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The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle is a novel written by Monique Roffey. The story is set in the backdrop of the political turmoil in post-colonial Trinidad. The novel presents the past and present life of a couple – George and Sabine Harwood.

The story starts with describing the life of the couple from their past passionate moments to the present troubled relationship. The couple arrives in Trinidad as young newlyweds. From England, they take with them a couple of suitcases along with Sabine’s green bicycle. The green bicycle is considered a symbol of their life in England. The couple’s new lifestyle causes disruption in their personal life. Even though George is content and happy with the post-colonial land, Sabine feels isolated and lonely. The entangled life on the island turns their passion into betrayal. Their attempts to prove their love for one another leads to tragic consequences.

They come to Trinidad with an intention of staying not more than three years. But George gets attracted to the island life and decides to stay further. However, Sabine, on the other hand, is unwilling to stay at a place of racial segregation and unrest. In her way to adapt to the new home, she finds solace in riding her green bicycle.

The theme of exclusion is evident in the novel. The life of the protagonist characters in a land of apartheid unrest seems to be the right place for the theme of alienation. George does not feel alienated in the new land as he adores his white authority. Even though he is a colonial outsider, he demands special privileges for his excluded life. On the other hand, Sabine scorns the white colonialist lifestyle. As a result, she is living in isolation. Unlike George, Sabine feels reluctant in adapting to her new lifestyle.

Sabine feels lonely in her own space, excluded from the homeland. The cultural barriers and racial tensions in the new land create a sense of exclusion within her. Moreover, the existing oppression and violence make her feel alienated. She is left with extreme desperation and lonely.

Overall, the existing tumultuous political transition and colonial rule cause disappointment and divisions within the people. The couple is unable to secure their independence, both in social life and personal life.

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