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Literature / Over Our Way

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Over Our Way is a collection of 18 short stories, most set in the West Indies and all written by various Caribbean authors, and edited by authors Jean D'Costa and Velma Pollard. It was first published by Longman Publishers in 1980, with a total of twenty impressions, the most recent one being in 2009.

The stories are listed below, with their authors and a brief synopsis for each, and the tropes present in each.

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SPOILERS ABOUND. BEWARE.

Millicent (Merle Hodge)

A new student enters Fourth Standard at a school in Trinidad, and proceeds to upset the status quo.

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The Bicycle (Jean D'Costa)

A young boy gets a bicycle around the same time his grandfather has a stroke. Then the grandpa, now senile, wanders off...
  • Acrofatic: Ernest is an excellent cricketer, despite his bulk.
  • Berserk Button: Don't make insults about Ernest's fat—er, muscle.
    Narrator: The last boy who made the mistake of calling out something about "fatty from the circus" is now going to another school.
  • The Determinator: Ernest rides his bicycle all over Kingston to find his grandfather when the old man runs away from home.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Ernest's mother was very pretty back in the day, according to the narrative.
  • It Runs in the Family: Ernest's big frame comes from his mother, and his maternal uncle is likewise overweight.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Ernest's grandfather loses several memories as a result of his stroke. He even goes as far as to look for an old friend, who had died several years previously.

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Casuarina Row (John Wickham)

Two children engage in weekly make-believe meetings.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: No matter how level-headed George tries to be, he is always wrong and Elizabeth is always right, as far as she is concerned. Even when she asks him a more serious question (whether he loves her or not) at the end of the story, when he finally does answer, she berates him for taking too long to think of his response.
  • Imaginary Friend: Each of the "villagers" Elizabeth talks to. George, who only gets the feedback of these conversations from Elizabeth herself, sucks it up as best he can for the sake of his like for her.
  • Ms. Imagination: Elizabeth. Whenever she gets together with George every Saturday, and they have their playtime among the casuarina trees his grandfather planted, she pretends that each tree is a village member of her own imagining, and she makes George parade past each tree while greeting and holding conversation of varying lengths with each "villager."
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Used by Elizabeth during her make-believe conversations.

The Statehood Sacrifice (Ronnie Saunders)

A young girl makes a heavy sacrifice for the sake of her family.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: What Latona and her mother want to do for Baby David by giving him up for adoption.
  • Hypocrite: Miss Smart feels like one after remembering how, during past garden parties, she used to to talk about adopting a needy child—only, she had in mind to adopt an American or British child instead of one of her own native St. Vincentian citizens.
    Knowing our miserable own with subtle contempt, we have yearned for the foreigner.
  • Ill Girl: Latona's mother, through a combination of unending work, poverty, and having to raise nine children.

Amy and I (Mark Alleyne)

Two girls accidentally break a window while playing, and make efforts to cover it up.

Peeta of the Deep Sea (Michael Anthony)

A sentient fish has an encounter with a mysterious deep-sea predator.

The Devils of Rose Hall (Jean D'Costa)

A pastor accepts a bet to spend a night in Jamaica's most infamous haunted house.
  • Schmuck Bait: The dare to stay at the Rose Hall Great House.

The Water Woman and Her Lover (Ralph Prince)

A man becomes entranced by a mysterious river maiden.

Jeffie Lemmington and Me (Merle Hodge)

A young boy leaves Trinidad to join his family overseas, and while there encounters racism.

My Mother (Velma Pollard)

A Jamaican girl chronicles her relationship with her physically-distant mother.

The Legend of Talon (Calvin Watson)

A legendary criminal reminisces on his life of infamy even as he eludes a police dragnet.

Carlton (Velma Pollard)

Two young people from different classes of life embark on a forbidden love affair.

Heart Man (Millis D. Nichols)

While taking lunch to his father, a boy has a terrifying encounter.

The Owl and the Poodledog (Judy Stone)

A paperboy aids a girl in retrieving a dog that has escaped from her yard.

Anancy and Mongoose (Velma Pollard)

One of the many tales of Jamaica's spider-trickster of folklore.

The Paddy-Man (David King)

Residents of a small neighborhood engage in a dispute with a traveling peddler.

Ascot (Olive Senior)

A young trickster sets out to fulfill his dream of dressing in white and driving a big white car.
  • Berserk Button: Following Ascot's visit with his wife, he becomes this for Lilly's father.
  • Blatant Lies: Ascot specializes in these.
  • How We Got Here: The first few paragraphs of the story outline Lilly's parents' reaction to Ascot's visit with his wife, which takes place near the end of the story.
  • Disappeared Dad: Nobody knows who Ascot's real father is.
  • The Masquerade: When Ascot returns to the village with his wife, he asks Lilly (the narrator) to pretend that she is his cousin and that her family is his family. It doesn't last very long, though.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Ascot's mother.
  • So Proud of You: Ascot's mother feels this way toward him at the end of the story.
  • Villain Protagonist: Ascot.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Both Ascot and his mother qualify.

Bus Strike (Jean D'Costa)

A schoolboy makes his way home during a bus strike.
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