without my written permission. T it l e of Thes i s/~roject/~xteded Essay. V.S. NAIPAUL'S FICTIOH, FRAGMENTATION & ROOTLESSNESS. Author. Travel Taking Further: V. S. Naipaul, Travel Writing and the Quest for Postcolonial Identities. Jacinta Matos . The Enigma of Arrival: Inverse Authorship. Naipaul: Life and Achievement. V.S. Naipaul is one of the eminent Caribbean writers in English. He has been a great novelist and travel – writer. He is a novelist.
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PDF | On Jul 30, , Sue Thomas and others published V. S. Naipaul. V. S. Naipaul Second EditionBruce King V. S. NAIPAUL Other books by the author Modern Indian Poetry in English (se. Searching for a Centre: The Writing of V.S. Naipaul. John Thieme. LITERARY PROFILE LITERARY PROFILE displacement which looms so large in his work.
Early life[ edit ] Where there had been swamp at the foot of the Northern Range , with mud huts with earthen walls that showed the damp halfway up Sugarcane as a crop had ceased to be important. None of the Indian villages were like villages I had known. No narrow roads; no dark, overhanging trees; no huts; no earth yards with hibiscus hedges; no ceremonial lighting of lamps, no play of shadows on the wall; no cooking of food in half-walled verandas, no leaping firelight; no flowers along gutters or ditches where frogs croaked the night away. Two years ago a kind Nepalese who liked my name sent me a copy of some pages from an gazetteer-like British work about India, Hindu Castes and Tribes as Represented in Benares; the pages listed—among a multitude of names—those groups of Nepalese in the holy city of Banaras who carried the name Naipal. That is all that I have.
But Indians should definitely give it a read, as it might act as a catalyst in the process of change that we all desire as Indians. I had learned my separateness from India, and was content to be a colonial, without a past, without ancestors. Naipauls identity plays a crucial role in the trilogy.
His ambiguity in terms of national feeling and belonging to a particular country is a core predisposition for his perception of India. Although he grew up in a Hindu community in Trinidad, he remained detached from the country of his grandfather. The long distance induced the main differences between the Indians in Trinidad and the Indians in India.
Through almost a hundred years in emigration the gap between those in Trinidad and those in India widened and finally two distinctive cultures aroused of this separateness.
The real India is completely different from what the author dreamt of as being his homeland. The shock that he has to overcome, when he realizes that the real India has nothing in common with the India of his imagination, is crucial for the overall mood of this book. His family ancestors, who moved to Trinidad, cherished their memories and traditions and it became the source of his ideal thoughts of his mother country.
The India, then, which was the background to my childhood was an area of the imagination. It was not the real country I presently began to read about and whose map I committed to memory.
He realizes that his image of India is not adequate and feels ascertain separateness and distance from the country. An Area of Darkness is not only about the failure of India, but also about the failure of the myth of Naipauls childhood. Naipauls identity is strongly connected to his imaginary world. With the loss of his ideals the loss of identity comes immediately.
The author feels alienated, not knowing who he really is. He fails to identify with Indians. Nonetheless, Naipaul has very contradictory feelings about his homeland. He feels a very strong bond to this country. His confusion may easily be traced in this book.
On one hand, he is distressed of his rootlessness; he does not feel to be an Indian. On the other hand, he is frustrated when he is denied his dissimilarity:. Now in Bombay I entered a shop or a restaurant and awaited a special quality of response. And there was nothing. It was like being denied part of my reality.
I felt the need to impose myself, and didnt know how. The feeling of separateness and disillusion leads Naipaul nearly to a complete negation of India, as it is suggested at the end of the travelogue. It was only now, as my experience of India defined itself more properly against my own homelessness, that I saw how close in the past year I had been to the total Indian negation, how much it had become the basis of thought and feeling.
