B. Wordsworth : Character sketch of B. Wordsworth


B. Wordsworth:  by V. S. Naipaul

Character Sketch of B. Wordsworth

B. Wordsworth is the main protagonist of the story, he was remembered through the memories of  the narrator. He earns his living  by singing calypsoes in the calypso season.

    B. Wordsworth is remembered for his several qualities, a few of them are –

A colonised Man

B. Wordsworth, in the story of the same name, written by V. S. Naipaul, is presented as – a colonised man. Living  in Alberto Street,Port of Spain, in colonised Trinidad, B. Wordsworth is so colonised that “he abandoned his native Trinidadian identity.” In a British occupied Trinidad, he was so influenced by the western education and western ideology that he took it as a sign of superiority.

     He was dressed neatly when he first met the boy and was wearing “a hat, a white shirt and black trousers.”

     He imitated the English not only in his way of dressing but also in the way he spoke. He spoke impeccable English but it didn’t sound natural, as the narrator said about his English – 

“His English was so good, it didn’t sound natural, and I could see my mother was worried.”

Poet Calypsonian 

B. Wordsworth, admired W. Wordsworth as a great poet, he aspired to become like W. Wordsworth. He built an  imaginary world where he would recognised as great poet. In this fantasy he considered himself equal to W. Wordsworth, even his name ‘ B. Wordsworth’  was a pun in itself which reminded us of the great poet W. Wordsworth.

     B. Wordsworth claimed to be writing the greatest poem in the world at the pace of one line each month, and it would be completed in next twenty – two  years. In reality, nobody had ever bought his poetry and he earned his living by singing calypsoes in the  calypso season. He believed “It is the poet’s tragedy”, that he had no buyer for his beautiful poems even at the cost of four cents.

An Escapist

Being a colonised man, B. Wordsworth was not happy with the social and economic condition of his country.  He was not satisfied by the people’s attitude towards him in his own society. He wanted to be recognised as a great poet by his society. So he embraced escapism and built an imaginary would. He was disillusioned and lived in a dream like world. He admired W. Wordsworth and considered himself equal to W. Wordsworth. He claimed to be writing   the greatest poem in the world but the poem was never written. 

  B. Wordsworth was so creative and intellectually curious. This seemed to alienate him from other adults. He was never presented to interact with any other person, except the narrator, who was a school boy.

    This might be the reason that he befriended the narrator and spent time with him. He not only just made the boy – a part of his escapist world but also he aided in narrator’s escape from the realities of his mother’s abuse.

Nature Lover

B. Wordsworth seemed to be lover of nature. He compared himself to White Wordsworth, a reference to William Wordsworth and said that they both shared one heart and he can “watch a small flower like the morning glory and cry.”

   Means, he had the heart of a poet who can cry for anything in this world. He was fond of watching a variety of objects in nature. 

     Unlike other houses in the city his yard was filled with bushes. It was all green and had a coconut, a mango and a plum tree. 

“The place looked wild , as though it wasn’t in the city at all.”

He had the vast knowledge about stars and constellation. When he went for a walk with the boy for the first time, they lay on the grass to watch the sky and the stars. The narrator still remember the constellation of Orion the Hunter. 

An Affectionate Man

 B. Wordsworth felt and showed love and affection for the young fatherless boy. He being a warmhearted man, offered the boy ripe, red mangoes from his yard. When the boy was upset and angry with his mother, the man comforted him. He took the boy out for a walk. 

      The man was very fond of the boy. He treated him like an adult. He respected his opinion.  In his last moments he pulled the boy “to his thin chest”to make him stop crying. He wished him a good future delinked from the sad memories and thus asked him to never come back  once B. Wordsworth finished his “funny ”  story. He didn’t want the boy to follow his footsteps and end up wrecked and broken or meet the same fate.  Thus for this reason he declared to the narrator  that every thing about him was imaginary, he finally confessed the boy that the story about the boy poet and the girl poet wasn’t true.   And also – 

“All this talk about poetry and the greatest poem in the world, that wasn’t true.”

  With this confession he freed the boy from his imaginary world to face reality.

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