B. Wordsworth

by

V. S. Naipaul

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Trees Symbol Icon

The trees in the story symbolize the many life-giving qualities that B. Wordsworth himself represents. Indeed, the story begins with trees that are brimming with life—the bee-infested palm trees in the boy’s front yard. A short time later, the boy visits B. Wordsworth’s house to “eat mangoes” and is struck by the variety of fruit trees in his front yard.  In the middle of the story, B. Wordsworth responds to the boy’s question about why he keeps “all this bush” in his yard by telling a story about how the overgrown yard, trees and all, are meant to keep alive the memory of a wife and her unborn child who died. The story ends with the absence of trees as the boy passes the place where B. Wordsworth used to live and notices that the house, trees, and yard have been torn down and replaced by brick and concrete. The trees in all these instances reflect B. Wordsworth’s own vital, life-giving, generative qualities as a would-be poet, qualities that he models for the boy. When the boy eats the mango from B. Wordsworth tree, for instance, the juice drips down his chin as if from an overabundance of sweetness and delight. The trees throughout the story represent an ideal in which life, joy, and creativity manage to transcend hardship and suffering. Their final absence in the story suggests a kind of defeat, one that leads the boy to question whether B. Wordsworth, so closely associated with nature, ever actually existed.

Trees Quotes in B. Wordsworth

The B. Wordsworth quotes below all refer to the symbol of Trees. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity Construction Theme Icon
).
B. Wordsworth Quotes

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

She said to me, ‘Stay here and watch him while he watch the bees.’

The man said, ‘Thank you, Madam. You have done a good deed today.’

He spoke very slowly and very correctly, as though every word was costing him money.

Related Characters: B. Wordsworth (speaker), The Boy’s Mother (speaker), The Boy (The Narrator) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Trees
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

He lived in Alberto Street in a one-roomed hut placed right in the centre of the lot. The yard seemed all green. There was the big mango tree. There was a coconut tree and there was a plum tree. The place looked wild, as though it wasn’t in the city at all. You couldn’t see all the big concrete houses in the street.

Related Characters: The Boy (The Narrator) (speaker), B. Wordsworth
Related Symbols: Trees
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

He wasn’t looking at me. He was looking through the window at the coconut tree, and he was speaking as though I wasn’t there. He said, ‘When I was twenty I felt the power within myself.’ Then, almost in front of my eyes, I could see his face growing older and more tired. He said, ‘But that—that was a long time ago.’

Related Characters: The Boy (The Narrator) (speaker), B. Wordsworth (speaker)
Related Symbols: Trees
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

I walked along Alberto Street a year later, but I could find no sign of the poet’s house. It hadn’t vanished, just like that. It had been pulled down, and a big, two-storeyed building had taken its place. The mango tree and the plum tree and the coconut tree had all been cut down, and there was brick and concrete everywhere.

It was just as though B. Wordsworth had never existed.

Related Characters: The Boy (The Narrator) (speaker), B. Wordsworth
Related Symbols: Trees
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Trees Symbol Timeline in B. Wordsworth

The timeline below shows where the symbol Trees appears in B. Wordsworth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
B. Wordsworth
Identity Construction Theme Icon
Art and the Artist’s Life Theme Icon
Unconventional Friendship Theme Icon
The Wonder of Nature Theme Icon
...yard one afternoon and asks if he might watch the bees that populate the palm trees in the yard. Despite his mother’s skepticism, the narrator (a young boy at the time)... (full context)
Identity Construction Theme Icon
Art and the Artist’s Life Theme Icon
Unconventional Friendship Theme Icon
The Wonder of Nature Theme Icon
...narrator is struck by how green B. Wordsworth’s yard is and by the variety of trees in it. When the narrator returns home after eating a mango, his mother beats him... (full context)
Identity Construction Theme Icon
Art and the Artist’s Life Theme Icon
The Wonder of Nature Theme Icon
Living and Dying Theme Icon
...Wordsworth makes the narrator promise not to talk to anyone about him or his fruit trees and, in response to a question the narrator asks about his overgrown yard, he shares... (full context)