Racial Compartmentalization of the Caribbean required by the logic of both slavery and colonization, causes earlier West Indian writers to tended to write basically about their communities, and the outsiders only as caricatures or figures of fun.
Naipaul admits that his contacts with members of other races were minimal and that he met people who were outside his ethnic group only in official contexts where necessity dictated so, from many Naipauls essays, the readers can notice that his writings appear to have been minimum contacts with people of other races.
Familiarity with other groups is only at a distance. Among the immigrant Indians were some of Islamic background. Ina characteristic acerbic style he described his period there as a complete waste of time, spent reading texts that did not contribute anything to his desire to become a writer, an ambition that was assiduously encouraged by his father.
Earning a scholarship was for Naipaul an escape route from the constraining limitations of an island life. Apart from the fathers improvidence, unhelpful relatives, the constant anxiety of living in unstable homes, and ultimately the consciousness of having a talent were to provide the backdrop to Naipauls neurosis about what he described as halfmade societies.
Areas of darkness can be described as spaces in which one is conscious of the gradual loss of ones ancestral culture, with the accompanying sense of dislocation and personal and social degradation that follows from this loss.
In religious terms, they can be described as spaces of exile or alienation. Conscious of the impact of the loss of the traditional Hindu worldview on his personal identity, Naipaul develops the ability to detect religious charlatans in his quest to overcome the darkness.
Naipauls work made an important contribution to understanding the religious charlatan in the evolution of colonial societies. Since religion lies at the base of colonial social formation, the religious charlatan either keeps the society as a dependent periphery or makes it an active participant in reforming the world.
The substance of the Indian character lies in the deeply rooted Hindu tradition and the caste system, which determines the social structure in India. Hinduism is the major Indian religion apart from Buddhism and Islam. The Hindu-Muslim conflict is many times evoked in the trilogy. The clashes and the mutual misunderstanding between the devotees of the two religious groups are usually shown on the way people are living.
Naipaul writes about the Muslim ghettos placed out of the rest of the Hindu society. In the encounter of Naipaul, as a representative of Hindu, with Azis, a representative of Muslim, we can trace a considerable misunderstanding between those two religions. Naipaul himself confesses that despite the fact that his relationship to Azis was more or less warm and on friendly terms, there occurred some moments of misapprehension.
Naipaul realizes that Muslims were somewhat more. Yet the author does not focus on these relations that much as he focuses on Hinduism itself.
It stands at the background to every aspect of life portrayed in his books. Naipaul himself has a very ambiguous position in terms of religious affiliation. Though he clearly states that he is not a believer that he remained almost totally ignorant of Hinduism and that his Hindu upbringing evoked only that sense of the difference of people, , a vaguer sense of caste, and a horror of the unclean, there was evidently Hindu-traditional, Brahmin side of him.
It appears in the way he is accepting the people practising their rituals, in the way he is sympathizing with the Brahmin family and their eating habits and in his ability to separate the pleasant from the unpleasant. Hindu people tend to escape to their inner world instead of facing the reality.
In case of any conflict, they are known for their inactivity. The outer world does not really matter. They live in purity, frugality and non-violence.
Poverty is regarded as the part of the Hindu lifestyle. It goes hand in hand with Hinduism, because Hindus are not focused on materialistic aspects of life.
It is almost romanticised into something worth adulation. The individual spiritual elevation is superior to the prosperity of the whole nation. The only unit that matters in terms of Hindu lifestyle is caste, clan and family.
This deeply established social structure is the base of the Indian social hierarchy. Everyone is predetermined by birth to play a certain role in his life. There is no tolerance of social mobility within caste system. Caste is what primarily defines each person within the society. Class is a system of rewards. Caste imprisons a man in his function. From this it follows, since there are no rewards, those duties and responsibilities become irrelevant to position.
A man is his proclaimed function. There is little subtlety to India. The poor are thin; the rich are fa. On the other hand, Naipaul does not deplore the caste system as such.
