What is the impact of testing on Elias in Miguel Street and what forces work against him?

Expert Answers

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

The impact of testing on Elias is to place unrealistic expectations on his shoulders.

Elias is a very intelligent young man, but he can get no more than a third grade in the Cambridge Senior School Certificate. As he tells the men on Miguel Street, he wants a second grade, but what's holding him back is his weakness in English and literature.

Because of this, Elias flunks the second-grade exam. As a consequence, he has to lower his expectations of what an education can bring. He wants to take up a job as a sanitary inspector, going from door to door in a khaki uniform with a little notebook.

But to be a sanitary inspector, you need to pass an exam, and Elias flunks it every time he takes it. Elias is disappointed and blames corruption for not being able to pass. This is just one of the many forces working against him.

There's also the demanding expectations of his teacher Titus Hoyt, who claims that Elias is one of the brightest boys in Port of Spain. Elias's lack of proficiency in English also works to his disadvantage. Even when he goes to other parts of the Caribbean, such as British Guiana and Barbados, to take the exam, he still can't pass.

This would appear to indicate that Elias has reached his natural level of education and can go no further.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial