Growing up in Miguel Street, the narrator learns to respect people whom outsiders might lump together as ignorant slum-dwellers. He comments, “we who lived there saw our street as a world, where everybody was quite different from everybody else. Man-man was mad; George was stupid; Big Foot was a bully; Hat was an adventurer; Popo was a philosopher; and Morgan was our comedian.” Naipaul reveals his characters by accurate recording of dialogue and through the narrator’s ongoing reporting of gossip, facts, and his impressions as well as those of others. In the beginning of “The Pyrotechnicist,” for example, the narrator contrasts the Street’s assessment of Morgan as “our comedian” with his own later understanding of Morgan’s personality. Then, Naipaul’s narrator sums up Morgan as “the sort of man who, having once created a laugh by sticking the match in his mouth and trying to light it with his cigarette . . . does it over and over again” and concludes by quoting Hat’s comment that Morgan is “not so happy at all.” Thus, in a sense, Naipaul circles his characters, viewing them from various perspectives, including the perspective of the adult narrator as he reviews the simpler evaluations of his youth.
Although everybody in Miguel Street is presented as being different from everyone else, there are also similarities in outlook which set the people of the Street apart from most of those who read about them. In the Street,...
(The entire section is 448 words.)