He believes that it had a very important role in shaping the nation in the past and it worked well.
Yet, he sees the failure of this system as it prevailed into present. The modern society cannot be based on such principles as is caste system and he regards this lasting, deep-rooted social structure as. He asserts that in the beginning caste system was useful division of labour in a rural society, but it has now divorced function from social obligation, position from duties.
It is inefficient and destructive; it has created a psychology which will frustrate all improving plans S Naipaul has a negative point of view on Islam and its rules, during his encounters in the non-Arab Islamic world, visiting the four non-Arab Muslim countries in Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia , and his aim was to see Islam in action and to find out about the application of Islam to institutions, to government, to law.
Naipaul goes on to attribute the historical causes for this Philosophical hysteria to the double colonization enacted on the non-Arab Islamic world: His isolation of the Islamic world to an array of politicized agendas of dictatorial leaders mobilizing disenfranchised populaces, and his reduction of Islamic monotheism to a fixed category ignores the lessons of the historical processes-including colonialism- that allowed for a secularization of Christianity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Consequently, his reification of the Enlightenments near-deification of rationality a philosophical formulation essential to the secularization if Faith itself abolishes the recent past and its economic divisions of the world that would help explain why the current posture of our universal civilization may have engendered a counter hegemonic stance. In this statement Naipaul presents the western civilization as universal, always in creative process and the Muslims bound to take help from them though they do not like their ideology.
Naipaul is so preoccupied by this prejudice that he cannot understand the simple fact that the countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia have got independence from. But ideologically they do not like the West because they were the victims of rampant exploitation and oppression during the colonial rule.
To be more precise, it is very natural for the third world countries to swing between dependence on and rejection of the western civilization. According to Naipaul, Islam is a backward religion and it can give birth to terrorism and religious fanaticism. The Muslim is averse to progress and bears a miserable existence and is unable to compete with the rest of the world.
This notion about Islam and Muslim aggravates the misconceptions regarding Islam in the West and contributes to deepening the chasm between the two civilizations. Most of Islamic critics condemn Naipauls thoughts about Islam saying that it is a matter of regret that a man like Naipaul with a huge intelligence and gifts has written such things, full of story after story illustrating the same thing again and again; and consequently the theme is rudimentary, primitive, unsatisfactory and concocted.
He never minds history, philosophy, politics and geography. This careless mentality begets a limitation of vision in his mind. His Islamophobia aggravates this limitation of vision. As a result, he becomes prejudiced against Islam, and this prejudice augments his misconceptions about Islam. Naipaul comes to analyse persons and personalities from religion and religious philosophies. His study of Gandhism also is very much important, his shifting of positions as insider outsider shows clearly that he.
Darkness, he says, India undid him, he became a Mahatma Gandhi. He shows us two different Gandhis in his work, one is the radical South African Gandhi and the other one who became Mahatma in India.
Naipaul devotes his deepest interest to Mahatma Gandhi, the most significant and reputable Indian spiritual leader and famous representative of Hinduism. Gandhi has a very specific role in An Area of Darkness, because of his western experience. The author uses Gandhi to show the contrast of western vision of India and the Indian perception of reality. Like Naipaul, Gandhi acquired a capability to see India with a western eye through his long residence abroad.
The whole Indian society is centred on Gandhi. Mahatma, great-souled, father of the nation, deified, his name is given to streets and parks and squares, honoured everywhere by statues and mandaps, he is nevertheless the least Indian of Indian leaders. He sees him as the greatest Indian reformer, who, having gained a western experience, could objectively perceive the reality in India and who felt a strong need for a change.
The first thing Gandhi noticed is the filth all around India. He was not blind to the poverty and dirt like other Indian people. He asserts that Instead of having graceful hamlets dotting the land, we have dung-heaps. By our bad habits we spoil our sacred river banks and furnish excellent breeding grounds for flies. The man who does not cover his waste deserves a heavy penalty even if he lives in a forest. Gandhis position in India is unique at least at the same level as is Naipauls.
