UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Theme of rootlessness in West Indian fiction Jibodh, Cheryl Indra 1973

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CI THE  THEME  OF  ROOTLESSNESS  IN WEST  INDIAN  FICTION  by CHERYL INDRA JIBODH B.A., H o l l i n s C o l l e g e , V i r g i n i a ,  1970  A Thesis Submitted i n P a r t i a l F u l f i l m e n t o f The Requirements F o r The Degree o f Master  of  Arts  i n t h e Department o f English  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o t h e required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1973  In presenting  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the require-  ments f o r an advanced degree a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . mission f o r extensive  I f u r t h e r agree t h a t  per-  copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y  purposes may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my Department o r by h i s representatives.  I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l  g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  Department o f E n g l i s h The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 6% Canada  Date  . .4 . . 0. f ^ W j . I ?.T "?> r  ABSTRACT T h i s t h e s i s acknowledges that a combination o f c i r cumstances has produced i n the West I n d i e s an almost whollyimmigrant p o p u l a t i o n whose fundamental c o n d i t i o n i s one o f rootlessness.  I t attempts t o show t h a t r o o t l e s s n e s s  manifests  i t s e l f n e g a t i v e l y i n the l i t e r a t u r e i n an i n a b i l i t y t o r e g a r d the West I n d i e s as home, i n the p l a c e l e s s n e s s t h a t i s brought about by e m i g r a t i o n ,  i n an u n c e r t a i n t y as t o i d e n t i t y ,  giances and o r i g i n s , and i n an e x i s t e n t i a l  alle-  self-alienation  produced by a c c u l t u r a t i o n . Chapter One i s a s e l e c t i v e account o f r e l e v a n t h i s t o r i c a l and s o c i o l o g i c a l data t h a t demonstrates how the cond i t i o n o f r o o t l e s s n e s s and the accompanying f e e l i n g o f l o s s and d e p r i v a t i o n arose.  I t ends by t r y i n g t o draw a p a r a l l e l  between t h e p a r t i c u l a r West I n d i a n c o n d i t i o n o f r o o t l e s s n e s s that sprang from a s l a v e s o c i e t y and e x i s t e n t i a l as g e n e r a l l y understood by Western  rootlessness  philosophy.  Chapters Two, Three and Four are s t u d i e s o f s e l e c t e d prose t e x t s which t r e a t t h i s theme. according to t h e i r s e t t i n g .  The t e x t s are grouped  Chapter Two attempts a d e t a i l e d  a n a l y s i s o f t h r e e novels s e t i n the West I n d i e s which d e p i c t the r o o t l e s s n e s s o f an i n d i v i d u a l or s e c t o r o f s o c i e t y a g a i n s t a l a r g e r uncreated  society.  They r e f l e c t  two fundamental  r e a c t i o n s t o the c o n d i t i o n o f r o o t l e s s n e s s —  r e f u s a l t o come  to terms w i t h t h e environment, and i t s o p p o s i t e , the attempt to ground one's e x i s t e n c e m e a n i n g f u l l y .  The novels t h a t have  iv  been selected are:  Patterson s The Children of Sisyphus, 1  Naipaul*s A House For Mr. Biswas and Lamming*s Season of Adventure. The world of the immigrant i s explored i n Chapter Three.  Austin Clarke*s The Meeting Point i s set i n Canada  while Seivon s The Lonely Londoners and Salkey*s The Adventures 1  of Catullus Kelly are set i n England.  In these novels, the  characters are cut a d r i f t of any moorings and t h e i r rootlessness exacerbated i n an even more a l i e n environment i n which they are t o t a l l y disoriented. The Afro/Asian/European search f o r origins i n the ancestral homeland and the chasm that separates the West Indian from h i s origins form the subject of Chapter Four.  Naipaul*s  Area of Darkness, Dennis Williams* Other Leopards, and Jean Rhys* Wide Sargasso Sea and Voyage In The Dark demonstrate the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of return, and the i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y of the two worlds and the s e n s i b i l i t i e s born of them.  (Supervisor)  V  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter  I II  III IV  Page  A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND  1  A WEST INDIAN SETTING  23  THE  57  IMMIGRANT  THE AFRO/ASIAN/EUROPEAN SEARCH FOR  A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY  ORIGINS  85  126  CHAPTER 1 A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND There a r e s e v e r a l f a c t o r s i n West I n d i a n h i s t o r y w h i c h have i n f l u e n c e d t h e l i t e r a t u r e .  I f we t a k e i t t h a t t h e  l i t e r a t u r e o f a s o c i e t y i s a s e n s i t i v e gauge o f i t s i n n e r t e n s i o n s , i t becomes o b v i o u s t h a t West I n d i a n l i t e r a t u r e i s l a r g e l y p r e o c c u p i e d by a West I n d i a n c o n d i t i o n o f r o o t l e s s n e s s . The most b a s i c r e a s o n i s t h a t t h e s o c i e t y i s an almost immigrant s o c i e t y ( t h a t • i m m i g r a t i o n *  wholly  b e i n g a f o r c e d one f o r  t h e m a j o r i t y ) t h a t has n o t y e t sunk i n t o i t s l a n d s c a p e n o r found t h a t i t can c l a i m i t f u l l y .  Naipaul*s  v i s i o n o f West  I n d i a n man i s o f "A d e r e l i c t man i n a d e r e l i c t l a n d  ... l o s t  i n a l a n d s c a p e which has never ceased t o be u n r e a l because the scene o f an e n f o r c e d  and always temporary  residence."^  The f e e l i n g o f l o s s and d i s p l a c e m e n t i s a c c e n t u a t e d by one o f c u l t u r a l l o s s ; t h e c u l t u r e i s borrowed and t h e v a l u e s  imported  l i k e a commodity. The p l a n t o c r a t i c p o l i c y o f e x p e d i e n c y and t h e system o f s l a v e r y have c r e a t e d a West I n d i a n m e n t a l i t y o f l i v i n g only f o r the present,  and t h e C o l o n i a l p o l i c y o f i n -  s u l a r i t y has e x a c e r b a t e d t h e absence o f u n i t y and t h e f e e l i n g of not belonging.  L a s t l y , B r i t a i n * s abandonment o f t h e t e r -  r i t o r i e s has l e f t t h e p e o p l e s a t t h e mercy o f economic f o r c e s , thus g i v i n g r i s e t o emigration  and f u r t h e r r o o t l e s s n e s s .  The unique f o u n d a t i o n  o f West I n d i a n s o c i e t y and t h e  c h a i n o f e v e n t s i t s e t i n motion i s s u c c i n c t l y e x p r e s s e d by 1  2  Orlando  Patterson:  J a m a i c a , and t h e o t h e r West I n d i a n I s l a n d s , a r e u n i q u e i n W o r l d h i s t o r y i n t h a t t h e y p r e s e n t one o f t h e r a r e c a s e s o f a human s o c i e t y b e i n g a r t i f i c i a l l y c r e a t e d f o r t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n o f one c l e a r l y d e f i n e d g o a l : t h a t o f making money t h r o u g h t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f sugar.2 I t has been e s t i m a t e d  t h a t d u r i n g t h e whole o f t h e European  s l a v e t r a d e , a q u a r t e r o f which was c o n c e n t r a t e d  i n t h e West  I n d i e s , no more t h a n 20,000,000 A f r i c a n s were s o l d out o f Africa.^  The Europeans, i n t h e i r c a p a c i t y as s l a v e and p l a n -  t a t i o n owners and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e o f f i c i a l s l a r g e l y made up the r e s t o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n u n t i l t h e l a s t wave o f i m m i g r a t i o n , when A s i a t i c s were i m p o r t e d t o supplement t h e l a b o u r  force  a f t e r emancipation.  The n a t i v e I n d i a n s h a v i n g been almost  wholly  the society i s therefore a transplanted,  exterminated,  heterogenous, immigrant s o c i e t y t h a t was n o t founded on any principles. Conditions  i n t h e West I n d i e s -- t h e h a r s h c l i m a t e ,  the t r o p i c a l d i s e a s e s , t h e d e m o r a l i s i n g  effect of slavery,  the s t e r i l i t y o f s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l i n t e r c o u r s e and t h e u n s e t t l e d c h a r a c t e r o f t h e i s l a n d s , made them a p l a c e o f e x i l e . The  Europeans c o n s e q u e n t l y l o o k e d  to the metropolitan  countries  as home and r e g a r d e d t h e c o l o n i e s as a p l a c e where money was t o be made —  as t h e h i g h r a t e o f a b s e n t e e i s m t e s t i f i e s .  The  p a t r i a r c h a l system o f p l a n t e r s h i p t h e r e f o r e f a i l e d t o t a k e s t r o n g r o o t i n t h e West I n d i e s . ^  Some p l a n t e r s u n d o u b t e d l y  f e l t a permanent attachment f o r t h e i r adopted homes, but t h e m a j o r i t y who r e s i d e d t h e r e d i d so because they c o u l d n o t a f f o r d t o l i v e abroad.  Those who c o u l d , l e f t a f t e r making a f o r t u n e .  3  T h e i r a t t i t u d e has t h e r e f o r e had a p r o f o u n d e f f e c t on t h e course o f t h e West I n d i e s .  