Professor Jason Frydman
Second Paper Assignment
The Role of Women in Miguel Street
In the novel Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul, many individual roles are explored through the critique of Trinidadian society and culture. The characters of Miguel Street are obscure, in a sense that they are all so unique and lead very different lives, it may become a little difficult to understand these characters. However, the role of women plays a constant contradictory part in their being so crucial but also being incongruous to the male characters that seem to take over the novel.
The men of Miguel Street seem to depend on their women for happiness and a balance in lives. This is evident in the many calypso song quotes throughout the novel. The calypso Invader sings: “I was living with my decent and contented wife, Until the soldiers came and broke up my life”(Naipaul 196). This song quote was mentioned because of the heartache the character Edward was feeling when his wife left him for an American soldier. Edward was deeply hurt and saddened by his wife’s leaving him, even though he pretended not to care. In the very beginning of the chapter about Edward, the narrator describes his current life: “He said he had given up women for good, and he concentrated on cricket, football, boxing, horse-racing and cockfighting.”(Naipaul 179). This is an example of how important a woman really was to a man in the Trinidadian culture.
Just as Edward could not be without a women in his life to make him feel complete, neither could any of the other men of Miguel Street. The female characters of the novel seemed to have more mental and emotional strength than the men. Perhaps this is why the men were so easily ridiculed and offended by each other. The role of women took on a more universal perspective, in that most women of that time could relate to the physical abuse they had to endure by...