As a young man Gandhi went to England to study at University and before he finally came back and settled in India, he spent twenty years in South Africa. His African experience is regarded as crucial in moulding Gandhis identity in positive fashion. Therefore, he looked at India as no Indian was able to; his vision was direct, and this directness, was, and is, revolutionary. He was able to see Indian inadequacies and also felt the need to reform India to be able to endure in modern world, because he never lost the critical comparing South African eye.
Gandhi supported many ideas that are typical of European countries and Naipaul praises him for this attitude, describing him as if he was not an Indian but a colonial blend of East and West [Gandhi] sees exactly what the visitor sees; he does not ignore the obvious.
He sees the beggars and the shameless pundits and the filth of Banaras; he sees the atrocious sanitary habits of doctors, lawyers and journalists.
He sees the Indian callousness, the Indian refusal to see. No Indian attitude escapes him, no Indian problem; he looks down to the roots of the static decayed society. In An Area of Darkness, Naipaul often uses words like mimic and mimicry to suggest imitation or copying of American or European civilization.
This appears similar to the usual nationalist complaint that the elite and bourgeoisie have cut themselves off from local or national traditions supposedly still practised by the people or folk.
Naipaul regards sentimentalizing of the past as reactionary, self-defeating, and contrary to the need for modernization; yet the modernization he wants must be different from aping of the west. He wants a will to change, an idea of the self, a purpose, an existential being which is authentic in evolving from past and the culture. Although his novel, the mimic men, is concerned with West Indian mimicry of the British it will question whether the ideal he seeks is possible and whether the solution he seeks for his feelings of alienation is in writing rather than being part of a larger, grander civilization.
The postulate of Bhabhas critique is that colonial mimicry is the desire for a reformed, recognizable Other, as a subject of a different that its almost the same, but not quite.
Naipaul states in his novel the mimic men,. We pretended to be real, to be learning, to be preparing ourselves for life, we mimic men of the New World, one unknown corner of it, with all its reminders of the corruption that came so quickly to the new Mimicry and repetition are the two narrative forms that Naipaul locks the colonial and postcolonial characters he creates and their respective situation into.
Writing is Naipauls religion. It is the only thing he has done throughout his life.
As his muse, it drives him and he is totally possessed by it since it is his way of being human in the world. To read Naipauls works is synonymous with reading his personal religious or philosophical worldview. Naipaul empowers himself through his writing. Like his father before him, he is seeking his own home in the world; he constructs a home for himself through his creative writing.
He constructs his own subjectivity via the powerful writing. Through the geographical imagination of his writing, Naipaul creates a home for himself.
He makes an effort to resist the sense of insecurity and of uncertainty. Naipaul, as an exiled writer, is Caught in-between: The query that can always be reiterated is the one that looks into the relationship that has developed between Naipaul as writer and Naipaulian world view.
Whether one is discomforted or illuminated by Naipauls investigations into the failure of modernity, the fact persists that his language, his style, his attention to form, and his expressive dimension have maintained a brilliance and mastery that have become landmarks in contemporary writing in English.
Naipaul embodies one of the possible paradox of postcolonial literature namely, the disjunction between the materiality of language and the materiality of history. Naipaul in An Area of Darkness cannot cope with the reality that he has to face being for the first time in the land of his forefathers. The real India fails to fulfil Naipauls expectations. He is absolutely disgusted by the appalling conditions in India. It is the country of dirt and dust. Naipaul's books are seen by critics as some of the finest expressions of the dilemmas and struggles of colonized people striving to make both their individual and social lives meaningful in a postcolonial context.
And they interpret Naipauls writings as prejudiced against the third world. He is, without any doubt, an amazing and beloved writer and such minor things do not have the potential to mar his reputation.