A nineteenth  century-  v i s i t o r , S e w e l l , observed t h a t "The p l a n t o c r a c y o f o t h e r days were not t o o d e e p l y  i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e permanent  prosper-  i t y o f t h e i s l a n d s , o r t o o w i l l i n g t o expend a p o r t i o n o f t h e i r revenues i n i n v e s t m e n t t h a t promised no immediate return."^  He was a s t o n i s h e d a t t h e i r u t t e r d i s r e g a r d o f t h e  b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s o f e c o n o m i c a l s c i e n c e . They were n o t o r i o u s l y r e s i s t a n t t o change and f o r a l o n g t i m e r a n t h e i r e s t a t e s w i t h out r e g a r d t o l a b o u r - s a v i n g d e v i c e s , s o i l c h e m i s t r y , rotation.  Their shortsightedness  negroes was worse:  o r crop  i n t h e i r dealings with the  "They do not seem t o r e f l e c t f o r a moment  t h a t t h e i n t e r e s t s o f a p r o p r i e t o r i s t o e l e v a t e , not t o degrade, h i s l a b o u r e r . " ^ The consequences o f a b s e n t e e i s m were d i s a s t r o u s : No c o u n t r y , s i n c e t h e w o r l d was made, were i t s r e sources t e n f o l d g r e a t e r than those of Jamaica, c o u l d c o n t i n u e t o p r o s p e r w i t h t h e l a r g e body o f i t s l a n d e d p r o p r i e t a r y permanent absentees ... and even t h o s e who were n o m i n a l l y r e s i d e n t s u s u a l l y passed h a l f t h e y e a r i n Europe and spent t h e i r money t h e r e . ' 7  I n t h e s e v e n t e e n t h and e i g h t e e n t h  centuries, lucrative  posts  i n J a m a i c a were o f t e n h e l d by a b s e n t e e s who farmed them out t o d e p u t i e s who f u r t h e r farmed them out t o s u b - d e p u t i e s .  The  c h i l d r e n o f p l a n t e r s r e s i d e n t i n Jamaica were sent abroad f o r education  and seldom r e t u r n e d .  C h i l d r e n were p r o v i d e d  with  a n n u i t i e s charged t o t h e e s t a t e s and had no f i r s t - h a n d connect i o n s w i t h t h e s o u r c e o f t h e i r income.  Between 1625 and 1 7 9 2 ,  o f 370 w i l l s r e l a t i n g t o Jamaica a b s t r a c t e d , 142 t e s t a t o r s were r e s i d e n t i n E n g l a n d and 133 i n Jamaica.9  Jamaican  4  e s t a t e s went i n almost e v e r y case t o r e l a t i v e s i n England who would most l i k e l y put them i n charge o f a t t o r n e y s , t h e r e b y compounding t h e s i t u a t i o n .  By t h e end o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h  c e n t u r y , when t h e system was c o l l a p s i n g , a l a r g e number o f i n d e b t e d e s t a t e s were f o r e c l o s e d by E n g l i s h c r e d i t o r s had no i n t e n t i o n o f l i v i n g on t h e i s l a n d .  who  One o b s e r v e r ,  w r i t i n g s i x t e e n years a f t e r the a b o l i t i o n of s l a v e r y , estimated t h a t n i n e - t e n t h s o f t h e l a n d under c u l t i v a t i o n b e f o r e emancip a t i o n was owned by a b s e n t e e s . T h e s e f a c t s demonstrate the e x t e n t t o which E n g l a n d was r e g a r d e d as home, t h e consequent o r i e n t a t i o n o f the e n t i r e s o c i e t y towards E n g l a n d , and t h e temporary n a t u r e o f t h e E u r o p e a n s West I n d i a n r e s i d e n c e , a l l T  t o t h e d e t r i m e n t o f t h e c o l o n i e s which were p u r e l y a means t o quick fortunes.  These f a c t o r s n a t u r a l l y p r e v e n t e d t h e  i m p a r t i n g o f a s e t t l e d c h a r a c t e r t o the i s l a n d s .  In addition,  Jamaica, e s p e c i a l l y , was always d r a i n e d o f t h e p e o p l e needed for leadership.  The sense o f c u l t u r a l l o s s i s t h e r e f o r e s h a r p e r  i n Jamaica t h a n i n T r i n i d a d where t h e r e were S p a n i s h , F r e n c h and E n g l i s h s e t t l e r s who m a i n t a i n e d an a c t i v e i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r cultures.  T h i s c o u l d account f o r t h e Jamaican i s o l a t i o n i s t and  i n s u l a r a t t i t u d e , f o r t h e p o p u l a r i t y t h e r e o f minor r e l i g i o u s s e c t s w h i c h presumably f i l l  an e m o t i o n a l need, and f o r t h e  extreme w i t h d r a w a l f r o m Jamaican s o c i e t y o f t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s who  r e g a r d E t h i o p i a as t h e i r t r u e home, J a m a i c a a k i n d o f h e l l  t h e y must endure f o r t h e i r s i n s .  They meet r e j e c t i o n w i t h  rejection. W h i l e t h e i d e a o f E n g l a n d e x i s t e d whole i n the minds  5  o f t h e p l a n t o c r a c y , t h e i d e a o f A f r i c a was t a r n i s h e d f o r t h e negroes.  Although  t h e m i s s i o n a r i e s must be c r e d i t e d w i t h  t r y i n g t o improve t h e c o n d i t i o n o f t h e s l a v e s and t o f i l l an emotional  v o i d i n t h e i r l i v e s , t h e y a l s o share some o f t h e  blame f o r t e a c h i n g t h e negro s e l f - c o n t e m p t African heritage.  They regarded  by d e v a l u i n g t h e  the African c u l t u r a l  as a r e l i c o f h e a t h e n i s m and t r i e d t o s u p p r e s s i t . converted,  tradition  Among t h e  s a i d one m i s s i o n a r y , "The H a n k e r i n g a f t e r t h e v a i n  T r a d i t i o n s o f t h e i r F o r e - f a t h e r s i s a l r e a d y c o n s i d e r e d as a f a l l i n g o f f i n t h a t Love t o t h e L o r d J e s u s and h i s D o c t r i n e s , w h i c h once prompted them t o f o r s a k e a l l u n g o d l i n e s s and devote t h e m s e l v e s t o G o d . "  11  And y e t i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t  t h e y s t r o n g l y r e i n f o r c e d t h e s l a v e system by s t r e s s i n g t h e v i r t u e s o f obedience and s u b m i s s i o n  without  questioning the  m o r a l i t y o f t h e i n s t i t u t i o n i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e ; acceptance o f the s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e and support  f o r i t s p r i n c i p l e s o f sub-  o r d i n a t i o n was t h e p r i c e t h e y were prepared  t o pay.  With the  m i s s i o n a r i e s o p e n l y a n t a g o n i s t i c t o t h e A f r i c a n t r a d i t i o n , and the p l a n t e r s i n d i f f e r e n t , contemptuous, o r d e t e r m i n e d t o d e s t r o y any s i g n s o f s o l i d a r i t y among t h e s l a v e s by s p l i t t i n g up f a m i l i e s o r t r i b e s t h a t spoke t h e same language and had t h e same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , w i t h t h e E n g l i s h o r i e n t a t i o n o f t h e s o c i e t y and t h e d e v a l u a t i o n o f A f r i c a , A f r i c a n s u r v i v a l s were few.  S l a v e r y f l o u r i s h e d on t h e absence o f moral and e t h i c a l  standards  and on t h e absence o f v a l u e s , and t h e r e f o r e made  a n y t h i n g p o s i t i v e , u s e l e s s and m e a n i n g l e s s , hence t h e complete breakdown o f A f r i c a n t r i b a l f o r m s , t h e f a m i l y u n i t , codes o f  6  b e h a v i o r and A f r i c a n forms o f t e c h n o l o g y , economic l i f e and political  organization. E a s t I n d i a n s , who made up t h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e p o s t -  emancipation indentured  l a b o u r e r s , were t h e most r e c e n t mass  a d d i t i o n t o t h e m e l t i n g pot -- t h e l a s t boat a r r i v e d i n 1917 and  they c l u n g t o t h e i d e a o f I n d i a as t h e m o t h e r - l a n d .  s t i l l do.  In roughly  eighty years,  —  Many  54&%000 I n d i a n s went t o  t h e West I n d i e s and s e t t l e d m a i n l y i n Guyana and T r i n i d a d . They were i n i t i a l l y committed t o a f i v e - y e a r t e r m o f  indentured  l a b o u r , a t t h e end o f which t h e y were g u a r a n t e e d a f r e e r e t u r n passage.  They proved t o be a t r a c t a b l e and d o c i l e l a b o u r  f o r c e w i t h a s t r o n g attachment f o r t h e l a n d , but t h e e a r l i e s t ones r e g a r d e d t h e i r p e r i o d o f s e r v i c e as a temporary one and many t o o k advantage o f t h e f r e e r e t u r n passage. initial  Their  strong  r e s i s t a n c e t o s e t t l i n g down may have been due t o a  number o f r e a s o n s .  One w r i t e r s u g g e s t s t h a t , "Owing t o t h e  l i m i t e d compounds o f t h e human p e r s o n a l i t y , some men  wither  when t h e y a r e u p r o o t e d ... t h e r e a r e human b e i n g s i n a l l s o c i e t i e s who do not have t h e e m o t i o n a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l  reserves  t o adapt t h e m s e l v e s t o new and t r y i n g c o n d i t i o n s . " " ^  A more  l i k e l y explanation  i s t h a t t h e y r e s i s t e d a c c u l t u r a t i o n because  t h e y came from an a n c i e n t  c u l t u r e , a h i g h l y organised  society  t h a t was r i g i d l y s t r a t i f i e d i n t o a c a s t e system which governed e v e r y a c t o f s o c i a l i n t e r c o u r s e and man»s p l a c e i n s o c i e t y . S e c o n d l y , r e l i g i o n was a way o f l i f e t o them, n o t an appendix to i t . one,  F i n a l l y , t h e i r c u l t u r e i s an e s s e n t i a l l y c o n s e r v a t i v e  and t h e y had two b i n d i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s t o u n i f y them --  7  the extended f a m i l y and the v i l l a g e u n i t . f r e e r e t u r n passage was Indian immigration  had  I n a d d i t i o n , the  u n d o u b t e d l y a major r e a s o n why  early  such a t r a n s i t o r y , impermanent  nature.  