Browngirl, Brownstones Book 1, chapters 1-3 The novel is told by a 3rd person narrator who has access to the inner thoughts of some characters. It is often through Selina’s eyes that we see things whilst sometimes we see other peceptions such as Suggie. In this chapter we meet the Boyce family who are immigrants from Barbados. The family, though living together is separated and we see where this is evident in the attitude of the children Selina and Ina: Selena sides with her Dad Deighton who is more easy going and carefree while Ina sides with her mom Silla who is the backbone of the fanily, hardworking and dedicated whilst strict.
As a result of Silla’s firmness, Selina who is more radical of the two children, Selina who is more radical of the two children, clashes with her as she doesn’t understand her mother’s behaviour, her dreams and desires; especially about owning a brown stone house (page 45, Silla’s past). These brownstones are symbols of advancement for immigrants as they seek to establish themselves in New York. These brownstones were first owned by the upper class whites who now rent, lease or sell them to immigrants from the West Indies in order to move to more developed housing facilities as a result of the war.
Selina, the protagonist, is in search of her own identity. She remembers little or nothing about Barbados and hopes that she can be apart of the white family who inhabited the house which they share with other (page 5). Along with Selina’s search for identity (page 9-10) other themes such as supersition (page 5-6), family relations etc. Symbols: sun-roof, prosperity, hope, newness. On the other hand, we see Deighton whose dram is to return to Barbados which he identifies with as opposed to New York where he sees himself as a visitor.
Deighton confides in Selina about lands that he has back home in Barbados. That he inherited from his deceased sisters. This piece of land is what will further separate the family as Deighton reflects (page 12) saying he has to keep this info from Silla because he cannot, she has changed. Instead he allows Selina to share the secret with her best friend Beryl. Beryl is a year older than Selina and Selina find comfort in her. Suggie Skeete is one (she does this to survive) resident of the Boyce household.
She isn’t welcomed as she is seen as a concubine because she changes her sexual partners regularly. Suggie while living in New York longs for Barbadoes in her cooking (page 17), her drinking of alcohol (page 3) etc. Deighton is the male counterpart to Suggie as he also dressed nicely (page 21-23) on Saturdays to go out to his mistress even though he remains in a broken marriage (page 22). One recurring failure in their marriage is the lost boy who Deighton sees in Selina and Silla further despises this (page 24).
To revive the conversation as opposed to the argument Deighton brags about the land he has received and she immediately has plans for it. * Ms. Mary ;amp; Maritee are also in search of belonging. Ms. Mary is absolutely sure she belongs in the house but Maritee wants to leave. * Deighton’s big dreams of accounting? Racism partying, leaving kids alone at home (Ms. Thompson and the 3 kids). * Page 46 * Page 47 — Silla referring to Selina as the lost son.