Small Island

Small Island


Andrea Levy

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Gilbert’s Father Character Analysis

A Jamaican Jew who converts to Christianity while fighting in World War I. Ostracized by his own family, he marries a Jamaican Christian woman named Louise. During Gilbert’s childhood, his father is an incurable alcoholic, forcing his wife and children to take care of themselves. Still, Gilbert’s awareness of his own Jewish heritage makes him eager to take part in the fight against Hitler.

Gilbert’s Father Quotes in Small Island

The Small Island quotes below are all either spoken by Gilbert’s Father or refer to Gilbert’s Father. 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:
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Small Island PDF

Gilbert’s Father Character Timeline in Small Island

The timeline below shows where the character Gilbert’s Father appears in Small Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18: Gilbert
Race and Prejudice Theme Icon
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon
...with her sister in preparation for a long visit to her children in America. Meanwhile, Gilbert's father passes the days dozing on the porch in a drunken daze. (full context)
Displacement and Belonging Theme Icon places like England and America. Elwood says that Gilbert wants to leave Jamaica because Gilbert’s father is a white man. (full context)