As l o n g as the p o s s i b i l i t y of r e t u r n i n g t o I n d i a e x i s t e d , t h e immigrant would not a c q u i r e  s e t t l e d h a b i t s and t h e r e would  an almost complete r e t e n t i o n o f t h e i r n a t i v e c u l t u r e .  be  An e a r l y  o b s e r v e r commented: These A s i a t i c s s t i l l adhere t o t h e i r own p e c u l i a r h a b i t s and c r e e d s ; t h e y even c o n t i n u e , w i t h r a r e e x c e p t i o n s , t o wear t h e i r c o u n t r y costume, and but few have become c o n v e r t s t o C h r i s t i a n i t y .... They are t h u s n a t u r a l l y l e d t o r e t a i n most o f t h o s e h a b i t s w h i c h t h e y expect t o resume i n f u l l f o r c e on r e v i s i t i n g t h e i r native land.-^ To a n o t h e r t h e y l o o k e d  l i k e "a t r i b e o f m i g r a t i n g  hordes." '' 1  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t when t h e I n d i a n High Commissioner f i r s t a r r i v e d i n T r i n i d a d i n 1951,  many I n d i a n s were d i s a p p o i n t e d  to  f i n d out t h a t he had not come t o arrange t h e i r r e p a t r i a t i o n 16 back t o I n d i a as t h e y had hoped. out o f a t o t a l o f 2,448 who India.  I n f a c t , as l a t e as  came t o T r i n i d a d , 726  1908,  returned  to  1 7  Indian immigration character.  The  eventually acquired  t u r n i n g p o i n t was  a more s e t t l e d  t h e 1860's when added i n c e n -  t i v e s t o s t a y i n g were o f f e r e d by t h e p l a n t e r s who s e e i n g them r e t u r n a f t e r t h e y had l a n d was  o f f e r e d t o t h o s e who  despaired  f i n a l l y adjusted.  w i s h e d t o remain.  of  Crown  By the  l860*s  t h e y began t o s e t t l e down i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l a r e a s near t h e estates.  They a c q u i r e d more s t a b l e h a b i t s and  r e v i v e d t h e i r s k i l l s and  institutions,  engaged i n a g r i c u l t u r e .  n a t u r e of t h e i r a d a p t a t i o n  But  the  i s s i g n i f i c a n t , r e v e a l i n g the  extent  8  t o which t h e y were s t i l l o r i e n t e d towards I n d i a .  They t r a n s -  p l a n t e d whole, many o f t h e i n s t i t u t i o n s w i t h which t h e y were familiar.  "Here t h e I n d i a n s e s t a b l i s h e d themselves i n much  t h e same way  as i n I n d i a .  They b u i l t t h e same t y p e o f houses,  wore the same t y p e o f c l o t h e s , spoke the same language and s h i p p e d t h e same Gods i n t h e same k i n d s o f t e m p l e s . " Area o f Darkness, N a i p a u l c a p t u r e s w e l l t h e complete  In transfer-  ence t h e I n d i a n community i n t h e West I n d i e s made and the sequent  wor-  sub-  Wholeness* the idea of I n d i a represented:  More t h a n i n p e o p l e , I n d i a l a y about us i n t h i n g s ; i n a s t r i n g bed o r two ... i n innumerable b r a s s v e s s e l s , i n wooden p r i n t i n g b l o c k s ... i n drums and one r u i n e d harmonium; i n b r i g h t l y c o l o u r e d p i c t u r e s o f d e i t i e s on p i n k l o t u s o r r a d i a n t a g a i n s t Himalayan snow; and i n a l l t h e p a r a p h e r n a l i a o f the. p r a y e r room .... I n i t s a r t e f a c t s I n d i a e x i s t e d whole i n Trinidad. . 1 9  The f o u r t h s i g n i f i c a n t s e c t o r o f s o c i e t y i n terms of t h i s study, i s the mulatto or coloured. emblematic  T h e i r dilemma i s  o f t h e g e n e r a l West I n d i a n one o f l o o k i n g both ways,  of b e i n g caught between t r a d i t i o n s .  They were an i n t e r m e d i a t e  c l a s s i n s l a v e s o c i e t y and had more p r i v i l e g e s t h a n the pure negroes.  They were house s l a v e s r a t h e r than f i e l d s l a v e s .  In  time t h e y became a t h r e a t t o the w h i t e s because t h e y had t h e b a s i s f o r the f o r m a t i o n o f a m i d d l e c l a s s , because t h e y were on t h e n u m e r i c a l i n c r e a s e , and because t h e y had e s t a b l i s h e d thems e l v e s f i n a n c i a l l y , many o f them h a v i n g been l e f t generous beq u e s t s by w h i t e f a t h e r s .  By t h e t i m e o f e m a n c i p a t i o n , t h e y  were w e l l o f f and ready t o assume the r o l e o f l e a d e r s h i p and t h e gap l e f t by t h e w h i t e s .  fill  They have always been c h a r a c t e r i s e d  9 (and s t e r e o t y p e d )  by t h e i r r e j e c t i o n  of t h e i r p a r t - n e g r o 20  a n c e s t r y and t h e i r d e s i r e t o become w h i t e . 1  To r e c a p i t u l a t e ,  the homelands they l e f t  behind  e x e r t e d t h e s t r o n g e s t h o l d on the I n d i a n and E n g l i s h i m a g i n a t i o n and e x i s t e d whole i n t h e i r minds. t r a n s i e n c e t o t h e i r West I n d i a n l i f e .  T h i s gave a  The  certain  c o l o u r e d s were  d i r e c t l y caught between A f r i c a and England and s t r o v e t o be E n g l i s h , denying t h e i r c o n n e c t i o n s w i t h A f r i c a . had  c o n t r a c t e d t h e b i a s e s and p r e f e r e n c e s  but were t o t a l l y e x c l u d e d t i m e A f r i c a was  The  negroes  of t h e i r masters  f r o m t h e i r w o r l d w h i l e a t the same  d e v a l u e d i n t h e i r eyes.  N a i p a u l quotes f r o m T r o l l o p e who  I n The  Middle  Passage,  v i s i t e d the West I n d i e s i n  1860: But how s t r a n g e i s t h e r a c e o f c r e o l e Negroes .... They have no c o u n t r y o f t h e i r own, y e t t h e y have not h i t h e r t o any c o u n t r y o f a d o p t i o n . They have no language o f t h e i r own, nor have they as y e t any language o f t h e i r a d o p t i o n .... They have no i d e a o f c o u n t r y , and no p r i d e o f r a c e .... The West I n d i a n negro knows n o t h i n g of A f r i c a except t h a t i t i s a term of reproach. I f A f r i c a n immigrants are put t o work on the same.estate w i t h him, he w i l l not eat w i t h them, o r w a l k w i t h them. He w i l l h a r d l y work b e s i d e them, and r e g a r d s h i m s e l f as a c r e a t u r e immeasurably the s u p e r i o r of t h e newcomer. (M.P.,66) S l a v e s o c i e t y w i t h i t s p o l a r i t i e s o f power on the hand and t o t a l s u b j e c t i o n on the o t h e r , i t s d e v a l u a t i o n of and i t s e r o s i o n o f d i g n i t y , an o b j e c t . p h e r a l man history. was  one life  reduced the s l a v e t o the s t a t u s o f  N a i p a u l ' s s e n s i t i v i t y t o the f i g u r e  of the  peri-  can perhaps be t r a c e d t o t h i s f a c t o f West I n d i a n Under t h e s l a v e system, t h e p l a c e of the  individual  d e t e r m i n e d by h i s s t a t u s ; the s t a t u s o f the s l a v e  was  c h a r a c t e r i s e d by s u b o r d i n a t i o n and l a c k o f r i g h t s .  His  s o c i a l p o s i t i o n was determined by t h e f a c t t h a t he was regarded (and d e s i g n a t e d ) , p r i m a r i l y as p r o p e r t y .  Clause Four o f the  Act o f 1674 enacted t h a t , " A l l Negroes l a w f u l l y bought as bondslaves  s h a l l here c o n t i n u e t o be so and f u r t h e r be h e l d  and judged and t a k e n t o be goods and c h a t t e l s and ought t o come t o t h e hands o f E x e c u t o r s  ... as o t h e r a s s e t s do."  The  s l a v e system depended f o r i t s v e r y e x i s t e n c e on a d e n i a l o f t h e humanness o f t h e slave*, t h e r e f o r e t o ensure i t s c o n t i n u a n c e , the s l a v e s were s t r i p p e d o f l e g a l r i g h t s , robbed o f s e l f r e s p e c t and made t o work l i k e a n i m a l s .  They were " a herd o f  the human s p e c i e s reduced t o t h e most a b j e c t s t a t e o f m i s e r y , c o n s i d e r e d , even by themselves,  as an i n f e r i o r o r d e r o f b e i n g  23  i n the scale of c r e a t i o n . "  J  A sense o f b e l o n g i n g t o a l a r g e r West I n d i a n community might have o f f s e t some o f t h e s e group a t t i t u d e s and r e l i e v e d the slave*s t o t a l i s o l a t i o n w i t h i n slave s o c i e t y , but t h e r e has never been a West I n d i a n community.  