The story Triumph by CLR James is about a group of women in Trinidad and Tobago who are impoverished. A conflict with one of them broke the friendship. Triumph comes from one friend supporting the other. James showed readers the social milieu and culture in Trinidad and Tobago, doing so by telling the story in a semi non-fiction way. James started the story with the setting’s context. I like this style because it is effective; readers are able to have background knowledge of the setting that would help them in understanding the story.
James explained first a short history of the place and the traditions that were practiced in the capital. He then moved on to an example life, a representative if you will, of the people during that time. James explained that despite the disappearing culture, and the seemingly dull life that comes with it, life in Trinidad and Tobago can still provide great moments. The author is suggesting that despite the poverty of the people, life, by all means can be every bit as great as it was during the “carnival” days.
James was also keen to show that even the already poor state of the citizens of the barrack-yards, the people are still conscious of their sub-classes. It was shameful to cook hog head, pig’s tail, or salt-fish (poor parts as it were) on Sundays. Sundays were the days of showing off to the neighbors by cooking desirable meat parts outside their apartments. Religion and social responsibility are other aspects tackled by James.
Celestine, a religious woman thought it was up to her to take care of Mamitz because she believed that Irene was sort of cursing her. She gave Maditz a religious bath that would supposedly cleanse her of this curse. Although Celestine may have done this not totally out of good will, she still helped and that was enough. Triumph is a good depiction of the social setting in Trinidad and Tobago during the time it was written. The author was able to express his message and show how ordinary people’s lives were at that time.