Small Island

The aftermath of war in Bernard and Queenie’s conduct College

The war had been an enormous bomb blast. Everything thrown up, tumbling, turning and scattering high in the air. Now it was over; the whole lot was coming back down to land. But it was all settling in different places.

– Andrea Levy, Small Island (London: Tinder Press, 2006) (page 497)

Small Island was written by Andrea Levy and published in 2004, with its plot set in 1948, when England is still very much in the process of recovering from the effects of the Second World War and being reconstructed. Events like the inauguration of the new health system (NHS) and the arrival of the Empire Windrush passenger ship from Jamaica contributed to define the beginning of the post-war condition that changed British society. It is possible to link these events and many other transformations in England to the effects of war. Considering the aftermath of war and its period of crisis, I limit my analysis on the narrative structure and on Queenie and Bernard’s actions during this critical period.

The narrative contains a particular structure that reflects the matter of war. Instead of being constructed in a chronological order, the plot is separated in two ways. First, the narrative is divided in the voice of the four characters. Second, the...

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