Landeg white, V. S Naipaul: A critical Introduction. Macmillan Press, , 2. University of Queensland Press. Gordon Rohler, the ironic approach: S Naipaul, Ed: London Oxford University Press, Austin Delany, Review: Mother India as Bitch Transition, Duke: U P, 26 John Keay, India: A History. Harper Perennial, , Naipaul V. S, An area of Darkness London: Andre Deutsch, , Sujit Bhosale, the article: Passion for Life S Naipaul, an Area of Darkness.
Penguin Books, , Sudha Rai, V. A Study in Expatriate Sensibility. He builds a scene of metaphysical loss as compelling as any Renaissance canvas of the expulsion from paradise. The pages about London glow, and bear comparison with anything that Naipaul has done.
Almost casually, but beautifully, achieved. A novel with a purpose. Through the evocation of three continents and several decades, without calling on public events and purely through the narrative of a life, V. Naipaul gives us a moral tale which captures the evanescence of our times. A writer whose world-view has been characterised by rigorous inquiry. A fascinating study.
Naipaul has thankfully lost none of his grace, style, or storytelling power in this beautiful novel. In Naipaul was awarded a Trinidad government scholarship to study invaluable early outlet for their work. It was while he was working for the BBC abroad and the following year left Trinidad to take up a place at University that Naipaul began to write stories for what was eventually to take shape as College, Oxford.
It was a wish come true. In an oft-quoted passage he records Miguel Street A publisher When I was in the fourth form I wrote a vow on the endpaper of my Kennedy's Revised was not, however, immediately forthcoming and it was only after the Latin Primer to leave within five years. I left after six; and for many years afterwards in publication of his first two novels, The Mystic Masseur and The Suffrage England, falling asleep in bedsitters with the electric fire on, I had been awakened by the of Elvira that Miguel Street found its way into print.
I' io these early books the colonial situation of the characters is for the most So, like the unnamed boy narrator of Miguel Street , Naipaul was able to part implicit, but it is nevertheless central to an understanding of their leave Trinidad through the escape route offered by a metropolitan education.
In Miguel Street the inhabitants of the fictional Port of Spain street which gives the book its title either imitate foreign role models or strive Yet the island society and, more specifically, his Hindu origins had left an to find a sense of identity through a macho ethic similar to that embodied indelible mark on him. At Oxford Naipaul read English, but was disappointed to find himself in calypso, Trinidad's most important folk narrative medium.
Yet they studying a syllabus 'seemingly aimed at juvenile antiquarians'. In The Mystic Masseur the narrative takes the distinguished himself at Oxford-l R R Tolkien, who was one of "his 13 form of a rogue's progress, as the picaroon hero gradually rises to the top of the examiners, rated his Anglo-Saxon translation the best of his year -he was society. In The Suffrage of Elvira the formula is reversed: Trinidad Publications, n. May , p As assert his independence to decolonise himself? He has paid through the nose for the seat and he wins it.
This, Two early attempts at buiJding his own house fail and, since throughout there Naipaul's dead-pan manner suggests, is the way things work in Trinidad. The lives-he breaks down when the first of these two houses is destroyed in a ground rules are clear enough.
The irony of this, Naipaul's most richly comic storm-the suggestion seems to be that he is not yet a sufficiently emancipated novel, emerges not from exposure of the characters' moral aberrations, but person to stand alone.
Finally he is duped into-paying too much for a jerry-built from the implicit suggestion that this is a society in which concepts of justice modern house where he dies at the age of forty-six. The wheel has come full and morality do not operate. Though travel journal, The Middle Passage , in which he writes about the Biswas has been cheated and though the expense and worry of the final house supremacy of the trickster figure in Trinidad and claims an affinity between: We lived in a have died 'unnecessary and unaccommodated'I?
For talent, a futility, the Trinidadian since he is accommodated both literally and metaphorically. The acquisition of substituted intrigue; and in the exercise of this, in small things as well as large, he the final house may be seen as representing a partial freedom, a limited became a master.
