The Characters

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Fola Piggott, a strong heroine, has been compared by many critics to Bita Plant, featured in Claude McKay’s Banana Bottom (1933). Not quite eighteen years old when the novel opens, Fola changes from an obedient young girl to a rebellious, and then finally independent, young woman, paralleling the changes in San Cristobal during its emergence from colony to republic. Fola, through her attendance at the Ceremony of Souls, begins her backward glance at her own past and that of her culture. When she decides that she is Fola and “other than Fola,” she starts her exploration into her roots. “Other than Fola” is the name she privately gives herself in order to become an independent woman who is no longer bound by upper-middle-class values. Other than Fola is the person who longs to understand the past.

Her mother’s marriage to Piggott and her parents’ desire for upward mobility have provided her with a past based on British ruling-class standards. Her rejection of her family also signals her rejection of their values.

The two artist figures, Gort and Chiki, play important roles in the novel. Gort, a drummer, is a folk artist whose art is directly inspired by the peasant community of the Forest Reserve. Chiki, a painter, first provides a political perspective on the role of the artist in a changing society. By the end of the novel, both artist figures make the connection between art and politics, and both become artists who are...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Season of Adventure Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Fola Piggott

Fola Piggott, a recent graduate of an exclusive girls’ college on the Caribbean island of San Cristobal. The beautiful eighteen-year-old mulatta is established in a well-to-do middle-class family. Initially, she is inquisitive and sincere but unsure of herself. In her attempt to link with her private and cultural past, she seeks knowledge of her unknown father. This quest leads her to form relations with the peasant community, embodied in a tract of land called the Forest Reserve. Her “backward glance” in affirmation of the past estranges her from her stepfather and mother’s set, who would “wipe out” much of their Afro-Caribbean ethnic roots. Having taken her stand with the Forest Reserve community, she becomes more determined and plans to become a teacher.


Chiki, a rebel artist and painter with a battered body; he is missing an ear. Thirty-one years old but looking much older, he serves as a mentor and guide to Fola as she seeks connections with her past. A son of the Forest Reserve who bought the land with money earned in the United States, he casts his lot with the peasant populace and with its resolve to retain natural ethnic cultural ties in a stance of truth.

Police Commissioner “Piggy” Piggott

Police Commissioner “Piggy” Piggott, Fola’s stepfather, an insecure official of Forest Reserve origins. “Made” by his wife’s urgings and promptings, he has risen from the low ranks of the colonial constabulary to a high position in independent San Cristobal. Attempting to escape the past, he is inspired by materialism and privilege. He is a prime agent of the attempt to suppress the steel drum bands. He loves his stepdaughter and is unable to have children of his own.

Agnes Piggott

Agnes Piggott, Fola’s mother, who lives a life of leisure. A proud beauty with a sharp tongue, married for twelve years to Piggy Piggott, she has been a steering force in her husband’s rise in the island’s political hierarchy. She is envious of Fola’s close relationlship with her stepfather; it is closer than that between Fola and Agnes. She claims that Fola’s natural father is dead; in fact, she does not know who he is because she had sexual relations with the bishop’s nephew, then was raped by Chiki’s brother.


Gort, a...

(The entire section is 981 words.)

Season of Adventure The Characters

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Fola, in the early part of the novel, finds herself at a crossroads. Established in a well-to-do, middle-class family and having recently finished “the most exclusive girl’s college in San Cristobal,” she has available a future of conventional promise. Yet, in attending the voodoo-like Ceremony of Souls and involuntarily participating in the rites, she realizes that “she was a stranger within her own forgotten gates.” She feels a compelling need to rediscover the missing elements within her own forgotten gates. Rather than remain satisfied with a life of bland material aspirations, she chooses to take the “backward glance” into her own and her society’s cultural pasts. Her mother and stepfather are protective and vigilant of her welfare, but she sees their love as a “prison especially built to secure her loyalty.” Her search for completeness prompts her to consider severing loyalties with her middle-class past in her effort to discover her genuine identity. In searching for her actual, unknown father, she is also seeking a more legitimate tradition, one which encompasses and acknowledges the African and peasant background of her society.

In the course of her quest, Fola’s relationships with others are explored. She is suspicious of her mother’s secrecy concerning the daughter’s paternity, and Fola sees her mother’s physical and sexual attractiveness as cheap and vulgar. Fola’s stepfather is sterile, and this condition augments the esteem he feels for her, but he beats her and casts her out when he believes that she has shamefully repudiated his pretentious world. In fact, she has become “Fola and other than”; she has outstripped the role her parents and class have programmed for her. She has indulged in romantic infatuation with her European teacher of history, Charlot, who leaves San Cristobal, in a gesture likely nourished by vanity, after introducing Fola to the voodoo ceremony which jolts her and sets her on her quest. This quest leads her to seek answers in the peasant world. There, she meets and is befriended by Chiki, the compassionate and distressed artist who champions the deprived masses. Here also, however, she is threatened by Powell, who sees her (“you an’ your lot”) as an incorrigible enemy. Here, too, is Gort, who rescues her from Powell’s murderous assault and who in turn is assisted by Fola and Chiki in thwarting the government’s plans to ban the steel bands. Fola proves to be a resourceful character, with strong inner resolve which equips her to withstand biases of her class and education and enables her to become an integral factor in the revolt.

Agnes, Fola’s mother, a “cream sugared beauty,” is much more than physically attractive: She has a sense of pride which inspires her to exhibit a dignified demeanor, and she is devoted to the welfare of her daughter and the professional promotion of her husband. Still, Agnes has critical vulnerabilities. She is unable to communicate with Fola; she is jealous of the closeness of Fola and Piggot. This inability to communicate becomes explosively critical in the process of Fola’s rebellion from her parents’ world. At one point, Fola thinks of Agnes simply as “that woman.”

Toward the end of the novel, some illuminating details...

(The entire section is 1337 words.)