The Dragon Can — страница 2

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herself to Guy solely for economic reasons. Lovelace continues to employ paradoxes to fully dramatize the omnipresent economic tensions in Calvary Hill. For all of Diego Martin’s comparative sterility – “the newness and sameness of everything” (p. 227) – the streets of the Hill remain “the very guts of emptiness” (p. 143), and Fisheye and his band of disaffected warriors have little else to do but loiter at the Corner, holding their bodies “in that relaxed aliveness ” (p. 26) as they watch “the monotonous pedestrian journeying of people ensnared in their daily surviving, a ritual impelled … set in motion,” Lovelace writes, “by that most noble and obscene reason: the wife, the children, the belly, the back of the foot; the need to keep keeping on” (p.

166). It is easily observable how keeping on in such economic conditions is “noble and obscene” at the same time. The oxymoron serves to increase the sense of realism and, with it, the inherent pathos for the plight of the uprooted urban workers – even for Fisheye and his unemployed hooligans. Frustration and anger – “an anger older than themselves” (p. 164) – is the inevitable result, which manifest in the posturing and ultimate misdirected violence of Fisheye and his band. With effortless narrative pace, Lovelace’s description of the band members’ “tight unhumorous grins” (p.165) culminates in the “serious stupidity … the important stupidity” (p. 179) of their failed pseudo-revolution in Woodford Square. Finally, the racial prejudices which

characterize the Hill are also effectively dramatized in paradoxical terms. Despite Miss Cleothilda’s hollow oxymoronic maxim, “All o’we is one” (p. 14), an outsider like the Indian, Pariag, will never be able to feel a human bond with the others in the Yard. Then again, that is not wholly true; only paradoxes can accurately and adequately convey the urban truth. It is only after the destruction of his bicycle that the Yard can see past Pariag’s race to his humanness; Pariag feels this closeness as well. However, with the culturally pluralistic ideal almost in reach, Lovelace translates the paradoxical and practical reality for the reader: Pariag … felt touched that they had recognized him … Yet, it pained him that they had recognized him just at that moment when he

was drawing away; and this pain brought a tallness to his walk, so that he was at that time both closer to them and farther from them. It would be across this distance and with this closeness that they would view each other henceforth (p. 155). Even Fisheye will eventually stop pressuring “two shilling” from Pariag whenever Pariag passes by him. But when a young fellar says to him, “I didn’t know he was your friend,” Fisheye responds: “Get the f– out of here, who say he is my friend” (p. 155)? Of course Fisheye’s retort contradicts what he unconsciously feels inside, but it is indicative of that seemingly unattainable goal of not only Trinidad and Tobago, but of all nations – “Indian, Chinee, white, black, rich, poor” (p. 163) – that Pariag redefines,

thinking of Miss Cleothilda and her All o’we is one: “No. We didn’t have to melt into one. I woulda be me for my own self. A beginning…’ (p. 224). And Lovelace’s vision in The Dragon Can’t Dance provides just that: a microcosmic beginning, ringing challenging, all-too-relevant truths about humanity from a world of self-contradictions, through a lucid poetry of paradox. To borrow Lovelace’s own words about Miss Cleothilda, his is arguably a novel of “audacious and pious grandeur” (p. 147).