The White Woman on the Green Bicycle Summary & Study Guide

Monique Roffey
This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle.
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The White Woman on the Green Bicycle Summary & Study Guide Description

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Sabine and George Harwood arrive in Trinidad in 1956. They are a young couple and have yet to begin a family. They own a house in England, a gift from George's parents, but George is looking to escalate his career and knows he can do that in Trinidad. Most young couples who try to live in Trinidad don't manage to stay for the term of their initial contract and Sabine, from the beginning, is determined to remain for the full three years of George's contract. She doesn't however, plan to remain on the island forever and fears from the beginning that George is deeply in love with Trinidad. She is correct and George becomes determined to remain.

George finds that he is “someone” in Trinidad and says that he would be nothing more than a lowly clerk if he were to return to England. He uses that as the basis for remaining though he also loves the life he builds for himself outside work. He buys land without Sabine's knowledge, builds a house without her approval, and settles in to stay. Sabine, meanwhile, tries to find the courage to leave George but finds herself financially and emotionally dependent on him to that point that she never manages to go.

During the early days in Trinidad, Sabine sets out to make the best of her life. She often rides her green bicycle around town as a means of getting to know the area and combating her boredom. She doesn't realize until much later that people are talking about her on that bicycle. When she finally learns that, she feels self-conscious and eventually stops riding altogether. She sees that as a major loss of freedom and hates Trinidad even more for it.

Racial tensions in Trinidad seem near the surface from the time of Sabine's arrival. She admits to being afraid of many of the blacks, especially of black men. One day she finds herself in the middle of a rally with Eric Williams as the speaker. Williams' words touch Sabine and she genuinely hopes that he will create change for the poorest people of the island. Sabine begins writing letters to Williams in which she pours out her innermost feelings and fears. She treats the letters as something of a diary though she focuses a great deal of her thoughts toward Eric Williams and his political career. Years pass and George finds the letters one day. He sees them as a betrayal and is bitter toward Sabine for writing all those thoughts and feelings down. Ironically, George doesn't see his own affairs as a betrayal.

Sabine and George have two children. Sabine sends her son to boarding school in England in an effort to distance him from the island culture. Sabine and Sebastian are never again as close as Sabine hoped, making her decide to keep her daughter in school locally. Pascale becomes immersed in the culture, adopts the attitudes and speech, and marries locally.

George and Sabine remain in Trinidad for the rest of George's life. They spend fifty years and much of that time is a struggle to keep their marriage alive and for Sabine to find her way. In 2006, George takes a stand against the corrupt police department, hiring a lawyer and determined to make a difference. George dies before the process comes to fruition. Sabine, frustrated with the corruption, goes to the police station and shoots the department head. The action is the final scene in the chronological events of the book and her fate is not revealed.

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This section contains 594 words
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