Oxford Book of Caribbean Short

They were zigzagging through the sugar cane field, a truly bizarre scene.

Also in Mendoza, it is a dark and evil scene as Mendozas body is tied to the back of a donkey but the body kept sliding down under the donkey (“ass”). There is no respect for the dead here in this scene, and to take his bloody, muddy, and wet body to his wifes house, and throw it down in the threshold — that is profoundly evil. He never had a chance, and now his family has to pay the price. The evil and “horrible grimace” that was on the face of the dead Mendoza must have been a terrible shock to his family and his children. His son (who had found what he thought was a corpse) now saw a real corpse, ironically the person he had seen earlier and mistaken for a corpse — his own father!

There were dark scenes in the Light, as well. The narrator found those hundreds of canvases “frightening” — like “creatures bred of the dark shadows of the cellar and never seeing the light.” The narrator, as a student of Mr. Foleys back in the day, was glad to get back upstairs and out of that murky basement with all the paintings. Even the setting in the woods was dark and forbidding. No sun could get through. Thats sure sign that the author is painting a picture of something bleak or uncomfortably dark.

Finished and Unfinished business in all three plots

In the Light, Mr. Foley had started “hundreds” of paintings and then lost interest before they were finished. “I never had any satisfaction,” Mr. Foley said. He would start a painting, fully meaning to finish it, but he was never able to. Before he could finish it another idea for a picture would enter his mind and he would toss the first one aside and begin painting the new one, which he also would never finish. “I was never able to remember what I wanted to paint,” he said. The symbolism of the light trickling through the leaves of the trees seems to link with his trickle of an idea for a picture.

He said the light would “trickle” but “never flow.” That was also true of his paintings, the idea never flowed, it just arrived then was gone before he could finish.

Of course in Mendoza that story was not finished, at least not the way that Mendoza had wanted it to end. Unfinished business was part of the issue with the police and soldiers, too, as they had tried to find Mendoza for six months; and in the end, their business was finally finished as well.

In the Light, Mr. Foleys unfinished paintings remained unfinished. He left them in the house he moved from. So this is probably the plot that had the most unfinished aspects to it.

Readers certainly have the impression that the narrator in Ghost Ship finished what he wanted to do. When he crashed the phantom ship into the town, everything about it was better and bigger than the town. “Twenty times taller than the [church] steeple” and “ninety-seven times longer than the village.”


These stories are beautifully written. They are provocative and they urge the readers consciousness to try and figure out the meanings behind the characters actions. The character development and the settings and point-of-view are widely different but all fascinating. The Ghost Ship is truly mysterious, but the other two stories are fairly straightforward. All three are very satisfying to the alert reader who is eager to learn diverse styles of narrative and description.

Works Cited

Bosch, Juan. (2001). Encarnacion Mendozas Christmas Eve. In the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. Eds. Stewart Brown and John Wickham. New York: Oxford

University Press, pp. 70-79.

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. (2001). The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship. In the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories. Eds. Stewart Brown and John Wickham. New York: Oxford

University Press, pp. 148-152.

Wickham, John (2001). The Light on the Sea. In the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories,

Eds. Stewart Brown and John Wickham. New.

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