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Miguel Street

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Miguel Street V.S Naipual’s novel Miguel Street recounts the life of the narrator when he lived on Miguel
Street. The narrator tells the tales of the people he came into contact. The caharacters mentioned have proven to have large personalities and this is seen in the 17 short stories written in the play.
One of the short stories focuses on a man named Popo, his story tells of the development of a person when faced with the various ups and downs that life has to offer and touches on how the narrator now views him. This leads to the question can the hand you are dealt in life change you so drastically that you end up in a downward spiral and you can no longer be the person you once were. In the story, The thing without a name the character Popo was a carpenter in which the narrator came in contact with, however Popo never finished a task in which he began.
This can be seen in the very beginning: “The only thing that Popo, who called himself a carpenter, ever built was a little galvanized-iron workshop under the mango tree at the back of his yard. And even that he didn’t quite finish.” (15) Popo was a man that struggled with the need to be accepted by his peers, those on Miguel street did not like
Popo the considered “a man-woman. Not a proper man.” (17). He was also very insecure and didn’t have confidence in his profession even though he was so proud of his sign, “ Popo liked standing up in front of the sign. But he had a little panic when people who didn’t know about him came to inquire.” (16) Though he wasn’t like by many he was also charismatic, and willingly to speak to anyone who would lend an ear.
The narrator described him as someone who loved to talked, “ Popo was always ready to talk” There are three antagonists in the short story The Thing without a Name found in
Miguel Street. First are the other men in the neighbourhood who view Popo as less than a man and are constantly criticizing him and not including him in their activities. “Yet
Popo was not a popular man in the streets. They didn’t think he was md or stupid. Hat used to say, ’Popo too conceited, you hear.’” (16) This is seen again by Hat, a member of Miguel Street, who said, “ Popo is man-woman. Not a proper man.” his wife away. It was the Gardner who used to give me bags of grass.” said the narrator.
Third, was Popo himself the narrator states “But for me, he had changed. And the change made me sad.” The story begins with the narrator introducing us to who Popo was, he was the man who was building the thing without a name. From the context it may seem as though the thing without a name may be a poetic term because when “ it was hard to think something I really wanted. “Popo simply replied “You thinking of the thing without a name.” (16) Though in the eyes of the narrator, Popo was a kind man, “I thought Popo was much nicer than Bogart. (16) However due to Popo’s way of life he was not very popular among the member of his community. one of the habits they did not like was the way Popo would wake up in the morning poor him a glass of rum and dip his finger in it and said hi to his neighbours as they pass.” Hat used to say, Popo too conceited, you hear” also “We could buy rum too,’ Hat used to say. “But we don’t show off like Popo’” However the narrator never saw his practise as a negative thing and this was proven so when he replied saying.” Boy, in the morning, when the sun shining and it still cool, and you just get up, it make you feel good to know that you could go out and stand up in the sun and have some rum. “Another reason as to why the members of the neighbourhood didn’t like Popo was because he never made any money, he left the providing of the family to his wife, he justified this by saying,
“Women and them like work. Man not make for work” (16-17).In response to this “Hat said, ‘Popo is a man-woman. Not a proper man.”(17) The next crucial scene was in introduction of Popo's wife we aren't given her name but she goes by "Auntie". "she asked me to call her auntie" (17) It was not until the story progressed that her name was given. In this particular scene we learn of a gardener that Popo's wife worked with. "she introduced me to the gardener of the big house. He was a good-looking brown man"(17) this was done as they developed an evening ritual in which she would meet him and give him " a lot of nice things to eat" (17)
One day the narrator noticed that "Auntie" wasn’t waiting for him, here marks the beginning of the spiral of Popo. The narrator said "Next morning I didn't see Popo dipping his finger in the glass of rum on the pavement"(17) Once the news of the disappearance of his wife brought Popo the popularity he always craved. The men of Miguel Street who once made fun of him was now jumping to his defense. "And when Eddoes said one day, 'I wonder what happen to Popo. Like he got no more rum,' Hat jumped up and almost cuffed him."(17) The men that once mocked him became is support group during the time his wife left.
The narrator made a keen observation to his change during this time." Popo began drinking a lot and I didn't like him when he was drunk. He smelled of rum, and he use to cry and then grow angry and want to beat up everybody. That made him acceptable member of the gang.(18) Popo however learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. "Popo liked the new companionship. He was at heart a loquacious man, and always wanted to be friendly with the men of the street and was always surprised that he was not liked.
So though he had gotten what he wanted. But Popo was not really happy. The friendship came a little too late, and he found he didn't like it as much as he'd expected" (18) Popo left Miguel Street in pursuit of his wife and this is when he began getting into trouble with the law. Popo made papers for assault against an Arima man, as time will prove the man that took his wife away was the gardener that "Auntie" introduced the narrator to. Fortunately this time Popo just had to pay a fine. This scene was crucial be cause only as the calypso came out do we now know the name of wife that left Popo. “a certain carpenter fella went to Arima looking for a mopsy called Emelda" (19) Though the calypso brought great pride to Miguel Street, Popo was no longer fazed by the attention he received. Popo was now a bitter man. "He growled at me when I tried to talk to him, and he drove out Hat and the others when they brought a bottle of rum to the workshop"(19) Though it seemed like things where returning to normal and the old Popo was returning due to the old noises being heard from his workshop once again. This wasn't so. He now worked in the night as oppose to the morning. The first ominous sign he was up to something. Followed by vans coming back and forth. Popo was no longer the man who was unable to finish a task ."Popo began painting his house." (19). Shortly after Popo fixed up his house everyone waited with anticipation. To see who he was bringing home " One day, about two weeks later, Popo returned, and he brought a woman with him. It was his wife. My Auntie"(19) . With this new addition Popo returned to having his glass of rum in the morning. He even returned to building the thing without a name!" He had stopped working, and his wife got her job with the s ame people near my school" The members of Miguel Street however was hurt, "They felt that all their sympathy had been mocked and wasted. And again Hat was say 'that blasted Popo too conceited, you hear'" (20) was constantly out Popo's house in the night was filled of stolen stuff Popo simply remodelled. "He had stolen too much as a matter of fact, and had had to sell the things he didn't want. That was how he had been caught. (20) What comes next is what finally solidified Popo's character Popo was sentenced to a year in jail but got three months off for good behaviour. Though the events that occurred due to Emelda leaving showed Popo that he didn't want to be liked by those on Miguel Street. He had gotten back his wife but it was too late. Popo had changed and when he came out of jail. “He began making Morris chairs and tables and wardrobes for people. And when I asked him , Mr. Popo,when you going start making the thing without a name again? He growled at me. " you too troublesome, he said. Go away quick, before I lay my hand on you."

Work Cited Page
Naipaul, V. S. Miguel Street / V.S. Naipaul. n.p.: New York : Vintage International, 2002.Print.

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