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Otto is a Chinese who comes to Trinidad in search of the "brighter sun" of the title—in other words, a better future. Otto's presence in Barataria adds to the multi-cultural mix of the place with its population of Indians, Africans, and Asians. Together, these groups create a Creole society—that is to say one that is based on inter-racial relationships between the indigenous population and newcomers. Otto plays his own part in this process by living with his common law wife, Berta, who's part-Creole, part Chinese.

As a shopkeeper, Otto is an integral component of Barataria's social and economic structure. That structure is a good deal more fluid than one might think. Chinese people in Trinidad were originally engaged in indentured labor out in the cane fields, and yet Otto has managed to attain a much higher position in the social pecking order, largely through sheer hard work.

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