Small Island chapter 19 Analysis

Topics: White people, Narrative, Jamaica, Discrimination, Black people, The Reader / Pages: 5 (1028 words) / Published: Dec 12th, 2013
Why could chapter 19 be considered on of the most important chapters in the book?
- Prejudice and discrimination in Small Island.

I believe this chapter is close to Levy’s heart as she talks about racism and gives the reader insight about herself as well as the character Gilbert. This could be one of the most important chapters in the book as it is the first chapter where Gilbert talks about his feeling and emotions.

This chapter shows the reader that the black people have accepted racism as they always expected the white people to have glamorous lifestyles, so when they first saw “A white man sweeping the road” they were flabbergasted. When the Jamaican boys first came to England, Gilbert said, “this thought-I-knew-you place – was bewildering the Jamaican boys”, this quote conveys that Gilbert feels a sense of cleverness and more experience compared to them. However, since this is all homodiegetic we can question the validity of what Gilbert says, which means he may have exaggerated the Jamaican boys reaction to make himself feel superior after the months of racism and looking down on. On the other hand, if Gilberts words were taken to be the full truth, Gilbert may be reasonably experienced as he remains calm and relaxed in the middle of war which the other Jamaicans are not able too, “They looked shocked when billowing black smoke puffed its way round the white washing hung on drying lines”.

The beginning of Gilbert’s journey in London is explained in chapter 19 which remained ambiguous until now. The reader gets to know where he lived (whilst outside of the war zone) before he met Queenie and she took him in. On page 215 Levy portrays the struggles of the Jamaicans, as they are not provided lodgings wherever they may search, due to the colour of their skin. This is even crueler as they had moved across the ocean to fight for the Mother country they all share. Gilbert for the first time (in the book) questions racism, even though throughout

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