Cry of an Exile: A Study of Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas

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Joylal Das


S. Naipaul’s magnum opus, A House for Mr Biswas, presents communities being moulded and transferred by larger Socio-cultural forces. The life of its protagonist Mohun Biswas, is the story of the Indian Immigrant’s dilemma. It is the tale of an exile’s desire to strike roots and attain an authentic selfhood. Side by side the portraying of the personal life of the protagonist, the novel also tells the ethnic and social history of a community, its acculturation to an alien society and acquisition of a social identity. Though V. S. Naipaul has been seen by most of his critics as an occupant of ‘No Man’s land’, Mohan Biswas, his hero of A House for Mr Biswas, shows a fervent desire – a desire which is paradoxically associated with diasporic journeys – to settle down in a foreign land which, in spite of being his birth place, appears, at least initially, strange and hostile to him. In fact the house, which has been interpreted in various ways by different critics, could well be seen as an objectification of this desire of Mr. Biswas. The story of Mr. Biswas – his incessant search for identity and the desire to own a house of his own- actually represents the story of all Trinidad-born Indians in the first half of twentieth century which saw the birth of a new nation.


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Joylal Das. “Cry of an Exile: A Study of Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 2, no. 3, Aug. 2017, pp. 95-101,
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