Small Island

Small Island


Andrea Levy

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Celia’s mother Character Analysis

A mentally ill Jamaican woman. Appearing only once in the novel, Celia’s mother embarrasses Celia and Hortense at a parade by appearing in a ridiculous outfit and accosting a random soldier, mistakenly believing him to be Celia’s father. To Celia, who wants to become a proper and “civilized” British schoolteacher, her mother is a liability. However, Celia still behaves tenderly towards her mother and helps her home even after her public humiliation.
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Celia’s mother Character Timeline in Small Island

The timeline below shows where the character Celia’s mother appears in Small Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Hortense
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
...looking for a particular man. Hortense can tell from her looks that the woman is Celia’s mother ; as she exhorts her mother to be quieter, Celia is too embarrassed to look... (full context)
Redemption Theme Icon
Suddenly, Celia’s mother lurches away from her daughter and into the parade. She clings to a young boy... (full context)
Chapter 6: Hortense
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 explains that Celia’s mother is “quite mad,” citing... (full context)