My first impressions of D are that he is a sneaky and tactful person: “D unbuttoned his jacket and glanced around the airport arrival lounge.” D’s background is an important aspect of his character because it tells us how he became a drug dealer. It explains how the local pushers in his area encouraged him to sell drugs: “he soon realized that he could make more money by working for the big shots downtown than he could ever earn in any of the dead-end trades his mother wished him to learn.”
Jerry Dread, D’s brother, is an important character in this story because he shows D that there is an alternative way of being successful by becoming a Rastafarian. Jerry went from being a vicious drug dealer to a spiritual person.
Harry is important because he shows us how teenagers his age look up to drug dealers like D, and have an urge to drop out of school and become drug dealers themselves.
Also, we see a different side of D. After discovering that Harry had been suspended from school, D hands him a 5 pound note. D is doing something for Harry: “look now, you don’t have no quarrel with your mother, she’s just worried about you.” D is giving him some advice.
Piper is an important character because he comments on the development of the black community in Britain. He converses with D about the way kids get spoiled by society.
“you must see most ah dem youth; nothing wrong with dem originally, but society spoil dem. Me she society spoil dem, because it show dem dat money is all dat matters.” Here, Piper presents black people in Britain as victims of a materialistic culture.
The game of dominoes is presented to us in a noisy way. The stakes are small yet the players take it very seriously, because their reputations are at stake. This highlights another important aspect of D’s culture. People within it do not like to lose face.
When D rapes Rita, we look at him as a vicious criminal. His evil action causes us to believe that he is a barbarian: “she lay there whimpering faintly as he took her and satisfied himself.” The word whimpering makes Rita seem as an innocent pet being tortured.
Headley presents the final confrontation with Blue like the Grand Prix. He narrates how D and sticks chase Blue and his accomplice in a Mercedes. He shows us how they speed down drive ways, narrow roads, and parking lots. Eventually, D ‘plunged his blade into Blue’s chest.’ We see this as petic justice, although it is possible that Chin has misinformed D, in order to let D and Blue fight it out between them, whereafter Chin can take power of the drugs trade in London.
When D slaps Jenny across her face with the back of his hand, we feel that he is apathetic. His unconcerned manner makes us think that he isn’t worried about his girl:
“he took a last look at Jenny on the floor, kissed his teeth, and walked out of the kitchen.” At this point we feel totally alienated from D; rather than take on an equal opponent, he hits a girl, pregnant with his child.
My first impression of Slinga is that he is an ambitious teenager who sounds older than he is and has the mind of an adult. The significance of D’s conversation is that he tests Slinga to find out what type of person he is. Essentially, Slinga is like D was at the beginning of the novel: hungry and desperate. Now that D has become a celebrity he has lost some of his sharpness, whereas Slinga still has his. Slinga shows us how an environment can affect a character’s behaviour. As he says, Slinga is ready to do ‘anyt’ing,’ including killing a black drug addict who informed on D to the police. The culture experienced by both Slinga and D directed them into a life of crime.
Leroy thinks that Kingston is like the “wild west.” He describes the Jamaicans as though they are ferocious criminals. Donna thinks that the drugs are ruining their lives. Leroy then tells her that drugs are the only way out of the ghetto. I don’t think that what Leroy is saying is true. The best way to be successful is by getting an education.
Headley’s presentation of black people shows the dark side of Jamaicans, whereas Cool Runnings portrays the happy side of Jamaicans. Cool Runnings shows people smiling and having a good time, whereas Yardie shows people hustling, suffering, and dying. I prefer the Disney interpretation because it talks about Jamaicans enjoying themselves and doing positive things. Whether or not it is realistic, it is still a positive message. However, I do think that the novel is interesting. It has a lot of messages in terms of drug dealing and its consequences. The culture that it represents is dangerous.