B. Wordsworth by V.S. Naipaul Quotes

Instructor: Tina Miller

Tina has taught English, has an MFA in Creative Writing, and has several published novels and short stories.

B. Wordsworth is a short story written by V. S. Naipaul and published in Naipaul's collection of short stories, Miguel Street. Learn about the quotes that sculpt the characters, describe the setting, and move the plot forward.

Life Quotes

''B. Wordsworth'' is a short story written by V.S. Naipaul. Its main characters include a boy, the narrator, and B. Wordsworth. They have a whimsical relationship. B. Wordsworth is a poet, and the boy is intrigued by Wordsworth's sentiments about life.

V.S. Naipaul

Building Relationships, One Word at a Time

Before the characters develop their relationship, we learn how the poet, Wordsworth, looks. ''He was a small man and he was tidily dressed. He wore a hat, a white shirt, and black trousers.'' We also learn the location. Naipaul's Caribbean roots are often displayed throughout the short story, especially in the setting. B. Wordsworth ''. . .lived in Alberto Street in a one-roomed hut placed right in the centre of the lot. The yard seemed all green. There was a big mango tree. There was a coconut tree and there was a plum tree. The place looked wild, as though it wasn't in the city at all.''

The boy, the narrator becomes fascinated with Wordsworth right away. He learns that Wordsworth ''. . .can watch ants for days. Have you ever watched ants? And scorpions, and centipedes, and congorees-have you watched those?'' We observe as the boy seeks clarity. ''What you does do, mister?'' It is clear Wordsworth has a story to tell and the boy is inspired to listen but also inspired to question. We, too, are inspired to listen. We watch Wordsworth as he encourages the young boy. ''Why, boy? Why? You will know when you grow up. You're a poet too, you know. And when you're a poet you can cry for everything.'' We watch as he shows the boy his process in learning about life, about poetry. ''Now, let us lie on the grass and look up at the sky, and I want you to think how far those stars are from us.'' Not only does he inspire the boy to wonder, he inspires us.

Heartache and Poetry

But, life is much more than poetry. Wordsworth shares truthful untruths about himself. Neither the narrator nor we, the readers, know if such a story is truthful or untrue. Yet, we listen. He describes his heartache of the loss of a child, a child poet. ''. . .But this poet was never born because the girl died, and the young poet died with her inside her. And the girl's husband was very sad, and he said he would never touch a thing in the girl's garden. And so the garden remained, and grew high and wild.'' While he may have been heartbroken, Wordsworth, through the eyes of the boy, shows a particular zest for life. ''He did everything as though he were doing it for the first time in his life. He did everything as though he were doing some church rite.''

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