Claribel Alegría

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Who is the narrator of "Granny and the Golden Bridge"?

Quick answer:

The narrator in Claribel Alegría's story "Granny and the Golden Bridge" is unnamed. He listens to Manuel tell stories of his grandmother as they travel by train from Paris to Belgium.

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The narrator in "Granny and the Golden Bridge" by Claribel Alegría is actually left unnamed. He shares a railway compartment with the Salvadoran leader Manuel on "a train trip from Paris to Belgium," where Manuel will address a meeting of a "Belgian labor federation." The narrator and Manuel spend the trip talking about Manuel's "crazy grandmother."

Much of the story is actually in Manuel's own words, for the narrator quotes him directly rather than paraphrasing his delightful anecdotes. Manuel tells the narrator all about how his grandmother used to sell food to soldiers on both sides of the bridge. Then, when the bridge was blown up, Granny dyed her hair red in order to disguise herself because she had actually gotten ahold of some strategic plans from a dead enemy soldier. She managed to fool the guards. Manuel also tells the narrator about how Granny would paddle her canoe upstream to the guerrilla camp to sell fruit to the men. But underneath that fruit was a supply of ammunition!

The narrator actually has quite a minor roll in the story, but he stands for us readers, who probably react in a similar way to Manuel's stories, laughing and commenting on Granny and her antics. We get to enjoy the stories along with the narrator, who probably feels quite glad that he met Manuel on the train to Belgium.

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