The g e n e r a l  aimlessness that i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the i n d i v i d u a l i s l a n d s , r e f l e c t e d i n the i n s u l a r , i s o l a t i o n i s t a t t i t u d e that p r e v a i l s , i s a d i r e c t i n h e r i t a n c e from the B r i t i s h p o l i c y o f keeping the i n d i v i d u a l i s l a n d s separate i n s p i t e of t h e i r  geographical  proximity. At t h e end o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , most o f t h e West I n d i a n t e r r i t o r i e s shared c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which a t once u n i t e d and d i v i d e d them. They were, almost w i t h o u t e x c e p t i o n , i n s u l a r c o l o n i e s o f European S t a t e s , and t h e m a j o r i t y o f them had b u i l t up an economic and s o c i a l o r g a n i s a t i o n based on p l a n t a t i o n and Negro s l a v e r y and dependent f o r  11  i t s v e r y e x i s t e n c e on e x t e r n a l t r a d e , c r e d i t , and f o r c e . But t h e s e g e n e r a l f e a t u r e s o f resemblance had l e d t o t h e development o f complex t i e s w i t h the European i m p e r i a l powers w h i c h c o m p l e t e l y o v e r shadowed i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s among t h e c o l o n i e s themselves T h e i r p o l i t i c a l dependence on t h e 'mother-country* was s t r o n g l y r e i n f o r c e d by t h e i r v e s t e d i n t e r e s t i n b u i l d i n g up p r o t e c t e d markets and a c c e s s t o c a p i t a l r e s o u r c e s t h e r e , by t h e i r need f o r m i l i t a r y p r o t e c t i o n ... and by the h a b i t s o f i s o l a t i o n and the l a c k o f o r g a n i z a t i o n p r e v a i l i n g among them.^4 I t i s i r o n i c , and perhaps sad, t h a t t h i s s t i l l l a t e as August 1,  1973,  applies.  As  at the s i g n i n g o f a " C a r i b b e a n Community  T r e a t y " , by t h e heads o f J a m a i c a , Barbados, T r i n i d a d and Tobago and Guyana, Dr. E r i c W i l l i a m s , a n o t e d h i s t o r i a n and  Prime  M i n i s t e r o f T r i n i d a d and Tobago remarked, " I t remains t o  be  seen whether c e n t u r i e s o f i n d i v i d u a l i s m can be b u r i e d i n  one  decade o f  co-operation.!?^ C o l o n i a l i s m ^ b e i n g t h e e x p l o i t a t i o n o f one u n i t f o r  t h e advantage o f a n o t h e r ,  i t was  t o the advantage o f B r i t a i n  t o p l a y one u n i t o f f a g a i n s t a n o t h e r , r i v a l r y and t o c r e a t e d i s u n i t y . v a l u e as such.  The  to foster a s p i r i t c o l o n i e s had no  intrinsic  They were v a l u a b l e o n l y i n t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h  t h e y b e n e f i t t e d B r i t a i n , and her a t t i t u d e was  governed by a  c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e p o l i t i c a l , economic o r s t r a t e g i c o f each c o l o n y .  ( E r i c W i l l i a m s has  shown how  importance  the wealth  her West I n d i a n c o l o n i e s f i n a n c e d B r i t a i n ' s I n d u s t r i a l  The  of  s m a l l i s l a n d s , f o r example, were c o n s i d e r e d  u s e f u l as pawns i n t r e a t i e s .  Or, as was  from Revolu-  to  be  the case w i t h Tobago  w h i c h no one wanted t o d e v e l o p or d e f e n d (nor d i d t h e y want  anyone else t o ) , there was a t a c i t agreement that the small or neutral islands should be waste lands.27 i s s t i l l undeveloped.  A s  a  r e  s u l t , Tobago  As f o r the planters, they regarded  the  small islands as unwelcome competitors f o r labour and f o r the sugar market.  I t was therefore to the interest of both Home  Governments and planters to strangle the small islands.  Today,  they are the poorest ones. This i n s u l a r attitude prevails today i n the i n t e r i s l a n d deprecation.  "Each i s l a n d d i s t r u s t s i t s neighbours,  a r i v a l r y that has i t s h i s t o r i c a l roots i n the t r a d i t i o n a l fear that the planter class of one island had of competition from i t s neighbours."28  <phe break-up of the West Indian  Federation has been blamed on t h i s attitude: P o l i t i c a l imperialism explains, more than any single factor, the present disunity of the region, the aimlessness so d i s t r e s s i n g l y apparent since the collapse of the federal venture i n 1962, with the resultant trend toward micronationalism.29 In view of the nature and function of West Indian society, i t being created by slavery f o r the enrichment of B r i t a i n , i t had no inner reserves to hold i t together, and i t i s not surprising that once i t ceased to be p r o f i t a b l e financ i a l l y , i t f e l l apart.  The beginning of the decline of the  West Indies at the end of the eighteenth century was accelerated by emancipation  i n 1834.  Lord Harris, governor of  Trinidad, a r t i c u l a t e d the dilemma of West Indian society then as i t i s now. been formed."3^  "A race has been freed but a society has not The overwhelming question i n the minds of the  planters was whether or not the newly freed slaves would remain  13 on t h e p l a n t a t i o n .  The q u e s t i o n was d e c i d e d l a r g e l y by t h e  alternatives available.  Where t h e r e was l a n d t h e y c o u l d  cul-  t i v a t e , as i n T r i n i d a d and Guyana, they l e f t t h e e s t a t e s i n l a r g e numbers. stayed.  Where t h e r e was none, as i n Barbados, t h e y  Jamaica f a r e d b a d l y .  I t had been d e c l i n i n g s i n c e t h e  1780*s and t h e h i g h r a t e o f a b s e n t e e i s m w i t h t h e consequent d r a i n o f c a p i t a l was d i s a s t r o u s f o r an a l r e a d y shaky economy. The p o s t - e m a n c i p a t i o n  y e a r s saw t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e  West I n d i a n m o b i l i t y t h a t was t o c o n t i n u e i n t o a d i a s p o r a . The e x t e n t o f m i g r a t i o n from and w i t h i n t h e West I n d i e s i s an i n d i c a t i o n o f t h e i n s t a b i l i t y o f West I n d i a n l i f e ,  and o f t h e  g r e a t sense o f p l a c e l e s s n e s s and homelessness t h a t i t has bred.  The p o s t - e m a n c i p a t i o n  p o p u l a t i o n s h i f t s were r e l a t i v e l y  i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l compared w i t h t h e mass e m i g r a t i o n a t t h e t u r n o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y when t h e sugar i n d u s t r y was i n i t s death t h r o n s .  I n t h e 1880*s, when t h e West I n d i a n  economy  was b u c k l i n g under t h e s t r a i n o f debt and c o m p e t i t i o n from t h e b e e t i n d u s t r y , t h e r e was c h r o n i c w i d e s p r e a d unemployment, r e s u l t i n g i n t h e "emblematic b e g i n n i n g o f t h e c o n t i n u o u s I n d i a n emigration i n search o f work."^ Jamaica o f t h e i 8 6 0 * s :  1  West  Sewell describes the  " K i n g s t o n l o o k s what i t i s , a p l a c e  where money has been made, but can be made no more. washed up and c a s t a s i d e as u s e l e s s . " ^ t h e C e n t r a l American M a i n l a n d  Itis  Between 1904 t o 1920  p r o v i d e d work on c o f f e e , sugar  and banana p l a n t a t i o n s , Cuba on t h e sugar p l a n t a t i o n s . a t t r a c t e d many Jamaicans.  Panama  The end o f t h i s d i s p e r s i o n came w i t h  t h e w o r l d - w i d e economic d e p r e s s i o n a t t h e end o f t h e 1920's and  14  t h e s i t u a t i o n was on i m m i g r a t i o n  f u r t h e r a g g r a v a t e d by the U.S.  i n 1924•  Barbados, w h i c h has always  on e m i g r a t i o n t o curb i t s p o p u l a t i o n , was The  1930?s saw  Montserrat  restrictions  seriously affected.  a f l o w of immigrants r e t u r n i n g .  l o s t an e s t i m a t e d  depended  I n the 1950*3,  f i f t y per cent o f i t s p o p u l a t i o n  i n a wave o f s m a l l i s l a n d m i g r a t i o n t o the U n i t e d Kingdom.33 The  d i a s p o r a c o n t i n u e s unabated.  To s t a y i n the West I n d i e s  means, f o r most, t o e x i s t at a b a r e s u b s i s t e n c e l e v e l ;  to  e m i g r a t e means t o become a nomad, u p r o o t e d . N a i p a u l has d i s s e c t e d t h e s o c i e t y r u t h l e s s l y i n The Middle  Passage, l a y i n g bare a l l the smug, c o m f o r t a b l e  plati-  t u d e s , and f e e l i n g beneath the s u r f a c e t o t h e h i d d e n t e n s i o n s o f a s o c i e t y t h a t has been b u i l t on  nothingness:  H i s t o r y i s b u i l t around achievement and c r e a t i o n and n o t h i n g was c r e a t e d i n t h e West I n d i e s . (M.P.72) W i t h t h e g r a n t i n g o f Independence t o most o f t h e i s l a n d s , a new  awareness has  has begun.  sprung up.  The  process  of d e c o l o n i s a t i o n  West I n d i a n s are coming t o r e a l i s e t h a t t h e y have  been l i v i n g i n a borrowed c u l t u r e and t h a t t h e y l i v e a d a i l y paradox.  The West I n d i e s i s now  t r y i n g to f i n d i t s true  a f f i r m i t s heterogeneous r a c i a l p a s t and h e r i t a g e and white  cultural skin.  The  shed i t s  problem o f i d e n t i t y t h a t i s b e i n g  a r t i c u l a t e d i n i t s l i t e r a t u r e r e f l e c t s a need t o ask t h e b a s i c q u e s t i o n , "Who  self,  am I ? "  A p l a s t i c type of i n d i v i d u a l  e v o l v e d under s l a v e r y , a t y p e who  was  very had  highly susceptible to  o u t s i d e i n f l u e n c e s , not h a v i n g a n a t i v e t r a d i t i o n t o draw upon. West I n d i a n c u l t u r e i s a h y b r i d one, w i t h E n g l i s h the  15  main i n f l u e n c e .  