Themes and Meanings
The title, A Brighter Sun, implies a comparative, and that is surely the new day, the new Trinidad that Tiger foresees. The dominant theme, therefore, is change. Tiger changes from boy to man; the countryside changes from a collection of market gardens to a suburban satellite town; the muddy track becomes the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway; Tiger and Urmilla’s mud shack becomes a furnished brick house; the newlyweds become parents; a backward colony is on the cusp of becoming an independent nation. Whereas in the early chapters Tiger and Urmilla are concerned with raising rice and other crops, later they are purchasing large fowls, rum, cigarettes, and household furnishings and borrowing knives, forks, and other symbols of Westernization.
Throughout the novel, there are references to rain, sunshine, and mangoes, all common enough in the Caribbean. These are major symbols in the story. It rains when things are not going well, such as when Urmilla is ill and when she is delivering her stillborn son—and when Tiger is working in his garden immediately beforehand. It is mango season when Urmilla discovers her pregnancies; Sookdeo buries his money box under the roots of a mango tree in his backyard, regarding it as a good omen, and when the tree is bulldozed, he dies. The sun is always a positive image and a symbol of prosperity, continuity, fecundity, and goodness. It brings Tiger out of his states of depression, and when he says that “always the...
(The entire section is 492 words.)