How is the theme of change shown in the novel A Brighter Sun?

The theme of change in A Brighter Sun is shown in relation to the impact of World War Two. Specific elements include the arrival of the Americans and their construction projects, which in turn affects Tiger’s aspirations to upward mobility.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In A Brighter Sun, change is a theme running through the whole novel. In the broadest strokes, change is connected to World War Two. Although no battles are fought in Trinidad, the impact of the distant war shakes up the entire society. Three related aspects of the war-induced change...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In A Brighter Sun, change is a theme running through the whole novel. In the broadest strokes, change is connected to World War Two. Although no battles are fought in Trinidad, the impact of the distant war shakes up the entire society. Three related aspects of the war-induced change are the Americans’ presence, their road-construction project, and the new ambitions that grip individual Trinidadians such as Tiger.

The British colonial status and the strategic location of the island are important factors in the island’s new development. With the American entry into the conflict, new emphasis is placed on building up defensive support sites. As the formerly limited infrastructure needs upgrading to connect the island’s different regions, former outlying areas such as Barataria gain significance for more than farming.

The Americans’ base and the necessary road take on special significance for the island’s poor, many of whom are descended from the formerly enslaved people. Shifting social relations, including a reassessment of racial and national-heritage hierarchies, accompany the physical changes in the landscape. For poor Afro-Trinidadians, exemplified by Tiger and Urmilla, this means a chance to do something other than farm—a way of life that they expect will mire them further in poverty.

Tiger seizes his opportunity to improve their lives by signing on with the Americans’ road construction project. The pluses and minuses of the widespread changes are embodied by the difficulties he experiences. While dreaming of higher wages and the things they will help him buy, especially a house, Tiger cannot successfully navigate the upheavals and erupts in violence. Not only Urmilla but also their unborn child suffers from his attack. A positive side of social change is ultimately included as community members show their solidarity.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on