E n g l i s h p o l i c y i n the Caribbean  was "masked by  the d e s i r e t o a n g l i c i z e -- t o p r i n t h e r own stamp on a l l h e r subjects."-^  The West I n d i a n i s a l s o a h y b r i d .  Gordon Lewis  d e s c r i b e s t h e phenomenon: C u l t u r a l i m p e r i a l i s m ... by s e e k i n g t h r o u g h educat i o n t o c o n v e r t t h e West I n d i a n p e r s o n i n t o a c o l o u r e d E n g l i s h gentleman produced t h e contemp o r a r y s p e c t a c l e o f t h e West I n d i a n as a c u l t u r a l l y d i s i n h e r i t e d i n d i v i d u a l , .an A n g l i c i z e d c o l o n i a l s e t w i t h i n an A f r o - A s i a n environment, caught between t h e d y i n g A n g l o p h i l e w o r l d and t h e new w o r l d o f C a r i b b e a n democracy and n a t i o n a l i s m s e e k i n g t o be born.35 T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y t h e dilemma t h a t Lamming i s t r y i n g t o r e s o l v e i n Season o f A d v e n t u r e .  The M a r t i n i q u a n - b o r n  psychol-  o g i s t , F r a n t z Fanon, has p o i n t e d o u t t h e danger t o t h e psyche of t h i s c u l t u r a l imposition —  so thorough was t h e c o l o n i a l  i n d o c t r i n a t i o n , t h a t t h e b l a c k West I n d i a n has u n c o n s c i o u s l y a s s i m i l a t e d t h e p r e j u d i c e s , myths and f o l k l o r e o f Europe so t h a t t h e n e g r o , b l a c k b e i n g a n e g a t i v e i n t h e European  unconscious,  i s i n combat w i t h h i s own image, a case o f a u t h e n t i c alienation.^6  self-  Fanon c a l l s i t an e x i s t e n t i a l d e v i a t i o n ; i t can  be summed up i n t h e t i t l e o f h i s book, B l a c k S k i n , W h i t e Masks. The  negro s e l f - d e p r e c a t i o n , h i s unsureness o f h i s w o r t h , and  h i s self-contempt, carricature.  i s seen i n t h e T r i n i d a d g i f t a t s e l f -  One o f t h e g r e a t e s t dangers s l a v e r y i n f l i c t e d  on t h e negro was t h a t i t taught him s e l f - c o n t e m p t ;  i t s e t up  f o r h i m t h e i d e a l s o f w h i t e c i v i l i z a t i o n and made h i m d e s p i s e every  other.37 The  c o l o n i a l has t o c r e a t e a whole new i d e n t i t y .  He  has t o p i c k up t h e p i e c e s o f h i s h i s t o r y and make t h e f u t u r e whole.  16 Because i t i s a s y s t e m a t i c n e g a t i o n o f t h e o t h e r p e r s o n and a f u r i o u s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o deny t h e o t h e r people a l l a t t r i b u t e s o f humanity, c o l o n i a l i s m f o r c e s t h e people i t dominates t o ask themselves t h e q u e s t i o n c o n s t a n t l y : " I n r e a l i t y , who am 1?"^° I n s p i t e o f a few s u r v i v a l s o f t h e A f r i c a n t r a d i t i o n ,  7  the  negro has been t h o r o u g h l y d e t r i b a l i z e d and a c c u l t u r a t e d , exc e p t , o f c o u r s e , f o r i s o l a t e d groups such as t h e Bush Negroes o f Guyana and t h e negroes o f H a i t i .  Many o f t h e t r a d i t i o n s  and i n s t i t u t i o n s t h e y brought w i t h them broke down under t h e s t r a i n o f t h e s l a v e system.  Any advantages t h e i r n u m e r i c a l  s u p e r i o r i t y might have g i v e n them were n u l l i f i e d by t h e i r s t a t u s and f u n c t i o n i n t h a t s o c i e t y .  A c c u l t u r a t i o n has been  d e f i n e d as " t h o s e phenomena which r e s u l t when groups o f i n d i v i d u a l s h a v i n g d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s come i n t o c o n t i n u o u s c o n t a c t , w i t h subsequent changes i n t h e o r i g i n a l p a t t e r n s o f e i t h e r o r both groups."* ' 1  0  first-hand  cultural  This sort of d e f i n i t i o n  i s , o f c o u r s e , l u d i c r o u s , when one a p p l i e s i t t o a c o l o n i a l situation. society."^-  I t produced 1  "a monstrous d i s t o r t i o n o f human  H e r s k o v i t s , i n The Myth o f t h e Negro P a s t ,  t h a t a people t h a t d e n i e s i t s p a s t cannot  observes  escape b e i n g a prey  t o doubts o f i t s v a l u e t o d a y and i t s p o t e n t i a l i t i e s f o r t h e future.**-  2  The awakening o f i n t e r e s t i n t h e A f r i c a n p a s t has  s t a r t e d many on a s e a r c h f o r r o o t s .  I t has t a k e n v a r i e d  forms,  a s y m b o l i c r e t u r n t h r o u g h t h e a d o p t i o n o f what i s thought t o be A f r i c a n , and a p h y s i c a l r e t u r n f o r t h o s e who have t h e means. A f r i c a now s e r v e s as an e m o t i o n a l m a t r i x f o r t h o s e who f i n d t h a t t h e y b e l o n g nowhere. E a s t I n d i a n a c c u l t u r a t i o n has been l i m i t e d .  Certain  17  I n d i a n i n s t i t u t i o n s were bound t o d i s a p p e a r  o r be m o d i f i e d ,  the  n a t u r a l r e s u l t of b e i n g t r a n s p l a n t e d t o a Western s o c i e t y .  The  c a s t e system has l a r g e l y l o s t i t s meaning t o t h e m a j o r i t y i s not a p o t e n t s o c i a l f o r c e . l i t t l e chance o f s u r v i v a l .  and  F o r o b v i o u s r e a s o n s , i t had  I n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , a l l the immi-  g r a n t s were p l a c e d on an e q u a l f o o t i n g by the mere f a c t o f being immigrants.  Throughout the j o u r n e y ,  i t was  impossible  t o a v o i d t o u c h p o l l u t i o n as brahmin and s u d r a rubbed On a r r i v a l ,  everyone was  one's c a s t e i n a new  aware t h a t i t was  place.  shoulders.  s i m p l e t o upgrade  Most i m p o r t a n t ,  t h e C a r i b b e a n con-  t e x t would have r e n d e r e d f u l l r e t e n t i o n a r c h a i c , f o r t h e y were e q u a l i n the eyes o f the r e s t o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n . t h e West I n d i a n p o p u l a t i o n was  Moreover,  n e i t h e r r e c e p t i v e or s y m p a t h e t i c  t o t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f the system.  The  extended f a m i l y u n i t  and  the Hindu and M u s l i m r e l i g i o n s have s u r v i v e d , as have the languages. The  I n d i a n community i s , i n many ways, more suspended  t h a n any o t h e r between two w o r l d s , t h e o l d e r members t r e a d i n g a p r e c a r i o u s p a t h between d e n y i n g t h e i r new living in i t .  environment w h i l e  There are many l i v i n g t o d a y who  from I n d i a and the c o n s t a n t  came d i r e c t l y  r e m i n d e r s of I n d i a around them make  t h e t r a n s i t i o n more p r o l o n g e d . There i s an element of e x i s t e n t i a l i s m i n h e r e n t i n the West I n d i a n c o n d i t i o n t h a t has been g e n e r a l l y r e c o g n i s e d its writers. one \  The  philosophy  of uprootedness —  by  of e x i s t e n t i a l i s m i s b a s i c a l l y  t h e s e v e r i n g o f the l i n k s t h a t have  t r a d i t i o n a l l y anchored man  psychically.  The  l o s s of r e l i g i o n  18  and t h e d e s p i r i t u a l i z a t i o n o f n a t u r e has l e f t man homeless,  ?  mass s o c i e t y and c o l l e c t i v i s m have swamped t h e i n d i v i d u a l and reduced him t o an automaton, l e f t h i m w i t h a " d e s o l a t i n g sense o f r o o t l e s s n e s s and v a c u i t y ; " ^ man has become a s t r a n g e r i n a w o r l d which i s h o s t i l e t o h i s d e s i r e s .  I n s h o r t , man i s  uprooted. Thus w i t h t h e modern p e r i o d , man ... found h i m s e l f f o r t h e f i r s t time homeless; s c i e n c e ... p r e s e n t e d man w i t h a u n i v e r s e t h a t was n e u t r a l , a l i e n ... w i t h t h e l o s s o f t h i s c o n t a i n i n g framework ( r e l i g i o n ) man became n o t o n l y a d i s p o s s e s s e d but a f r a g m e n t a r y b e i n g ... man's f e e l i n g o f homelessness, o f a l i e n a t i o n , has been i n t e n s i f i e d i n t h e midst o f a b u r e a u c r a t i z e d , i m p e r s o n a l mass s o c i e t y .... He i s t r e b l y a l i e n a t e d : a s t r a n g e r t o God, t o n a t u r e ; and t o t h e g i g a n t i c s o c i a l a p p a r a t u s .... But t h e worst and f i n a l form o f a l i e n a t i o n ... i s man's a l i e n a t i o n f r o m h i s own s e l f . In a society t h a t r e q u i r e s o f man o n l y t h a t he perform compet e n t l y h i s own p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l f u n c t i o n , man becomes i d e n t i f i e d w i t h t h i s f u n c t i o n . 4 5 The  d i v o r c e between man and h i s environment  on s e v e r a l l e v e l s i n t h e C a r i b b e a n i s regarded  context.  operates  That environment  as an a l i e n one by i t s immigrant s o c i e t y .  The  s o c i e t y i t s e l f was a r t i f i c i a l l y c r e a t e d by t h e sweat o f s l a v e s who d i d n o t enjoy i t s advantages n o r do now. s e l f was t h e a r c h e t y p e  The s l a v e him-  o f t o d a y ' s f a c e l e s s man o f t h e masses.  