Colin Grant: The son of a difficult father | Summary and Q&A

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Colin Grant: The son of a difficult father


This content explores the complicated relationship between the narrator and his father, highlighting themes of fear, immigration, and acceptance.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What was the relationship like between the speaker and their father during their childhood?

The speaker describes their father as a terrifying ogre, who demanded total silence in the house and instilled a fear of drawing attention to themselves. They had no communication for three decades and never laid eyes on their father during that time.

Q: How did Bageye and his friends project themselves in their new country?

Bageye and his Jamaican friends exhibited a kind of Jamaican bella figura, where they projected themselves in a way they wanted to be perceived. They invented traditions like wearing trilbies to defy stereotypes and show their best side to the world.

Q: What were the expectations placed on the speaker as a child of Jamaican immigrants?

The speaker explains that as a child, they were constantly aware of being watched and judged based on whether they conformed to the host nation's stereotype of Jamaican immigrants. There was a pressure to defy these expectations and confound stereotypes.

Q: How did the speaker's parents view education and their role in their child's education?

The speaker's parents did not trust the state to educate them and therefore took education into their own hands. While the father wished for a better education for the speaker, he resorted to trading illicit goods to fund their private school education.

Q: How did the speaker's relationship with their father change after their book was published?

The speaker's book, which explored their relationship with their father, caused a rift between them. Their father felt betrayed by the public airing of his shortcomings and demanded a right of reply in the newspapers, leading to a return of silence between them.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker had a strong desire to kill his father when he was young, but his father managed to avoid any harm.

  • The speaker's father was a terrifying and strict figure, who demanded silence and obedience from his children.

  • The speaker's parents were Jamaican immigrants in England who faced stereotypes and pressures to conform, but they instilled a sense of pride and style in their children.

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