Ways of sunlight; Samuel Selvon character analysis. Essay

2735 Words Feb 15th, 2015 11 Pages
In literary works, characters usually illuminate the overt and covert themes of the story, the setting, the plots and subsequent subplots. The literary works’ creators need characters so as to emphasize on the major issues affecting our contemporary society. In his short stories anthology, ‘Ways of sunlight’, Samuel Selvon uses characters to present the themes and explain the actions they undertake in their lives. Using five short stories from the anthology we are able to understand how different characters have been used to highlight the major concerns. The stories selected include; Johnson and the Cascadura, Down the main, Cane is bitter, Erasers dilemma and Obeah in the grove.
The book ways of sunlight by Samuel Selvon
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He is the foreman of Mr. Franklin’s farm. He was a hardworking worker as he saw that all the duties were performed. For example, he tells the girls to stop gossiping and continue with their task. He is also a very secretive person. I.e. he knows of the Urmilla and Johnson’s affair but keeps it to himself. This is evident when he doesn’t answer Mr. Sookdeo when asked if he knew the affair existed. He is later betrothed to Urmilla as a death bed wish from Sookdeo, something that he fails to fulfill. Through this action, Samuel illustrates the theme of betrayal since he betrays Sookdeo’s request of marrying Urmilla. Selvon unfortunately doesn’t show us the major role of Sam in the whole plot rather than just providing the theme of escapism and other roles that Mr. Franklin as a character could have also achieved.
However, love surpasses racial boundaries. Urmilla grow from the naïve girl to a woman ready to defend her feelings. Her growth though positive for her brings about rebellion and negative sentiments from people closes to her e.g. her father. Through her defying the norm of the society she sets a trend that will open other avenues to fight racial prejudice in Trinidad.
Franklin, the landlord is also helpful in illustrating the binary opposition between the rich and the poor, the whites and the colored, masters and servants although he contrary to the other Caribbean writer portrayal of the white masters. He is kind and has good relations with his employees
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