He was u t t e r l y r e d u c e d t o h i s f u n c t i o n and was r e q u i r e d t o do, not t o be.  He was an o b j e c t " a s goods and o t h e r  chattels."  W i l s o n H a r r i s p o i n t s t o t h e a b s u r d i t y o f even h y p o t h e t i c a l l y r e f e r r i n g t o "the i n d i v i d u a l A f r i c a n slave."46  The c o n t i n -  gency o f h i s e x i s t e n c e i s t e s t i f i e d t o by t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s under w h i c h he came t o t h e West I n d i e s .  West I n d i a n h i s t o r y  r e a d s l i k e a g r o t e s q u e s e r i e s o f a c c i d e n t s ; t h e West I n d i a n  19 h i m s e l f i s an a c c i d e n t .  H i s l i f e has n e v e r been c h a r a c t e r i s e d  by s e c u r i t y ; he has no g o l d e n age t o l o o k back on. sence o f a s t a b l e s o c i e t y p o l i t i c a l l y , i s a p e r p e t u a l r e a l i t y f o r him.  s o c i a l l y and  The abeconomically  L a s t l y , t h e r e i s t h e damage  s l a v e r y d i d t o t h e psyche, t h e s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n and s e l f - h a t r e d t h a t Fanon c a l l s an e x i s t e n t i a l d e v i a t i o n . These themes have found t h e i r way i n t o West I n d i a n l i t e r a t u r e - b o t h t h e p o e t r y and p r o s e .  Space does not p e r m i t  t h e i n c l u s i o n o f West I n d i a n p o e t r y i n t h i s study.  A more  e x t e n s i v e a n a l y s i s would o b v i o u s l y have t o i n c l u d e  Brathwaite's  e x c e l l e n t t r i l o g y and W a l c o t t ' s  poetry.  Nevertheless,  i t is  hoped t h a t t h e prose a l o n e w i l l s u f f i c e t o g i v e an i n d i c a t i o n of the pervasiveness  o f t h e theme o f r o o t l e s s n e s s , and i t s  comprehensiveness, f o r i t c a p t u r e s t h e essence o f t h e West Indian c o n d i t i o n .  FOOTNOTES V.S. N a i p a u l , The Middle Passage (London: Andre' Deutsch, 1962)., p. 190. " : o  The S o c i o l o g y o f S l a v e r y (London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1967), p.9, 3 F.R. Augier, S.C. Gordon, D.G. H a l l and M. Reckord, The Making o f t h e West I n d i e s (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1961), p. 67. ~ ' • ^ E l s a Goveia, S l a v e S o c i e t y i n the B r i t i s h Leeward I s l a n d s Caribbean S e r i e s , No.8, ed Sidney W. Mintz (New Haven: Y a l e Univ. Press, 1965), p. 111. ^ W i l l i a m S e w e l l , The Ordeal o f Free Labour i n the B r i t i s h West I n d i e s (London: Frank Cass and Co. L t d . , 1968. R e p r i n t o f 2nd.ed., 1862), p. 192. 6  I b i d . , p. 112.  7  I b i d . , p. 112.  d  The S o c i o l o g y o f S l a v e r y , p. 32.  9 I b i d . , p. 35. 1 Q  Ibid.,  p. 37.  " ^ S l a v e S o c i e t y i n the B r i t i s h Leeward I s l a n d s , p. 3 0 1 . I b i d . . p. 3 0 0 . "^Donald Woods, T r i n i d a d i n T r a n s i t i o n (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968),,. p. l l o \ 1 2  " ^ A t t r i b u t e d t o an o l d r e s i d e n t o f T r i n i d a d i n 1858, De V e r t e u i l , i n F.R. Gordon and S h i r l e y C. Gordon, Sources o f West I n d i a n H i s t o r y (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd.,1962), p. 26. 1  Tobago  ^Trinidad i n Transition,  p.133.  - ^ E r i c W i l l i a m s , H i s t o r y o f the People o f T r i n i d a d and (New York:. F r e d e r i c k A. Praeger, 1964), p. 279.  20  21  ^Arthur d J u a n i t a N i e h o f f , E a s t I n d i a n s i n t h e West I n d i e s Milwaukee P u b l i c Museum P u b l i c a t i o n s i n A n t h r o p o l o g y , No. 6 (Wisconsin:..Milwaukee P u b l i c Museum, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 19. a  n  1£  " Morton K l a s s , E a s t I n d i a n s i n T r i n i d a d : A Study o f C u l t u r a l P e r s i s t e n c e (New.York: Columbia U n i v . P r e s s , 1961), p. 22. LO  •^An Area o f Darkness (Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 29. I n h i s a n a l y s i s o f J e S u i s M a r t i n i q u a i s e by Mayotte C a p e c i a , F r a n t z Fanon demonstrates the_ s e l f - h a t r e d o f t h e c o l o u r e d woman and h e r overwhelming d e s i r e f o r a w h i t e man t o the p o i n t o f s e l f - a b a s e m e n t . B l a c k S k i n , White Masks, T r a n s . C h a r l e s Lam Mankmann (London: P a l l a d i n , 1970. O r i g i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d i n France as Peau N o i r e , Masques B l a n c s , E d i t i o n s de S e u i l , 1952). 2 1  2 2  2  S l a v e S o c i e t y i n t h e B r i t i s h Leeward I s l a n d s , p p . 4 7 - 4 8 . T h e S o c i o l o g y o f S l a v e r y , p. 80.  3 s i a v e S o c i e t y i n t h e B r i t i s h Leeward I s l a n d s , p. 137.  2 / f  I b i d . ,p. 3 1 1 .  - ^ T r i n i d a d and Tobago High Commission N e w s l e t t e r , 4 (27 J u l y , 1 9 7 3 ) , p. 2. 2  C a p i t a l i s m and S l a v e r y (New York: C a p r i c o r n Books,  1966).  27  ' H i s t o r y o f t h e P e o p l e o f T r i n i d a d and Tobago, p. 52. 28  Gordon L e w i s , The Growth o f t h e Modern B r i t i s h West I n d i e s (London: Macgibbon.and.Kee, 1968), p. 119. I b i d . , pp. 18-19. 2 9  3°In S l a v e S o c i e t y i n t h e B r i t i s h Leeward I s l a n d s , p.332. 31 The Making o f t h e West I n d i e s , p. 24132  p.  174.  The O r d e a l o f F r e e Labour i n t h e B r i t i s h West I n d i e s ,  22  33  The Growth o f the Modern B r i t i s h West I n d i e s , p.119.  - ^ T r i n i d a d i n T r a n s i t i o n , p. 292. ^^The Growth o f the Modern B r i t i s h West I n d i e s , p.19. 3 6  Black  S k i n , White Masks, p. 12.  3 7  T h e Middle Passage, p. 66.  F r a n t z Fanon, The Wretched Of The E a r t h , Trans. Constance F a r r i n g t o n (New York: G r o v e P r e s s I n c . , 1968), p. 250. F i r s t p u b l i s h e d by F r a n c o i s Maspero, e d i t e u r , P a r i s , under the t i t l e , Les Damnes de l a T e r r e , 1961). 3 8  :  /  39 ^ M e l v i l l e J . K e r s k o v i t s has done an exhaustive study of A f r i c a n S u r v i v a l s in. The Myth Of The Negro Past (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1941) • ' '. ~ J  ^ T h e Myth Of The Negro Past, ^ T h e Sociology  p. 10.  of S l a v e r y , p.9.  ^ T h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s quoted by K e r s k o v i t s i n The Myth Of The Negro Past, p. 32. 2  ^ W i l l i a m B a r r e t t , I r r a t i o n a l Man Anchor Books,1958), p. 30. 4 4  Ibid->  (New York: Doubleday  P- 30.  ^ I b i d . , pp. 30-31. 46  w  i l s o n H a r r i s , T r a d i t i o n , t h e W r i t e r and S o c i e t y (London: New Beacon P u b l i c a t i o n s , 1967), p. 33-  CHAPTER I I A WEST INDIAN SETTING P a t t e r s o n ' s The C h i l d r e n o f S i s y p h u s , A House F o r Mr. B i s w a s  2  Naipaul's  and Lamming's Season o f Adventure-^  are s e t r e s p e c t i v e l y i n J a m a i c a , T r i n i d a d , and a f i c t i t i o u s West I n d i a n i s l a n d , San C r i s t o b a l , t h a t i s o b v i o u s l y t o be a composite o f a l l .  The c h a r a c t e r s  a r e t h o s e f o r whom  t h e middle passage j o u r n e y has been f i n a l —  at least i n the  p h y s i c a l sense; and t h e n o v e l i s t s , by o s t e n s i b l y West I n d i a n  man and s o c i e t y , c r e a t e  meant  defining  the a n t i t h e s i s  —  fragmented, d i s p o s s e s s e d i n d i v i d u a l s who a r e e s s e n t i a l l y p l a c e l e s s and r o o t l e s s i n an unformed s o c i e t y .  The p r e v a i l i n  sense o f r e j e c t i o n and o f n o t b e l o n g i n g i s s t r o n g and  Patterson,  i n Naipaul  Naipaul's T u l s i s trapped i n a decaying  Indian  w o r l d w h i l e r e j e c t i n g t h e W e s t e r n r e a l i t y around them i n t h e i n o s t a l g i a f o r I n d i a , and P a t t e r s o n ' s Ras T a f a r i a n s s i m i l a r l y caught between w o r l d s i n t h e i r f r u s t r a t e d d e s i r e t o be r e patriated to Ethiopia. The t r a n s i t i o n a l p e r i o d between c o l o n i a l i s m and n a t i o n a l i s m t h a t a N a i p a u l would see as a p e r i o d o f d a r k n e s s g i v i n g way t o f u r t h e r d a r k n e s s , Lamming o p t i m i s t i c a l l y ent i t l e s "Season o f Adventure", and i n h i s n o v e l he a t t e m p t s t o r e s o l v e t h e West I n d i a n  c u l t u r a l paradox, i n Gordon L e w i s '  words, o f " t h e A n g l i c i z e d c o l o n i a l s e t w i t h i n t h e A f r o - A s i a n  23  24  c u l t u r a l environment, caught between the d y i n g A n g l o p h i l e w o r l d and t h e new w o r l d o f C a r i b b e a n w a i t i n g t o be b o r n . "  4  democracy and n a t i o n a l i s m  H i s c h a r a c t e r s are t h e r e f o r e t r a p p e d ,  as w e l l , between w o r l d s . An i n t e r e s t i n g p i c t u r e o f West I n d i a n s o c i e t y emerges f r o m t h e n o v e l s .  