Small island aspects of narrative - chapters 58 and 59

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Aspects of Narrative
Chapter Fifty Eight ­ Queenie
Queenie hears that Gilbert and Hortense are leaving and invite them to have cake and a cup of tea, but it is awkward.
The baby is called Michael, but neither woman realise the irony. Queenie asks Hortense and Gilbert to take baby
Michael, but Bernard doesn't want to give away the baby.
The structure of this chapter is typical of Queenie, where she states the action of the present, then continues to
explain the past events the reader missed, leading up to the present. The structure of the chapter is told so that the
climax, of Queenie giving away Michael is near the end. This is effective because Queenie never gives away her
intentions to the reader until she actually tells Hortense and Gilbert herself. Therefore the reader can experience the
same amount of shock as Hortense and Gilbert do, even though it is told from Queenie's POV. In this chapter there
are no flashbacks. This could represent the hope for the future, for baby Michael and the other characters.
In this chapter, the change in characters from what they were at the beginning, to what they become in the end is
learnt. "Gilbert and I used to laugh together, what changed all that?" The author intended to show how much little
choice Queenie had, and how hard her decision is. The reader therefore feels pity for Queenie.
Perspective/Point of View
Queenie's point of view shows her good intentions, despite how others may perceive her. She is made to be a
likeable character due to her down to earth nature. Therefore empathy and pity is felt for her in this chapter, more so
than any other as her emotions are spilled out from her thoughts into her speech; showing passion.
Queenie's character is shown through her perception of others around her. She describes with detail the actions of
other showing the trait of empathy, "They looked at each other like I was playing some sort of trick. They no longer
trusted me". Therefore, this makes Queenie more likeable, as she understands other characters and doesn't show
prejudice, even in her thoughts.
Queenie's voice is colloquial and contains a variety of speeches. Voices of other characters are not direct, as Queenie
is reporting to the reader what they said, acting like a messenger. Therefore, this makes her voice more reliable as
she is less likely to change the speech. Also Queenie's thoughts tend to come after the speech of other characters,
showing how controlled and reserved her speech might be in order to keep the peace. However, near the end of the
chapter Queenie loses her cool in a fit of passion. Her sentences become fragmented, "Are you going to fight for
him? All those neighbours...". Queenie throws rhetorical questions at Bernard which is out of character as normally she
just thinks them, "What else was the victory for?" Queenie is made to seem down to earth, using Yorkshire slang
from her childhood despite her elocution lessons, "mite".
The stairs could depict a sense of hierarchy. The commotion at the beginning of the chapter occurs on the stairs,
highlighting the fight between black and white for an established hierarchy.
The living room is supposed to represent a family communal space but it is ironic that Queenie is trying to sell her
baby. The effect of this is the feeling that something out of the ordinary is happening in such a normal place.

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In this chapter a lot of action occurs in a short space of time, mainly due to Queenie's thoughts taking over from the
action. This shows how hard the decision is for her, and how she has deliberated for a long time.
Chapter Fifty Nine ­ Hortense
Bernard and Gilbert confront each other again and Gilbert produces a speech about equality, but still Bernard acts
ignorant.…read more



A detailed look at two chapters through the specific narrative blocks; these ideas could be reduced to key points to help you revise chapter by chapter and you could also use the full notes to further annotate your own text.

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