May’s coworker at Mr. Tzuilakis’s car wash, who is eventually deported. May becomes deeply attached to the gentle older man, even envisioning him as her father, showing her intense longing for a more stable and loving father figure than the one who abandoned her years ago. Charlie is an immigrant from an unspecified country in Africa, but his extreme reluctance to discuss his origins suggests that he fled bad circumstances in his homeland. Charlie’s brief appearance in the novel links Aboriginal Australians to other marginalized groups and shows that displacement is a global issue, rather than one specific to Australia.
Charlie Quotes in Swallow the Air
The Swallow the Air quotes below are all either spoken by Charlie or refer to Charlie. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Queensland Press edition of Swallow the Air published in 2006.).
10. Chocolate Quotes
He’d never tell you about Africa, and I never asked. It was his secret—his past, that someday, revisited, would become his home again. He never asked me where I was from either—it was an unspoken understanding.
Charlie Character Timeline in Swallow the Air
The timeline below shows where the character Charlie appears in Swallow the Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Mr. Tzuilakis yells out, “Hey Chocolate,” and appears with several police officers, who quickly arrest Charlie and take him away in a car after shaking the boss’s hand. May stands in... (full context)