that people were shocked that she was “going out with, no, married to, a black man.” A black man in a ‘white’ country at the beginning of the 20th century was almost certain to encounter racism and inequality. Like Joss, Edith’s husband was lucky enough to meet and marry someone who accepted him for who he was as a person. This total acceptance and love for a man who society at the time said she should discard and look down on as beneath her gives promise that had she of been told, she would have been accepting of Joss’ choice to become a man in the best embodiment that he could achieve as Edith has been portrayed as a non-judgemental, un-conforming and loving character.
Trumpet is a novel that is full of problematic
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