By Naipaul's British reputation was already considerable. He was the After completing A House for Mr Biswas, Naipaul was awarded a author of three successful books, two of which won prizes, and he had been three-month scholarship by the Trinidad and Tobago government, which reviewing fiction for the New Statesman since He was, however, still enabled him to return to Trinidad.
While he was there, the Prime Minister and struggling to make a living as a writer. He was hard at work on A House for Mr distinguished West Indian historian, Dr Eric Williams, suggested that he Biswas, his longest novel and the work which many critics regard as his should write a book about the Caribbean, and the scholarship was extended to masterpiece.
Naipaul spent a total of seven Mr Biswas is both a minutely circumstantial account of an individual life and months travelling in the Caribbean, visiting Dutch and French societies as well a novel which may be read as an allegory of the East Indian's situation in as other Anglophone territories.
The Middle Passage, the first of Naipaul's Trinidad, or of the colonial predicament more generally. Naipaul has described many non-fiction works, was the result of these travels.
The book; is as much a the colonial mentality as a kind of existentialist impotence, a condition in which social investigation as a traveller's journal and throughout it demonstrates a the individual feels powerless to exercise freedom of choice: While the section Itis to have all decisions on British Guiana Guyana is the longest, the Trinidad chapter looms largest, about major issues taken out of one's hands.
It is to feel that one's political status has for here Naipaul is writing as much from past experience as from his present been settled so finally that there is very little one can do in the world.!
From early on in his life Mohun Biswas is a victim of this condition; he feels a Yet it is forbidden to talk,'20 and 'Like monkeys pleading for evolution, each sense of displacement and resolves to own a house of his own. The succession of claiming to be better than the other, Indians and Negroes appeal to the houses in which he lives-mostly as a tenant-forms a structural pattern which unacknowledged white audience to see how much they despise each other.
I', ibid. London , 30 July , p The hierarchical division of Hearne, who raises the charge of negrophobia, 22 Outside the Trinidad chapter, labour occasioned by the caste system, the Indian lack of a sense of history and the writing is more matter-of-fact and, while the remainder of the work is not the conflicts he finds between Hindu, tenets on cleanliness and the omnipresent without its moments of waspish satire, it lacks the vitriolic and tendentious excrement he sees are all particular objects of his irony.
Though Naipaul may quality of this section. He has always felt it the doctrine that says that one's fate in life is determined by one's behaviour in necessary to be physically absent from the places he is treating in his fiction and previous incarnations. Naipaul sees it as a paralysing, defeating philosophy, while in India he wrote his only novel with an entirely English setting and which induces a quietism that precludes Western-style self-realisation and protagonist, Mr Stone and the Knights Companion Despite the change progress.
Throughout, however, he emerges. Like these two novels, it is a fable about cultural identity traveller and this has the effect of undermining the credibility of his reportage. P see the Shiva lingam in the Cave of Amarnath.
Disgusted by the insanitary In a interview Naipaul said: His Muslim In writing my first four or five books including books which perhaps people think of as companion returns to say that no lingam has formed this year, but this does not my big books I was simply recording my reactions to the world; I hadn't come to any obviate the fact that Naipaul has declined to encounter the symbol of the Hindu conclusions about it.
But since then, through my writing, through the effort continuity. He remains a spectator, retaining an aura of detachment through honestly to respond, I have begun to have ideas about the world. I have begun to non-participation. It is an attitude which is close to the karma-induced analyse. Never having and self-inquiry, that I see how much this philosophy has also been mine. He came Naipaul's later work.
Towards the end of his time in East Africa, Naipaul lived in a hotel in A colonial in the double sense of one who had grown up in a Crown colony and one who western Kenya. I had imagined that in some ways the largeness The Mimic Men is another major exploration of the colonial of the land would be reflected in the attitudes of the people. I have found