Trumpet Coursework

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“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 homosexuality was a taboo subject and racism was common whereas when the book was published in 1998 and now, homosexuality isn’t as much of a controversial topic and racism has declined. This rounded view of society is Kay’s desired effect on the reader as she wants the novel to be read with a clear mind and a full appreciation of what society was and is like for a black, homosexual woman. Within the novel identity and family are central themes and it is through the construction of these that Kay explores the way in which those involved struggle to find a sense of their own identity as well as the impact this struggle has on the identities of those around them. Within the novel, the reader is able to hear separate accounts of Joss’ life though the narrative voices of his wife and son; Millie and Colman. Symbolically the difference in their accounts of Joss highlights the breaking down of their own relationship. Though their reactions to his death are very different, they do express their individual thoughts on a common theme – the deception that came with Joss’ life choices – which have a profound effect on them both. Millie and Colman aren’t the only narrators in this multiple narrative novel and the reader gets too hear from five or six...
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