They i n d i c a t e the e s s e n t i a l f o r m l e s s -  ness o f t h e s o c i e t y , such t h a t the frame o f r e f e r e n c e , t h e c o n t e x t , cannot be drawn upon; i t has t o be c r e a t e d . p e c t s t h a t Lamming d i d not s e t out t o do t h i s  One  sus-  intentionally,  t h a t he found h i m s e l f i n deep w a t e r s when he t r i e d t o c r e a t e h i s f i c t i t i o u s San C r i s t o b a l out o f a l l t h e West I n d i a n i s l a n d s . D e s p i t e numerous r e f e r e n c e s t o L o r d s , L a d i e s and S i r s ,  Presi-  d e n t s and V i c e - P r e s i d e n t s , we are never f i r m l y p l a n t e d i n an organic, l i v i n g society.  He u n w i t t i n g l y r e v e a l s the  o f the West I n d i a n t r a d i t i o n .  poverty  John Hearn's 'Cayuna* i s a  shade more c o n v i n c i n g because h i s concern  i s with a  middle  c l a s s t h a t i s f a m i l i a r f r o m the pages o f the E n g l i s h n o v e l proper. P a t t e r s o n ' s c h a r a c t e r s a r e a t y p e t h a t has become f a m i l i a r t h r o u g h t h e n o v e l s o f Roger M a i s . d w e l l e r s o f the C a r i b b e a n ,  They are the slum  and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t b o t h  n o v e l i s t s a r e f r a n k l y f a t a l i s t i c and both see the predicament o f t h e i r slum d w e l l e r s as an i n t o l e r a b l e e x i s t e n t i a l one.  A  t h i r d Jamaican w r i t e r , Andrew S a l k e y , s h a r e s t h e i r view; i n The  Adventures o f C a t u l l u s K e l l y , t h e Jamaican, Erasmus, com-  ments on " t h e s m a l l n e s s o f the e n c l o s e d a r e a o f everyday l i v i n g , t h e nearness o f i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s , t h e rawness o f t h e  r e p o r t s o f d i s a p p o i n t m e n t and d e f e a t ... and t h e i n t o l e r a b l e existential life."'' In the  Mais  1  f i r s t n o v e l , The H i l l s Were J o y f u l T o g e t h e r ,  i n h a b i t a n t s o f 'the y a r d ' ( s h a c k s c l u s t e r e d around a com-  pound), a r e h o r r i b l y t r a p p e d i n a v i c i o u s c h a i n o f c i r c u m stances.  At t h e end o f t h e n o v e l , S u r j u e , one o f t h e main  c h a r a c t e r s , makes an attempt t o escape from p r i s o n : Halfway up a l r e a d y . More t h a n h a l f w a y up. I n a moment h i s f i n g e r s would c l u t c h t h e edge o f t h e wall. I t was a l l so easy he wanted t o l a u g h .... His hand reached up and t o o k a f i r m e r h o l d o f t h e knot above .... He d i d not hear t h e sound o f t h e s i n g l e r i f l e shot .... He l a y on h i s back, h i s arms f l u n g wide, s t a r i n g up a t t h e s i l e n t u n e q u i v o c a l s t a r s . (The H i l l s , 228) The t r a g e d y i s compounded by our knowledge t h a t h i s w i f e has b u r n t h e r s e l f t o d e a t h a t about the same t i m e i n a f i t o f i n sanity. The C h i l d r e n o f S i s y p h u s i s P a t t e r s o n ' s f i r s t  novel.  Most o f i t i s s e t i n a slum c a l l e d t h e Dungle, which i s occup i e d by v a r i o u s s o c i a l o u t c a s t s , n o t a b l y t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s , a Jamaican c u l t i s t group. B r o t h e r Solomon.  Their leader i n the novel i s  We l e a v e the Dungle f o r a s h o r t w h i l e as we  f o l l o w t h e t r a i l o f Dinah, one o f t h e c u l t i s t ' s women, who makes a d e t e r m i n e d e f f o r t t o escape from i t , and i t i s Dinah who  l e a d s us back t o t h e Dungle when she c r a w l s back a f t e r  b e i n g stabbed by t h e j e a l o u s c o - l e a d e r of a n o t h e r r e l i g i o u s c u l t she had j o i n e d . The Ras T a f a r i a n s f i g u r e p r o m i n e n t l y i n Jamaican novels.  They a r e n o t i c e a b l e i n Jamaica by t h e i r l o n g matted  26  h a i r , t h e i r beards and t h e i r a n t i s o c i a l b e h a v i o r .  They have  no r e g a r d f o r Jamaica o r i t s p r i v i l e g e d , whom t h e y r e g a r d as the s i n f u l c h i l d r e n of Babylon.  They w i s h , above a l l e l s e ,  t o be r e p a t r i a t e d t o A f r i c a , p r e f e r a b l y E t h i o p i a , t h e i r one t r u e home, l a n d o f t h e i r f o r e - f a t h e r s .  Consequently  they pay  a l l e g i a n c e t o t h e E t h i o p i a n n a t i o n a l anthem and w o r s h i p H a i l e Selassie. I n t h e n o v e l , t h e y have c o l l e c t e d among  themselves  and sent some d e l e g a t e s t o E t h i o p i a t o arrange f o r t h e i r repatriation.  News a r r i v e s t h a t t h e i r m i s s i o n has been suc-  c e s s f u l and t h a t s h i p s a r e on t h e i r way.  They g a t h e r on t h e  Jamaican shore s i n g i n g and r e j o i c i n g , t h e i r b e l o n g i n g s packed. Only B r o t h e r Solomon knows t h a t t h e m i s s i o n has been a f a i l u r e , but he a l l o w s them t h i s one moment o f h a p p i n e s s , and w i t h a t r i u m p h a n t f e e l i n g o f h a v i n g f o o l e d f a t e , he commits s u i c i d e . P a t t e r s o n has s e t h i s n o v e l w i t h i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e myth o f S i s y p h u s who was condemned by t h e gods t o c e a s e l e s s l y push a r o c k t o t h e t o p o f a mountain i n Hades and b e g i n a g a i n when i t r o l l e d back down.  T h i s a r c h e t y p e , t h e 'absurd*  hero  condemned t o a monotonous and e n d l e s s round o f f u t i l e l a b o u r , gives the novel i t s t i t l e . parallel i s clear.  The c o n t e x t i s modern, but t h e  L i k e Sisyphus, the c h i l d r e n of Sisyphus  a r e condemned t o a r o o t l e s s , t r e a d m i l l e x i s t e n c e from t h e y cannot  which  escape.  P a t t e r s o n has i n t e n s i f i e d t h e a b s u r d i t y o f t h e e x i s t e n t i a l framework by s e t t i n g t h e n o v e l i n t h e Dungle, which  27 becomes a symbol o f t h e f o u n d a t i o n s on which t h e i r l i v e s a r e built.  O r i g i n a l l y a swamp, t h e Dungle was b u i l t up a r t i f i -  cially: An* I •member de f i r s ' time de d o n k e y - c a r t s t a r t t o c a r r y d e ' s h i t an' dump i t r i g h t here •pon de swampland.... I use t o watch dem day by day t i l l de p l a c e come h a r d so d a t we c o u l d walk *pon i t l i k e we d o i n * now. Me was one o* de f i r s * p e r s o n t o walk 'pon d i s l a n d o s h i t h e r e , g a l . ( C h i l d r e n , 39) f  As a p o w e r f u l symbol and a c o n t r o l l i n g m o t i f , t h e Dungle f o c u s e s on t h e a b s u r d i t y a t d i f f e r e n t the  levels.  I t symbolises  r o o t l e s s n e s s and c o n t i n g e n c y o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e ; i t r e -  duces t o i r o n i c comedy man's s t r u g g l e w i t h h i s environment; and i t becomes an i n t e r n a l i s e d  symbol.  I t i s as i m p o s s i b l e  f o r i t s i n h a b i t a n t s t o escape f r o m t h e Dungle as i t i s f o r them t o escape f r o m t h e m s e l v e s .  The Dungle i s b o t h w i t h i n and  around them. The n o v e l r e l e n t l e s s l y pursues t h e theme o f t h e f u t i l i t y o f escape.  A l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s have t h e i r eyes  f i x e d on l e a v i n g t h e Dungle.  firmly  H o l d i n g on t o t h e i r v a r i o u s f r a i l  r u d d e r s , Dinah, h e r a m b i t i o n , Mary, h e r m u l a t t o daughter, Mabel, h e r g u t s and a m b i t i o n , and t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s , t h e i r hope o f repatriation,  t h e y go t h r o u g h t h e motions o f l e a v i n g o r p r e -  p a r i n g t o l e a v e , b u t a l l end up where t h e y s t a r t e d -- i n t h e Dungle.  Mary i s c a r r i e d o f f i n s a n e and h e r d a u g h t e r i s t a k e n  f r o m h e r , Dunah r u n s back t o i t t o d i e , and t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s are  l e f t on t h e Jamaican shore w a i t i n g f o r a s h i p t h a t  n e v e r come, w a i t i n g f o r Godot. frontation  will  The absurd i s b o r n o f t h e con-  between man and a u n i v e r s e t h a t does n o t respond t o  28 h i s d e s i r e s , making i n d i v i d u a l w i l l u s e l e s s ; i n such a w o r l d t h e r e can be no h e r o i s m , o n l y S i s y p h i a n r e v o l t .  At the  end,  B r o t h e r Solomon, t h r o u g h whose c o n s c i o u s n e s s we see the a b s u r d i t y , f i x e s h i s eyes on t h e v o i d , on t h e f a r c e o f t h e human comedy t h a t t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s p l a y out on t h e sea shore and c r i e s out: E v e r y wretched one o f them i s an a r c h e t y p e o f t h e clowrt-man, p l a y i n g t h e i r p a r t on t h e comic stage so w e l l t h e y a r e no l o n g e r c o n s c i o u s o f p l a y i n g ... t h e y have b e f o r e them ... t w e l v e hours o f h a p p i n e s s . Who e l s e but t h e gods c o u l d e n j o y such h a p p i n e s s ? F o r t h e moment t h e y are c o n q u e r o r s . F o r t h e moment t h e y have c h e a t e d t h e d r e a r y c i r c l e . (The C h i l d r e n , 202) The opening scene o f t h e n o v e l w i t h t h e t h r e e men  garbage-  on t h e i r way t o t h e Dungle w i t h r o t t i n g f o o d i s Kafkaesque  i n i t s e v o c a t i o n o f g u i l t and condemnation.  