ENGA11H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Miguel Street, Arson, Humiliation

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Published on 10 Feb 2017
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Miguel Street
Plot Summary
Although a collection of short stories bound together in one book is seldom called a novel, Miguel Street by V.
S. Naipaul accomplishes this rare feat by tying all the stories under one unifying narrator. Miguel Street is the
story of the unnamed narrator, (easily identified as the author himself), and his childhood memories in war-
torn Trinidad and Tobago. An interesting method of storytelling is implemented here, where each chapter is
led by a different character, however each of those protagonists appears as a supporting character in other
chapters. The sole uniting factor is the narrator, who appears throughout, and wraps up the book in the end
with his own chapter and his own story.
The book is relatively short, and each sto is pithil itte, ith tos of dialogue akig the aato’s ie
thoughts infrequent, and the themes driven solely by the action. Each chapter recounts the life, purpose and
aitio of eah haate, ad the oel’s otif igs eah sto together through their letdowns and
inadequacies.
For instance, the first chapter talks of Bogart, a quiet boring man who claims to go off on his own adventures,
and leaves to America to live the American dream, but instead becomes an Americanized failure, hence
naming himself after a fictional movie character. The second chapter is about Popo, a narrator favorite, and a
self-proclaimed carpenter who never built anything of substance in his entire life another example of a
character living in an imagined world. The next two chapters follow George and Elias, one a failure in marriage
and in divorce, the other in education as well as manual labor.
Chapter five tells the story of Man-man, labeled the town madman because of his eccentricities, but ironically
goes isae he his dog dies ad he sees God. Chapte si is aout Wodsoth, aothe haate aed
after a foreigner, accentuating the austere desire for escape from all the inhabitants of Miguel Street.
Wodsoth lais to e itig the geatest poe i the old, hoee he has ee itte athig
beyond the first line.
The following chapters tell the stories of Bigfoot, Hat and Titus the failed boxer with a rough appearance, the
abusive father and husband imprisoned for arson, and another litea thike liig i fatas, espetiel.
Chapter ten is about Laura, a prostitute with eight kids from 7 different men. She is callous, abusive and rough
around the edges, as well as within them, however she is brought to tears for the first time when she
discovers her oldest daughter, Lorna, who forgoes her opportunity to become educated and ends up pregnant
instead.
The next two chapters revolve around Eddos, and Mr. and Mrs. Hereira. Eddos is a garbage man who likes to
look sharp and collect books just to keep up on his shelf, finding value in having them instead of reading them.
Toi Heeia ad Agela Heeia, ae a ouple ho oed ito a eetl deeased lad’s hoe. Toi is a a
veteran, a drunk and a wife beater, and Mrs. Hereira eventuall leaes hi, ad the aato’s othe
befriends her to take care of her after the breakdown of her marriage and spirit.
The thiteeth hapte is aout the aato’s ule Bhaku. Bhaku, aothe ale ife eate, as fasiated
with cars, and often times found hovering around one. The narrator tells how the most familiar part of his
uncle to him was his legs and feet, because they were always sticking out from under a car he was repairing.
However, with all his time under the hood, it is revealed that he actually has no idea how to fix cars. The next
hapte is aout Bolo, a a ho as o sad. Afte eig saed ultiple ties, he loses faith i
people as ell as the old, ausig hi to ot eliee it he he atuall is i the seepstakes.
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The next few chapters are about Hat again, and his brother Edward. Both brothers had an inkling towards the
beauty of the world, admiring paintings and trinkets, but ironically, their relationship side was quite foul.
Edad’s ae ife left hi fo an American man, because she was unable to give him a child, which in their
neighborhood was quite an indignity. Hat is revealed once more as the severely flagrant one, claiming that it is
a good thing if a man beats a woman every now and again.
The final chapter brings all of these stories together in multiple ways, mainly allowing the narrator to finally
aept his aesio to this steet, ad his desie to aate it. Titled Ho I Left Miguel “teet, the hapte
begins with his mother telling him that it is best for him if he left, something that he had been pondering, and
packed his bags and decided to head for New York.
The final scene is of him hugging his mother and walking towards the airplane, which stands in the face of one
