1. Summarized the main plot of this novel.
The novel begins in the year of 1946. Ida is a 13 year old girl living with her parents Esme and Eli. Errol Flynn arrives on the island when his boat, the Zaca, is shipwrecked. Over the years, Flynn spends most of his time in Jamaica and Ida’s infatuation for him grows. At the age of 16, Ida eventually gets what she desires from Errol. Ida becomes pregnant with Errol’s daughter, May. Ida sets her heart on marrying Errol, but he leaves Jamaica and May only meets her father once in her life at the age of 7. In order to support her family, Ida leaves May behind and finds a job in New York. When Ida returns after four years, Ida introduces May to a different lifestyle. After Errol passes away, Errol’s presence is still felt throughout the novel. Ida marries Errol’s good friend while she was in New York, who later buys Navy Island. May grows up on Navy Island surrounded by what is left behind by her father. Ida and May’s saga spans thirty years and in those years we see the changes May goes through and also the changes that Jamaica goes through.
2. Did the author use flashbacks or foreshadowing?
The author uses both flashbacks and foreshadowing. The stingray that Ida sees while on the glass bottom boat is also a flashback. Ida remembers Oni saying, “Sometimes bird ha fe learn how fe swim” (91). In chapter 2, a concern about Esme’s health is brought into attention. Esme always complained about not feeling well. She is often tired and had become quarrelsome. This is a foreshadowing to what later happens to Esme. The prologue in the novel is also set as foreshadowing. It starts off as May describing what use to be Bella Vista.
3. What examples of verbal, situational, or dramatic irony can you identify?
“Last night a bat come in de house. An’ all day me hand middle itchin’ me.” Is an example of a verbal irony. The letter enclosed with money that Ida receives is a dramatic irony because we later find out that it was not Errol who sent it, but rather Karl.
4. Describe the protagonist.
There are two in this novel. First protagonist is Ida Joseph, a beautiful 13 year old girl who lives with her parents in Port Antonio. She becomes captivated by Errol Flynn and at the age of 16, Ida becomes pregnant with Errol’s daughter. Ida is forced to move to New York to try to earn a living for May and Eli, who is ill. Ida spends four years in New York and marries Errol’s wealthy friend.
The second protagonist is May Flynn, Errol Flynn and Ida’s daughter beautiful daughter. She is often mistaken for a white girl. When Ida returns from New York, May feels distant and often wonders about her mother. She keeps the secret of meeting her father at the age of 7 from Ida and only revealing it to Karl at the end of the novel. She also keeps journals and loves to write stories about pirates, inspired by Sabine and Navy Island.
5. Describe the antagonist.
The antagonist is of course Errol Flynn, known as the famous handsome Hollywood start. He is the son to a respected zoologist, Professor Thompson Flynn. However, Errol tarnishes that reputation by being trailed for two statutory rape cases. His character portrays a self-centered and a young girl seducer. He is also known to abandon his kids. On page 12, it states that he had a son and two daughters from his previous marriage that he never seen. This pattern repeats when Ida becomes pregnant with his daughter, May. He would have never met May if she had not gone to Navy Island when she was 7 years old.
6. Were there any foils in this novel?
Esme and Ida are a complete opposite of each other, therefore their characters are foils. Esme, Ida’s mother, is a heavy set woman but moved with surprising grace. Esme is of African and Chinese decent with expression that concealed how strict of a parent she was. Ida on the other hand is light skinned with long black hair and is always mistaken to be from a