A Brighter Sun Characters
by Samuel Selvon

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A Brighter Sun Characters

The main characters are Tiger, Urmilla, Joe, and Rita. Also featured are Ma Lambie, Boysie, and Tallboy. They all live in and around a village in Trinidad; the action occurs during World War II.

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Tiger, a poor but ambitious farmer, is from an Indian family that had settled in the island. He and Urmilla entered an arranged marriage as teenagers. After getting hired on a road construction crew, he tries to ingratiate himself with the U.S. military supervisors but loses control and attacks Urmilla. After their baby is stillborn, he invests his energy in building a solid house.

Urmilla, Tiger's wife, is an undeveloped character who is largely a stereotype of a dominated Hindu woman. After her husband beats her, she retreats to her parents' home.

Joe and Rita, a married couple, are their neighbors. They are Creole and have to get accustomed to living near Indians. Joe, formerly a playboy, has settled down with Rita and they are raising her nephew. His modest goals are tied to Western consumer culture. Rita, more energetic and outgoing, is generous in nature, such as by helping prepare for a feast.

Ma Lambie is Joe's aunt, who raised him and physically abused him. She is described as big and unattractive. She and Joe's mother had been sex workers.

Boysie, of Indian heritage, is Tiger's friend who helps him assimilate into urban society.

Tallboy is a Chinese shopkeeper.