Ti Jean and His Brother Plot

The play has the model of a fairy tale, but with a more mature story. The animals of the rainforest tell the story of Ti Jean and his two brothers, and their plight against the devil. Bolom offers the three brothers a challenge against the devil and the objective is to win and evoke emotion in the devil so that they can live in wealth and peace, if they lose the devil will eat them.

The first brother, Gros Jean, sneaks out of the house and leaves home to go and work on the plantation, having the utmost confidence in his strength. The Devil takes on the form of the White Plantation Owner and angers Gros-John by undermining his work and refusing to call him by his actual name. Gros-John loses all his patience and eventually gets eaten by the Devil.

Mi-Jean leaves to be a ship captain and a lawyer and plans to beat the devil with silence and a smile.The Devil is disguised as a Plant and is at first frustrated with Mi Jean not speaking. Mi Jean is forced to look after a goat that keeps running lose and he constantly has to run after it. The Devil makes fun of him by comparing his intelligence to the goat’s and insults him by implying that the goat is more intelligent than him. Mi-John loses all his patience and eventually gets eaten by the Devil.

Ti-Jean finally has his chance, his mother tries to keep him at home but Ti-Jean is not afraid to meet the Devil because of his trust in God. Ti-Jean compares himself as David meeting Goliath.The frog, cricket, bird, and firefly, who serve as narrators for the story, are worried about Ti-Jean.Ti-Jean finds an old man, who is really the Devil in disguise (the old man has a tail)Ti Jean sets out to defeat the devil, and is caught by two of the devil’s minions looking at his brother’s graves. They assign him to catch the same goat as before, which Ti Jean castrates.The Plantation Owner tell him to count all the leaves in the sugar cane field, which Ti-Jean tells all the plantation workers to burn.

The devil and his friends return, drunk, and discover that Ti Jean has also burnt down their house. Bolom tells the devil to be reasonable and fair…The devil then becomes enraged. Ti Jean calls him out on this, and claims that he has won.

The devil plays unfair and starts to kill Ti Jean’s mother, telling him that he will only win if he sings for her. Ti Jean’s animal friend’s encourage him to sing, which he does. The devil feels sympathy, cries out of  sorrow, and grants Ti Jean his wish.Ti-Jean wishes for the bolom at the beginning of the story to have life. The bolom is ‘born’, and they all sing in a dramatic ending. The devil leaves, but not without promising that he and Ti-Jean will meet again. 

resource: Texas, U. (2017). A Summary of Ti-Jean and His Brothers

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