Because A Brighter Sun opens with a catalog of events, both local and international (and repeats this device subsequently), it might be approached as a quasihistorical narrative; however, this technique places the characters, their actions, and aspirations in social perspective, counterpointing major and minor happenings and emphasizing the concerns of the ordinary struggling individual. World events are distant; local and personal concerns dominate the characters’ lives.
The arrangement of the novel into twelve chapters suggests the form of the epic, with its hero battling against great odds, and the title (like that of Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 The Sun Also Rises) intimates the possibility of amelioration, of the dawn of a new era, of the potential for achievement. The novel is clearly a bildungsroman, a story of the maturation of a youthful hero who sets goals for himself and overcomes disappointments and setbacks; furthermore, it is in the tradition of the social realist novel that depicts a section of working-class life in detail and with sympathy. Tiger, though disappointed in life, nevertheless adopts a mature philosophy: He rejects a return to his family’s village and life on the sugarcane estate or a departure from Trinidad for either America or India in favor of making a life for his family in Barataria’s multiethnic community. That is, he rejects a return to the past and accepts a modern social attitude.
Rather than being merely the record of the first five years of Tiger’s married life, the novel is a study of changing mores in Trinidad (and hence the West Indies), with Tiger as a metonymic character, one who represents the larger community. The plot is chronological, though only half the novel concerns Tiger himself: The rest consists of episodes from others’ lives that provide Tiger with material for his growth.
The marriage of Tiger and Urmilla (he did not even know the name of his arranged-marriage bride before the wedding) was for the Chaguanas district “the...
(The entire section is 836 words.)