Small Island

Small Island


Andrea Levy

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Small Island can help.

Small Island: Chapter 31: Hortense Summary & Analysis

For her part, Hortense is angry with Gilbert for constantly criticizing her behavior. After he makes her get up from the floor, he scolds her for folding his suit and creasing it. Then he finds fault with the potatoes she’s made for him, even though she followed Queenie’s instructions on how to make “chips.” He doesn’t even appreciate that Hortense has worked all day tidying the room. When Gilbert cracks his egg, only to realize it’s rotten, he erupts in anger and storms out of the room.
Hortense and Gilbert’s relationship continues to be a series of misunderstandings, so that both partners are angry even though each is trying to be kind to the other. In this way, their marriage is similar to the Blighs’, whose gestures of kindness are timidly made and usually poorly received.
Redemption Theme Icon
Marriage and Women’s Roles Theme Icon