Small Island Characters

Small Island Character List


One of four narrators. A British woman who does her part in the second World War by opening up her home to members of the Royal British Air Force. At the close of the war when her husband fails to return from the war, she rents out the empty rooms in her home in an effort to make a living, and as a sense of freedom. She rents out her home to British of African heritage, which was a source of tension in the book among various characters and in London as a whole.


One of four narrators. Queenie’s husband who fights in the World War and fails to return home directly after the conclusion of the war, and in turn is assumed missing or to have died. When he does return home to London a time later, he is portrayed as unkind and unhappy to find black-descent British taking up residence in his house.


One of four narrators. A kind man with little intelligence originally from Jamaica who fought for the British in the world war and met Queenie during this time. At the conclusion of the war and his return to Jamaica, he decides to completely move his life to London and once again takes up residence in Queenie’s house. Husband to Hortense, he is constantly seen being light-hearted and caring towards her in contrast to her own personality.


One of four narrators. Married to Gilbert as a means of leaving the small island of Jamaica, she is underwhelmed with the life he has secured for them in London. Having been raised of a higher-class back home in Jamaica, along with being educated and a certified teacher, she is confused and upset by the way she is treated and looked upon in London.

Michael Roberts

A Jamaican member of the Royal Airforce who knew Hortense back in Jamaica and was the focus of her admiration. Stays at Queenie’s house for a while in England and becomes involved in a short-lived relationship with her resulting in pregnancy. The connection of Michael between himself and both Queenie and Hortense is never brought to their attention.

Michael Bligh

A mixed race baby, parented by Queenie and Michael Roberts. By the end of the novel the baby is adopted by Hortense and Gilbert because all 4 characters know a colored baby cannot be raised by white parents. The baby can be seen as a symbol for the unified future of Britain. Social and cultural hybridity, both races have worked together to build a future of England.

Arthur Bligh

The father of Bernard Bligh is a veteran of World War I. Since the war he is afraid of loud noises and often wanders around aimlessly, which is when he meets Gilbert. He cheats at game nights and never speaks, but rather communicates using his expressive eyebrows. Arthur owns an old clock that he always winds up even though its noise is very annoying. He is shot by a police officer in a riot.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.