[Caribbean Literature]

The Opening of "Butterfly in the Wind"

Lakshmi Persaud

[This passage was chosen for inclusion in the Postcolonial Web by the author.]

The paragraphs that follow open Persaud's autobiographical novel. They fittingly introduce the entire book because they have its characteristically rich, imaginative description. As you read these paragraphs, ask yourself how they function to create the character of the narrator. What qualities do you think she will turn out to have? [GPL]

Whenever it rained I would stand and stare at the moving, dancing energy outside, and wish I was part of it. My time came. Our big yard was surrounded by tall brickwalls. On this day, it became darker and cooler and lightning flashed.

Thunder rolled.

And then it came upon the rooftops, falling like a harvest of rice grains, and the wind like a sea serpent swished and curved and changed direction. Again the thunder rolled and the pounding began. The falling water bathed the shop and the gallery where I stood, and the kitchen and the open clothes shed. An onion box, an old saucepan and two buckets in the yard were bathing. Everything was bathing.

I looked around. There was no one. My thin feet were excited but I waited.

I waited for the waterfalls and they came as I knew they would, galvanised from the roofs on to the spouting. Our roofs were many, standing at different heights, fringed with gutters and spouts. I took my clothes off and ran out to embrace the falling, dancing sprays. I was full of laughter; was thrilled and excited, for our private yard had become one gigantic shower -- an emperor's luxury.

Into the middle of the waterfall limped, close to our green parrot and he, squawking loudly, stepped away from my splashes.

My head was pounded by the hammering water, so I offered my shoulders instead; ah, that was better!

A frog was squatting there, just gazing, pretending not to look. Was this a prince in frog's clothing? I looked at his muddy legs and then moved my hands about. He plop-plopped into the hibiscus hedge. [9]

What do these paragraphs suggest about the setting?


Persaud, Lakshmi. Butterfly in the Wind. Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 1990.

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Last modified 17 January 2003