Oluwaseun A. Kelani
Professor: Desmond T. Burke
10 July 2018
The Cricket Match
“The Cricket Match” by Samuel Selvon explores the subtle racial tension that existed among the West Indian Immigrants living the England and working for the English people. To make the story nationalistic and palatable, Selvon uses humor in approaching a somewhat serious game of cricket and showing the pride of the men of West Indies (McLeod, 92). The exploration of the racial tension by this story , giving a historical insight of West Indies living in England which explains the colonialism between both territories would make a good movie for historical purpose.
The main idea behind this tale is in Algernon who is also the protagonist of the story. He desires to fabricate his knowledge of the cricket game to show disdain and try to impress the Englishmen an act that backfires because his self-proclaimed understanding of the game puts him in conflict (Nasta 24; Selvon 62). There are also other incidents created by Selvon that arise from the conflict throughout the story. In addition to the Caribbean vernacular and the culture of the West Indies people, add a comic touch and enhance the story to create some relief for the readers. Algernon tries to show his comprehension of the game when he does not even like it. While he hates both the Englishmen and cricket, he is faced with a dilemma when Charles, the Englishman, and cricket invites him to play a friendly match. He has two choices, either to accept the challenge or back out either option, he realizes, will expose him as a fraud. He crafts an ingenious craft were he comes up with an unenthusiastic team of players to participate in the match (McLeod 56). His team displayed a commendable thought fortuitous performance. When the rain and the game stop abruptly, Algernon can save on “credibility.”
Both the structure and the plot of the story are straightforward and simple. The dramatic effect of the climax is intensified when the minor episodes of conflict begin to escalate. From the differences in the language used and the difference in characters, the camaraderie between these two-sided is clear although race does not play any significant role in their social interactions. When contrasted side by side, they have social settings that reflect a level of acceptance that the West Indians acquired from the English coworkers. Cricket is a metaphor of the values of the English and is called the “gentleman’s game”, as part of colonizing/civilizing process, such value was deemed to promote civility and an aristocratic lifestyle of leisure (Appadurai, 63).
I think this is a narrative that could be adapted to a movie because, first, Selvon expertly employs perceptual perspective which creates spatial cohesion throughout the story. The plot of the story is in one place, but it does not become monotonous of boring. He also builds cohesion and builds division through the employment of locatives. Early in the story, he divides and widens the space when he distinguishes the West Indies for the English people. Therefore, once the story begins the reader is aware of the space difference between these two groups. He also uses space by employing phrases like “where I come from” which is also a way to highlight the cultural differences between the men (Selvon, 65). The reader is also made aware of the fact that the story takes a more extended than the plot in the story and that the previous activities affect the characters (D Beckles et., al, 78).
He also employs a temporal point of view where the dimensions of time relate to the impression that the reader gets. In the story, he says, “cricket is breakfast and dinner” which implies the frequency that people are playing cricket in the country. In fact, it is easy for a reader to notice that the events of the entire story probably took place between mid-spring and late autumn which is the culture of the English people also, the pitch was green and there was rain mentioned. Of course, it is impossible to play cricket during winter. Therefore a reader gets to form the most realistic context for the plot.
The narrator is also outside the story because he does not play the part of a character in the story. The narrator says more than what the characters know (Selvon 94). He is also omniscient and knows the thoughts, perceptions, and reactions of each character. Like most movies played today, Selvon engages the reader and exposes them to a lot of emotions by using words like might and could which suggest that he cannot choose whether he should recommend or not. He also shows us the issues that may be facing Algernon which indicate that he does not believe in himself. There is also a chance for the director to choose either an omniscient narrator or a person close to Algernon.
In conclusion, as a movie, this book will make great sales and will be fairly rated by critics. It engages the readers and keeps them wondering what it was like for both the colonizers and the colonized during 1950 (Dunn, 42). Selvon also had personal experiences about the things he writes that is why they are so accurate, eye-catching and intense.
Appadurai, Arjun. (2015). Playing with Modernity: The decolonization of Indian Cricket. Print
D Beckles, Hilary McD, and Brian Stoddart, editors. (1995). Liberated Cricket: West Indies Cricket Culture. Manchester University Press. Print
Dunn, Richard S. (1972). Sugar and Slave: The rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies. The University of North Carolina Print
McLeod, John. (2004). Post-Colonial London: Rewriting the Metropolis. Routledge. Print
Nasta, Susheila (1995). Setting up home in the City of Words: Sam Selvon’s London novels. London: Pluto Press. Print