From Boy to a Man: Soucouyant

Published: 2021-09-11 21:30:11
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Living in the past is a challenge, especially when your past is racing in front of your future. The narrator from Souycouyant written by world famous author, David Chariandy, seems to have taken the role from child to caretaker when his mother, Adele, had been diagnosed with dementia. Upon facing reality, the narrator chased and followed his dreams in the begginging of the novel, but in the end, learned that you can never escape where you came from. The narrator had foreseen the future when he had left Adele along with his brother and father, but then returned feeling regret and guilt.
By doing so, the narrator turned from a boy to a man when taking on the responsibilities a child should never have to bear. At the age of seven, the narrator found it hard to cope with, let alone, understand what dementia even was. “I don’t know what scientists called it; it was hard to understand, some sort of memory loss syndrome” (Chariandy 18). During the beginning of the novel, the young boy had been going through many struggles and was seen as a target for racism and discrimination. “Get off the bus; you don’t deserve to be here” (Chariandy 12).
Coming to Canada was meant for a brighter future,  as the family had planned out there lives. But, in the hindsight of these terrible events, reality had taken over their dreams. The narrator did not have the chance of going to  because his father and brother both left the family in their own ways. “ Father had died not long after being laid off at work, and my brother left quietly because it was who he was” (Chariandy 16). Adele and her son were both alone and it was up to the boy to take care of her. It seemed as if the opposite of everything that was planned for the family had turned up.

Instead of the mother taking care of the son, the son was taking care of the mother. In addition, it was hard for a seven year old to do this when her mother did not even know her own name. “Adida, Adida is me” (Chariandy 31). Moving to Canada was done in hopes of more prosperous chances, but instead, the narrator and Adele are facing the exact opposite and seeing their dreams come to an end. As the years passed by, the narrator had grown old and tired of Adele. He wanted to move on in search of becoming an engineer and repairing vehicles. “Mother, I can’t stay with you for long.
I am going to become and engineer you know” (Chariandy 89). The narrator had left, leaving Adele all alone. It was as if this related to the title of the story. A Soucouyant is a vampire who sucks the blood out of humans. Comparing this to the novel, Adele has had all of her loved ones “sucked” away from her, including her own memory. From being trapped in a house with nowhere to go, the young boy had escaped the shadow placed around him by his mother and instead, left her, showing how the protagonist was persistent in his journey to moving forward.
After leaving, he lived in a city called Scarborough in a small apartment. Becoming an engineer was impossible, as he had no education or money to get started. He worked at the local restaurant cleaning dishes and unloading the delivery truck. “Inside I was dead, and on the outside, I was hurt from all the work I’ve bin doing just to pay for rent” (Chariandy 129). The narrator felt regret by leaving his mother. Knowing that she cannot take care of herself, the narrator, now a teen, made a plan to work until he got enough money to return back to Adele and get her the aid she really needs.
Leaving Adele perceived the narrator to be moving on forward, but returning back to her shows the real growth from a boy to man. Now a fully grown man, the narrator had retuned back to Adele but felt weary and out of place. “I don’t know if mother has been hurt by my absence, or if she’s even noticed it. I don’t know what meaning there can be between us now” (Chariandy, 144). By coming back home to his mother, the narrator had taken a huge step forward into his growth because he had left his mother because he felt that he was not growing, but returned back because he is now grown.
With the money he had received from the countless hours of work he had done, the narrator hired a nurse to look after Adele. “ Mother, I have found a nurse named Meera who will be taking care of you when I’m off at work” (Chariandy 156). Taking on the responsibilities of a Father, the protagonist is now able to help Adele while moving on with his own life. “With the scrapes of money left over, I will be able to go to school and get a degree in engineering” (Chariandy 171). Furthermore, it seems that the tragic events that happened to the narrator all made up at the end of the novel.
He enrolled in an engineering class while Meera was doing her job of taking care of Adele. The opposite had happened from dreams verse reality to reality facing their dreams. Without a father, the narrator took on the role of one and took care of his mother and had taken the steps towards getting the job he had dreamt of. In the beginning, the protagonist was immature and knew little, but as he got older and learned more, he grew as a man by taking on the huge obstacles that were in his way. The growth of the narrator is evident throughout the novel.
From coping with his mother’s dementia, leaving, and then coming back to help her, the protagonist dealt with responsibilities that he should never have to face. Not only did the narrator grow to help his mother, throughout his journey he had learned that the tragic events of his fathers and brothers passing were not meant to be disappointments, rather to be an alarm to start growing. As David Brinkley once said, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”.

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