Small Island

Small Island

by

Andrea Levy

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Celia Langley is Hortense’s best friend at teaching college. Hortense looks up to Celia—she’s older and more experienced, a better teacher, and much more comfortable at socializing, especially with men. However, Celia’s mother is insane, and her uncouth public behavior ruins the image of respectability that Celia has been crafting for herself. It’s the beautiful Celia who first attracts Gilbert’s attention; but when Hortense realizes he has plans to move to England, she reveals the secret of Celia’s mother and steals him for herself. The dissolution of this friendship is one of the novel’s most notable betrayals.

Celia Langley Quotes in Small Island

The Small Island quotes below are all either spoken by Celia Langley or refer to Celia Langley. 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:
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Small Island published in 2004.
Chapter 4: Hortense Quotes

I could understand why it was of the greatest importance to her that slavery should not return. Her skin was so dark. But mine was not of that hue—it was the color of warm honey. No one would think to enchain someone such as I. All the world knows what that rousing anthem declares: “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

Related Characters: Hortense Roberts (speaker), Celia Langley
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Small Island LitChart as a printable PDF.
Small Island PDF

Celia Langley Character Timeline in Small Island

The timeline below shows where the character Celia Langley appears in Small Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Hortense
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Hortense recalls that her old friend Celia Langley used to daydream about moving to England and living in a house with a... (full context)
Chapter 4: Hortense
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
...in the ceiling, and all the girls scream while they bathe. The older girl is Celia Langley, a third-year student who takes Hortense under her wing. (full context)
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
At night, Celia sits on Hortense’s bed and knits socks for soldiers while the two girls gossip. Celia... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
One afternoon, Celia picks Hortense up from school. At first, her friend looks sad, but when she sees... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Hortense wonders aloud why so many men have to fight, and Celia responds gravely that if Hitler wins the war, he’ll reinstate slavery. Hortense thinks to herself... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Women call out to soldiers they know; Celia wonders aloud which ones are wearing her socks. She tells Hortense dreamily that one day... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Suddenly, Celia’s mother lurches away from her daughter and into the parade. She clings to a young... (full context)
Chapter 6: Hortense
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
...was born out of wedlock, and her “breeding was not legitimate enough.” In the end, Celia finds her a job teaching in the “scruffy” Half Way Tree Parish School. All of... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
...while Mrs. Anderson talks with her mouth open about her experiences in childbirth. Hortense invites Celia over for dinner to witness their bad behavior, but Celia gets along well with the... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Marriage and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Celia confides to Hortense that she’s courting a former RAF soldier. She retells her new boyfriend’s... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Marriage and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Hortense frequently accompanies Celia on outings with Gilbert. Gilbert loves to joke with the two women, and while Celia... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Feeling angry and left out, Hortense reminds Celia innocently that she’ll have to take her mother as well. When Celia says nothing, Hortense... (full context)
Chapter 7: Hortense
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
Even after the fallout with Celia, Gilbert and Hortense have remained friends. He’s intensely restless and consumed with the desire to... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Redemption Theme Icon
The only guests at the wedding are the Andersons, who ask several times where Celia is. Afterwards, the Andersons host a celebratory dinner; Hortense is still disgusted by their manners,... (full context)
Chapter 18: Gilbert
Marriage and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
In this midst of this dilemma, Gilbert meets Celia Langley, whose adoration makes him feel valuable and excited again. He entertains himself by telling... (full context)
Chapter 22: Hortense
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Hortense imagines Celia laughing at her as she looks around the cheerless room and then quickly bundles up... (full context)
Chapter 59: Hortense
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
...a white woman would be begging her to take in her black child. Not even Celia could have imagined that this is what would happen in the Mother Country. (full context)