Pigeon English

by

Stephen Kelman

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Auntie Sonia Character Analysis

Auntie Sonia is Harri’s aunt (presumably on Mamma’s side, although this is never explicitly specified). She is honest, kind, and generous, and gives Harri and Lydia gifts. She has travelled all over the world, including to America, and once made Will Smith’s bed while working as a hotel maid. An undocumented immigrant, she burns off her fingerprints on the stove in order to avoid being detained by border police. She dates a rich, physically abusive man named Julius, who sells fake visas. Eventually she decides to leave the UK (and possibly return to Ghana) in order to escape from him.

Auntie Sonia Quotes in Pigeon English

The Pigeon English quotes below are all either spoken by Auntie Sonia or refer to Auntie Sonia. 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:
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Pigeon English published in 2011.
April Quotes

Auntie Sonia burned her fingers to get the fingerprints off. Now she has no fingerprints at all. It's so if the police catch her they can't send her away. Your fingerprints tell them who you are. If you have no fingerprints, you can't be

anybody. Then they don't know where you belong so they can't send you back. Then they have to let you stay.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

Auntie Sonia hasn't even done anything bad. She's never killed anybody or stolen anything. She just likes to go to different places. She likes to see the different things there. Some of the countries won't let you in if you're black. You have to sneak in. When you're in you just act like everybody else. Auntie Sonia only does the same things as them. She goes to work and shopping. She eats her dinner and goes to the park.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 93-94
Explanation and Analysis:
July Quotes

Fingerprints are just for feeling with and to help you hold onto things when they're wet. They don't really mean anything. If you didn't have fingerprints you could be anyone you wanted.

Related Characters: Harrison Opoku (Harri) (speaker), Auntie Sonia
Related Symbols: Fingerprints
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Pigeon English LitChart as a printable PDF.
Pigeon English PDF

Auntie Sonia Character Timeline in Pigeon English

The timeline below shows where the character Auntie Sonia appears in Pigeon English. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
March
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...a ride. Harri loves running in the rain and tasting the drops on his tongue. Auntie Sonia comes over, and Harri and Lydia show off the lift in Copenhagen House. Auntie Sonia... (full context)
April
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...Harri isn’t sure why Mamma gives Julius money. He knows Julius is in love with Auntie Sonia and is “always slapping her behind.” It makes Mamma angry when Julius does that. (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Norms Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...that it was loud enough for Papa and Agnes and Grandma Ama to hear. In Auntie Sonia’s flat, “everything looks brand new.” Mamma tries to stop Auntie Sonia telling Harri and Lydia... (full context)
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Auntie Sonia explains that she has a hard time doing certain things with her hands, such as... (full context)
May
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...him a “complete retard.” He is glad when the numbness fades and feels bad for Auntie Sonia that her fingertips are numb forever. (full context)
June
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Lydia has not stopped talking about the Samsung Galaxy and has asked Auntie Sonia for one as a birthday present. Harri loves overhearing people talk on their mobile phones;... (full context)
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
...is feeling better, and Mamma and Lydia cry with joy. The day before Lydia’s birthday, Auntie Sonia gives her a Samsung Galaxy, and Lydia is so happy she cries again. After getting... (full context)
July
Home and the Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Guilt Theme Icon
Pluralism vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Masculinity, Violence, and Death Theme Icon
Auntie Sonia is going on a boat to hide from Julius. She apologizes to Mamma for telling... (full context)