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Analysis of Small Island

In: English and Literature

Submitted By basimel
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Analysis of Small Island

When we are not racially educated, we act and behave without knowledge. In the story a small island there is a clear example of this, in the chapter “Hortense”. Where we see how a lot of people have misconstrued conception
In my analyses I chose to have these analyse parts.

* Setting * Characterisation * Language * -------------------------------------------------
Theme

The year is 1948 when Hortense arrives in London. She finds the city much colder—in many different ways—from how she had imagined it. It is winter, and the gloomy weather is depressing. The people are not friendly, and so many of the buildings are in poor condition from being bombed in the years prior to her arrival. In addition, Gilbert is not at the dock to meet her. She wonders if he has forgotten about her.

Another way by which Levy portrays her characters is through how they deal with the certain experiences they have gone through. Their background story also plays a very important role in particular as it is their past that has moulded them into the current character that they are. Hortense’s past is very significant as from a young age we learn that she had arrogance and pride over her ‘warm honey’ skin colour that was unlike her mothers ‘bitter chocolate hue’. The context in which the novel was written also plays a very important role in how the characters are perceived. Today’s society is anti-racist and thus many of the characters will be taken as good or bad based on their views. Queenie, for example, has a neutral outlook onto the people in Britain and does not mind black people, unlike many of the others. She is not afraid of being seen with Gilbert having lunch, which shows us that she is a fearless and moral woman, perceived well by the society of today. Bernard’s racist views, however, would be seen as incorrect and therefore he would be seen as wrong, along with Hortense as well, who thought she was superior due to her lighter skin colour. Thus, it is the attitudes of the character that Levy chooses to show us that also play a role in how they are perceived by us. Another example by which Levy makes our perception change based on a character’s attitude is Hortense’s idea that London is the city of gold and dreams; an idea which we all know is false. She believes that by coming to London, she’ll be able to live the life that she imagined her father would have given her had she lived with him. Her unrealistic and unreasonable way of thinking is irritating for the readers, who already know that this is totally untrue, which adds to our perception of dislike for her. Conclusively, Levy has made use of many different techniques in order to make us think a certain way about a character.

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