The first few chapters of A Brighter Sun allowed me to see the topics we are discussing in class personalized through the characters in the novel. In the beginning, we follow a young Indian couple, Tiger and Urmilla, as they are thrown unexpectedly into the realities of adulthood and struggle to discover what it is to be a man and a woman. On their journey, they meet a creole couple Joe and Rita and we begin to see the stereotypes discussed in class being used in fictionalized dialogue. In one instance, Rita complains to Urmilla about her aggressive husband, and asks her “Why we creole can’t live like Indian, quiet and nice?” (31) even though Urmilla knows that they share the same hostile reality. We also see racial tensions in this novel when Tiger and Urmilla’s family disapprove of their friendship with Joe and Rita, “Is only nigger friend you makeam since you come?… Indian must keep together” (47). After studying indentureship in the Caribbean, we get to experience a characterized personality of a freed man. There is a character, a drunken Indian man named Sookdeo, who had “come to India to work as an indentured labourer on the white man’s plantations” (65). Also, in class, we learned that a majority of the Chinese population in the Caribbean became shopkeepers and were known as the “perfect settlers” (Williams). There is a Chinese character called Tall Boy who owns a successful bar and shop, with which the town appears to depend upon. Reading this novel we gain a new viewpoint on the specificities of race and ethnicity in the Caribbean.
A Brighter Sun by Sam Selvon
“Stains on my Name, War in my Veins” by Brackette F. Williams