Question 1: Humorous Effect in the Book ‘An Evening in Guanima’

The art of storytelling in folk tales employs many divergent disciplines to convey its central message. In the book, the author employs humorous effect generated from the characters Bouki and Rabbi to capture the audience attention while passing the Bahamian message. Humor is created both in simple and complex fashion in the characters. Bouki and Rabbi are two complete opposites in their level headedness. The Sperrit House and the Trickster both portray the characters in similar fashion. The author employs a genius approach in the development of the two characters. Despite their differences, both characters are perceived as geniuses even amidst their poor and lazy personalities. This complex depiction is what gives the reader amusement in that two lazy, rigid, open, but calculative characters can eventually appear as highly intellectual. Bouki and Rabbi are humorous in their application of trickery and wit to fashion their heroic imagery.

Immature portrayal of the two characters develops humor in the plays. Bouki and Rabbi conform in being extremely lazy in the two books. The audience familiarizes with this ill perception of the characters from the onset of the books resulting in little perception that they are the central heroes. For instance, in the Sperrit House, the two characters agree that the best way for them to get nourishment amidst the present food scarcity was by holding the meals longer in their mouths. Through this act, the two would demoralize other people from having their meals resulting in more food that is available (Glinton 63). The reader identifies that the two will always nullify the strategies of their archenemies through this simple and rather disgusting tactics. It is amusing that animals with greater physique, social position and intelligence could be outwit through this simple childish tactics. The lazy and juvenile approach to issues by the two characters is employed by the author to establish humor in the narratives.

The author ascertains humorous capture of the audience through integrating psychological concepts such as imagery, fantasy, and reality. For example, consider the love for food as seen in the two narratives. The satisfaction that one derives from a heart meal is a concept that is known to supersede even the dignity of persons who are educated. Therefore, ‘the love for food’ becomes a psychological concept that the books use to establish comedy. For instance, consider the point where Rabbi takes one of his friends to a spread head up in the sky. The location has so much food that the minimal number of days to have the meals is nine. The plays become absurd in this combination of fantasy and realism. The audience may be familiar with the love for food, but a nine-day meal in the sky is unreal. The level of absurdity is what makes the characters funny even in their peculiar names such as Bouki of the bottomless tummy.

Humor is developed by not following the normal depiction of heroes as moral and constantly just. Bouki and Rabbi are two characters who in general have no tolerance for social guidelines given their emphasis on self-interest. Rabbi was a master thief whose smart plotting would always result in success. These ploys are always outside the film time generating anxiety and curiosity in the audience. Rabbi was always aware of the time, place, and manner in which to attain that which he treasured. He becomes a master trickster to a point that he even fools Bouki by having him and the son Borin stall. Rabbi could look out on a field of ripened maize and estimate the amount of grain that he could steal without apprehension (Glinton 101). Bouki on the other hand continuously loses his grip whenever food is around. The character is actively greedy in his meal consumption leading to his branding as bottomless. Bouki would eat whatever was given to him and eventually request for more. The author employs this immoral depiction to structure the rise and fall of the two characters. Therefore, the folk becomes cunning in its deviation from normality.

Self-conflict is a concept that the author employs to derive humor in the divergent characterization of Bouki and Rabbi. Bouki always loses himself whenever he is about to it. Glinton informs, ‘ran  here  and  there……grabbing  handfuls  of  this,  a  bowlful  of  that,  trying manfully to stuff a quart of food at a  time into a mouth, which was made to hold no more than a half pint’ (Glinton 91). It is comedic how the slow and conservative character generates so much energy from the simple sight of a meal. Bouki becomes so disoriented that he rolls and sleeps under a bed in the Sperrit House, the same location where he was thieving. Rabbi on the other hand contrasts himself as an individual who sees no value in greediness. His profession as a thief conflicts with this ideal because he takes that which he is not entitled. It is comedic how the character steals in clean fashion to negate his greed. For instance, in the Sperrit House, Glinton tells that Rabbi was neat in his theft. Cutting and sampling each food item in clean ways that only he could recognize.

Question Two: Identification of Three Problems using Poetic Devices in Pintard’s Poems

Economic Dependence on the Elite Few

Pintard in the poem ‘Best Performance Ever’ employs satirical humor to convey his social, cultural, and political commentary. The poet uses this device to highlight how the oppressed are torn between pleasing the elite in the community and their wives. The challenges in marriages in the Bahamian sexuality necessitate combination of both economics and romance. Satirical humor is seen in the first stanza where the poet states, “we sang the blues truly blue and they rocked-white, Colgate-treated teeth gaped wide. We played Jazz as they clutched each other while our spouses waited up for us to finish our never ending gigs and all that Jazz” (Glinton 127). It is mocking that characters in the poem have to perform blues while they are blue because they miss the company of their spouses. Despite their mellow sentiments while performing, they understand that they have to see the gigs to completion in order to earn their meager salaries.


Racial segregation is perhaps the dominate argument in Pintard’s ‘Best Performance Ever’ and the ‘Reconstruction’. Several poetic devices highlight this theme. The first is satirical humor where the poet argues that the artistic performers danced, rapped, and tapped in order to make best of the racial trap. The second is euphony where the words rap, tap, and trap develop musically pleasant sounds. The words are also rhythmic, despite the audience being seldom conscious. Reconstruction in its first stanza employs allusion and allegory to bring out this theme where it states, “My ears hear you Mother Africa, they hear European-trained African scholars reciting Shakespearian in our sacred halls of academia” (Glinton 127). The author argues on how the African culture is suppressed in European schools while the White culture is encouraged through literature such as Shakespeare. Allusion is understood if an individual reads the entire stanza while allegory is seen in the first line.

Cultural Loss

The problem follows as an implication of racism. In addition, it is a result of imposed oppressor ideals on the oppressed. In the Best Performer Ever, we see Pintard argue that the performers who create liberating melodies have become old instruments. To argue on this, the poet employs analogy where he compares the lost African tunes to modern jazz. The poet states, “I say us created rhythmic specimens of precision now an old instrument that plays melodies, sometimes more liberating than Jazz” (Glinton 127). Pintard equally portrays the imposed culture using simple substitutes in order to negate use of offensive or harsh words. It is evident that the European culture is hated by the Bahamian society, but the poet employs euphemism to highlight this sentiment. This is seen in the last stanza in Resurrection, which states “But the stanzas fall meekly on pulsating young African ear-Drums bouncing off into a place short of antiquity where they would have reached but, Shakespeare’s European poetic tradition was yet to be” (Glinton 127) This is also seen in his cacophonic capture of European jazz. Pintard portrays the genre as unpleasant using the sounds ratatatatatatat, pow pow, bam bam and boom in the last stanza of the Best Performance Ever.




Works Cited

Glinton-Meicholas, Patricia. An Evening in Guanima: A Treasury of Folktales from the Bahamas. Nassau, Bahamas: Guanima Press, 1994. Print.

Glinton-Meicholas, Patricia. More Talkin’ Bahamian. Nassau, Bahamas: Guanima Press, 1995. Print.

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