Small Island

Small Island

by

Andrea Levy

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Small Island can help.
Gilbert’s cousin, with whom he embarks as a catastrophic beekeeping business venture. Elwood, who wants to stay in Jamaica and be part of the struggle to free his country from colonial rule, is a notable contrast to Gilbert, who looks to the Mother Country for opportunity and seeks to fit into British society, rather than liberating himself from it.

Elwood Quotes in Small Island

The Small Island quotes below are all either spoken by Elwood or refer to Elwood. 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 11: Gilbert Quotes

Anthropoid—I looked to the dictionary to find the meaning of this word used by Hitler and his friends to describe Jews and colored men. I got a punch in the head when the implication jumped from the page and struck me: “resembling a human but primitive, like an ape.” Two whacks I got. For I am a black man whose father was born a Jew.

Related Characters: Gilbert Joseph (speaker), Elwood, Gilbert’s Father
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Small Island LitChart as a printable PDF.
Small Island PDF

Elwood Character Timeline in Small Island

The timeline below shows where the character Elwood appears in Small Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: Gilbert
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
After this incident, Gilbert remembers the words of his cousin Elwood, who was astounded that Gilbert wants to be a soldier in a “white man’s war,”... (full context)
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
...instead. As the war progresses and becomes more desperate, the RAF changes its policy. To Elwood’s disgust, Gilbert immediately signs up; he tells his cousin that nothing will change in Jamaica... (full context)
Chapter 13: Gilbert
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
...business, and when he went to Kingstown for night school, he had to drive his Elwood’s produce truck, which broke down so often that he never got to go to school.... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
...dismissively tells him that it’s wartime and he must do as he’s told. Gilbert remembers Elwood’s assertion that “the English are liars.” (full context)
Chapter 18: Gilbert
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Elwood teases Gilbert for returning, saying it’s obvious that he was right when he said it’s... (full context)
Manners and Civilization Theme Icon
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
Elwood has an “obstinate faith in Jamaica,” and insists that black Jamaicans need to control their... (full context)
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
With Elwood, Gilbert takes a stubborn mule named Enid to pick up their new beehives from a... (full context)
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
...enclosure and attacks the beehives, causing the bees to swarm her and the house. Despite Elwood’s efforts to contain the damage, Enid dies from bee stings and the bees escape, taking... (full context)
Chapter 32: Gilbert
Redemption Theme Icon
Marriage and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Gilbert wonders if Elwood was right to say he should’ve stayed in Jamaica. He imagines his cousin laughing to... (full context)