Like most of the other characters in the novel, Haynes is presented as a type. He is a reflection of the educated black middle class, alienated from the masses but seeking to bridge the gap through involvement in their lives.
This involvement has the effect of transforming Haynes and allowing him to develop. He arrives at 2 Minty Alley shy, naïve, and a little timid. By the time he leaves, his experiences, particularly with Maisie, have turned him into an assertive and world-wise gentleman. Even though Haynes returns to his middle-class existence, readers are left with the impression that life will never be quite the same for him. He has tasted the joys of friendship, and his sexuality has been awakened.
Haynes’s credibility as a character is open to question. In the Trinidadian society of the 1930’s it is a bit far-fetched to imagine him as a member of the middle class electing to live among and become involved in the lives of the people of a barrack yard. All the same, the author, himself a member of the black middle class at the time, claimed to have lived in a household similar to the one described in the novel.
However plausible Haynes’s character may be, it is clear that he is used primarily as a device for looking at the lives of the “ordinary” people of the yard. It is from Haynes’s limited perspective that the other characters and their activities are presented. Characters are seen only through his eyes; they...
(The entire section is 501 words.)