of the major themes: overt masculinity. It is quite clear the amount of sexism and machismo there is on
Miguel Street, where almost all the male characters either beat their wives, or are in direct support of it, many
of which attribute this to the other major theme of broken dreams. Every character in Miguel Street has some
sort of dream or longing that they were never able to satisfy, causing them to live in their imagination,
choosing fantasy over the dark and dismal existence that they lived, which was beautifully and intricately
canvased by this Nobel Prize winning author.
Chapters
Chapter 1
Named after Amer. Movie char.
Has no family; quiet and to himself
ost oed a [the aato] ee sa
Plays cards
Leaves to America and changes for the worst
Key issues:
o Coept of eoig aeiaized
o Drinking, gambling, marital relationships
o eig a a aog e e- fathering a child = manhood?
Chapter 2
Tone is diff.; narrator likes Popo
poeti a
Ceatig the thig ithout a ae
o Always working but to what avail?
o Defines his identity
o Source of stress
Popo is a a-oa; his ife leaes hi; he leas up; she oes ak; he is jailed fo stealig to
impress/play the working game
Concept of dreams versus reality
Chapter 3
Looks just like his donkey and causes fear in narrator and town
He brutally beats his kids and his wife
Taunts narrator when he walk by
Elias excuses his father (29) as old and unintentional
Mother dies: worst funeral he has ever seen
Dolly giggles out of nervous incapacity for control
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George finds a new woman but it is short-lived; opens a brothel; Dolly marries and then is humilated to
her breaking point and leaves
George dies at the end; Elias attends funeral
Chapter 4
Elais is diff. : Brains and determination
Elias attempts to pass Cambridge Cert. at the school Titus Hoyt runs
Wants to be a doctor
Naato fids litithe eautiful i Elias’ outh
Receives 3rd grade on exam; tries for 2nd gade; teahes at Titus’s shool; deides to e a saita
ispeto eause he like[d] the ok; tied to fl to plaes ad pass the test- failed each time
Physical labor vs mental labor
Work versus education
Without education, cannot work in higher paying jobs
Chapter 5
Man-man = mad; town left him alone
Ra fo ee eletio i the city
Never worked but was never idle (47)
“iled shoooooool he aato et to shool- equates to work
His aet as like a Eglisha
Uses his dog to steal from town; used dog to get back at shop owner who threw him out
Used his dog to sully clothes and sheets so that they would become unusable and then thrown away so
he could scavenge them
Sadly, his dog was run over
“a God ad attepts to use eligio to get attetio; state that he is the e Messiah
stoe e ethe- et az ad taken away for good
Chapter 6
Eglish as so good that it did ot soud atual
Poet; invites narrator over to eat mangoes- has a garden and tells story of one boy and his pregnant
girl who are in love until she dies and he loses both
look up at the sk- aato fogets all of the age ad the teas ad the los
the geatest poe i the old- one line a month; he is not concerned with money
Poet ot feelig ell ad tells aato that all he said as a lie; poet the aishes as if never
existed
Chapter 7
Big Foot ee siled, looked dageous so ispied fea; his fathe eat hi ut as killed i a iot
Mischievous and mean (those who knew him knew him as such and not a comedian)
Americans were in Port-O-Spain: Hat had all kids begging and selling gum and choc.
Big Foot saves narrator from drunk soldier
Big Foot scared of the little dog: exposed his weakness and fear; cut his foot and narrator saw more
weakness
Became a boxer and cried when he lost
Looks can be deceiving
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Document Summary

Although a collection of short stories bound together in one book is seldom called a novel, miguel street by v: naipaul accomplishes this rare feat by tying all the stories under one unifying narrator. Miguel street is the story of the unnamed narrator, (easily identified as the author himself), and his childhood memories in war- torn trinidad and tobago. An interesting method of storytelling is implemented here, where each chapter is led by a different character, however each of those protagonists appears as a supporting character in other chapters. The sole uniting factor is the narrator, who appears throughout, and wraps up the book in the end with his own chapter and his own story. The book is relatively short, and each sto(cid:396)(cid:455) is pithil(cid:455) (cid:449)(cid:396)itte(cid:374), (cid:449)ith to(cid:374)s of dialogue (cid:373)aki(cid:374)g the (cid:374)a(cid:396)(cid:396)ato(cid:396)"s i(cid:374)(cid:374)e(cid:396) thoughts infrequent, and the themes driven solely by the action.

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