They s i t " l i k e  condemned men  b e i n g h a u l e d by the a s s e s t o a f a t e unknown, un-  t h i n k a b l e ....  They were abandoned t o a f a t e which seemed t o  t e r r i f y them, p a r t l y because t h e y were p e r p e t u a l l y plagued w i t h doubts o f i t s e x i s t e n c e , p a r t l y because t h e y f e l t t h a t i f i n d e e d i t d i d e x i s t , t h e n i n some b i z a r r e way t h e y a l r e a d y knew what i t was."  (Children, 17). The Dungle i s peopled by t h e d i s p o s s e s s e d who  have  nowhere e l s e t o go, t h e i r s q u a t t e r l i f e e m p h a s i z i n g t h e i r r o o t lessness.  T h e i r g r e a t e s t a m b i t i o n i s t o escape; t h e i r songs  a r e songs o f n o s t a l g i a and e x i l e , o f r o o t l e s s n e s s and o f not belonging.  I n t h e i r songs, t h e Ras T a f a r i a n s h e a r k i n g R a s t a  c a l l i n g them home t o E t h i o p i a .  Their allegiance i s a passionate  one t o a l a n d t h e y have never seen and are doomed never t o see.  29  Camus s a i d o f 'absurd man', " H i s e x i l e i s w i t h o u t remedy s i n c e he i s d e p r i v e d o f t h e memory o f a l o s t home o r the  hope o f a promised l a n d . " ?  The Ras T a f a r i a n s do have t h i s  memory and t h e y do have t h i s hope, and i t makes t h e i r p l i g h t a l l t h e worse. As h i s B r o t h e r s p r e p a r e t o board t h e s h i p s t h a t  will  n e v e r a r r i v e , B r o t h e r Solomon s e a r c h e s f o r r e a s o n , f o r meaning b e h i n d t h e comic r e p e t i t i o n o f t h e i r l i v e s , t h e d r e a r y c i r c l e t h a t goes round and round, but comes f a c e t o f a c e , i n s t e a d , w i t h t h e f u t i l i t y o f r a t i o n a l human endeavour. You f o o l y o u r s e l f i n t o b e l i e v i n g t h a t deep down i n you t h e r e i s a h i d d e n god, something r e a l , something m e a n i n g f u l .... B r o t h e r , t h e r e i s t h e complete comedy, f o r when t h e mirage v a n i s h e s you have not j u s t t h e agony o f y o u r own . t h i r s t s t i l l unquehched b u t t h e added agony o f knowing t h a t t h e mirage was always u n r e a l ... t o seek f o r God, t o seek f o r meaning, some essence, i s unr e a l i t y t w i c e t i m e s o v e r . ( C h i l d r e n , 202) His  c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h a mirage i s t h e absurd d i s c o v e r y , " a  c o n d i t i o n t h a t r e s u l t s when man s e e k i n g h a p p i n e s s and r e a s o n c o n f r o n t s a m e a n i n g l e s s u n i v e r s e , what Camus c a l l e d 'the unreasonable s i l e n c e o f the world.' " I t i s t h e man o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s who sees t h e a b s u r d i t y , for  t h e a c t o f t h i n k i n g i s an attempt t o cope w i t h t h e e n v i r o n -  ment and t h e r e b y t r a n s f o r m i t .  9  Solomon, and t o a l e s s e r ex-  t e n t , Dinah, a r e t h e c e n t r e s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n t h e n o v e l . The b e g i n n i n g s o f Solomon's quest f o r meaning go back t o h i s t h e o l o g i c a l days when C h r i s t i a n i t y f a i l e d t o p r o v i d e t h e answers.  "Where was he coming from?  he g o i n g ? ...  Where was he? Where was  What was t h e p o i n t o f even a s k i n g what was t h e  30 point?"  (The C h i l d r e n , 6 3 ) .  t e n t i a l i s t imagination time when man  I t has been s a i d t h a t t h e e x i s -  seems p a r t i c u l a r l y a p p r o p r i a t e t o a  has l o s t a l l f a m i l i a r props and seeks new  even w h i l e he r e c o g n i z e s t h a t t h e y may T h i s has  ones  prove i n s u f f i c i e n t  p a r t i c u l a r r e f e r e n c e t o the West I n d i e s where t h e o l d  props were not i n d i g e n o u s dispenses  i n the f i r s t p l a c e .  Thus, Solomon  w i t h the prop of C h r i s t i a n i t y and embraces t h e  s e e m i n g l y more m e a n i n g f u l R a s t a c u l t .  But t h e paradox of t h a t  c u l t l i e s i n the f a c t t h a t i t i s f i r m l y p l a n t e d i n a heaven on e a r t h ( E t h i o p i a ) , which i s t h e r e f o r e s u b j e c t t o a l l the c o n t i n gencies  of e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e , as the end o f the n o v e l makes  clear.  At t h e end of h i s q u e s t , B r o t h e r Solomon comes t o rea-'  l i s e t h a t man  i s not p o i s e d between t h e i n f i n i t e and the  i n a c l a s s i c a l c h a i n o f b e i n g , but t h a t man The  finite  is infinitely  finite.  e l u s i v e l i n e s o f t h e " S i c V i t a e " come back t o h i s mind  he completes the l a s t s e c t i o n o f the  sonnet:  The The The  wind blows o u t , t h e bubble d i e s ; s p r i n g entombed i n autumn l i e s ; dew d r i e s up, t h e s t a r i s s h o t .  The  f l i g h t i s past —  and man  forgot. (Children,  N a t u r e has few r o m a n t i c a s s o c i a t i o n s i n t h i s Instead, i t serves to confirm the characters*  205) novel.  consciousness  of t h e i r n o t h i n g n e s s and t h e i r estrangement from n a t u r e Both Dinah and Solomon see i n n a t u r e r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r emptiness. i n t e n s i t y nature  o n l y an e x t e n s i o n  Camus has  itself. and  s a i d , " W i t h what  o r a l a n d s c a p e can negate u s . "  1 1  n i f i c a n t t h a t t h e y b o t h d e s c r i b e the n o t h i n g n e s s as a d e s e r t .  and  It i s sigmetaphorically  To B r o t h e r Solomon, man's s e a r c h f o r meaning i s a  31  mirage t h a t s u d d e n l y v a n i s h e s , l e a v i n g him s t r a n d e d i n a desert.  Thus, the d e s e r t becomes a metaphor f o r the  o f h i s s o u l i n i t s absurd c o n f r o n t a t i o n . a l s o f o r Dinah. when the " f u l l  aridity  I t has t h i s meaning  At the h e i g h t o f her r e l i g i o u s consciousness  barren  conversion,  o f h e r s e l f c r a s h e d i n on  her,"  she i s g r i p p e d w i t h t e r r o r and she rushes t o t h e window t o gaze o u t s i d e and f i n d some a f f i r m a t i o n o f h e r s e l f i n n a t u r e . She  sees o n l y a parched, p l a i n p i e c e of e a r t h , a r e f l e c t i o n o f  her own  empty, a r i d  life:  Her b e i n g became t r a p p e d i n i t s s e a r , d r y nakedness. What was beyond the n o t h i n g n e s s o f the d u s t y p a t c h ? she wondered. N o t h i n g but more b a r r e n n o t h i n g n e s s . ( C h i l d r e n , 159) When, a t the end, B r o t h e r Solomon sees the comic f u t i l i t y , l a u g h s the mocking l a u g h o f a man  who  he  has l o o k e d on t h e v o i d .  I n a l a s t a c t o f d e f i a n c e , he "mocks t h e v a s t b l u e v o i d w i t h a w i l d , b u l g i n g , f a n t a s t i c s t a r e " ( C h i l d r e n , 206)  and chooses t o  commit s u i c i d e as a supreme a s s e r t i o n of r e a s o n i n f a c e o f the irrationality. heroism. one  Patterson denies h i s character's Sisyphian  I n t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n between man  emerges v i c t o r .  and the environment,  I n t h i s case, the environment  triumphs.  (But t h e a c t o f w r i t i n g i s i t s e l f a f o r m o f d e f i a n c e ) . All  t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n the n o v e l are t r a p p e d .  Their  s i t u a t i o n i s i n t e n s i f i e d by the c l a u s t r o p h o b i c atmosphere o f t h e n o v e l , s i m i l a r t o t h a t o f A House F o r Mr. i s one  c h a r a c t e r who  absurdity.  Biswas.  Rachel  has l e a r n t t o l i v e w i t h i n the w a l l s o f  Her weapons are a c a u s t i c , s a r c a s t i c r e g a r d f o r  human endeavour and an a c c e p t a n c e of t h e f u t i l i t y  of r e v o l t .  She  h e r s e l f had t w i c e t r i e d t o escape but always had t o r e t u r n .  "Is  n o t wha* yu wan* f e do ... i s wha* yu *ave f e do." Where P a t t e r s o n p e r m i t s no escape f r o m t h e c l a u s t r o -  phobic  p r i s o n o f t h e Dungle, N a i p a u l a l l o w s Mr. Biswas a l i m i t e d  escape f r o m t h e e q u a l l y c l a u s t r o p h o b i c East I n d i a n e n c l a v e o f the T u l s i s .  B o t h a u t h o r s d e p i c t a s e c t i o n o f s o c i e t y t h a t has  made t h e middle passage but has n o t a r r i v e d , o n l y v i s i o n i s more i n c l u s i v e .  Naipaul*s  I n Mr. Biswas we see t h e f i g u r e o f  the r o o t l e s s , p e r i p h e r a l man s e t a g a i n s t t h e s t a r k e r o u t l i n e s of both a s t a t i c , decaying  r a c i a l group and a l a r g e r c o l o n i a l  s o c i e t y t h a t i s as y e t a v o i d . A House F o r Mr. Biswas i s perhaps t h e b e s t known West Indian novel.  Kenneth Ramchand s u g g e s t s t h a t i t i s " t h e West  Indian novel of r o o t l e s s n e s s par e x c e l l e n c e . ^ n  an I n d i a n born o f a poor h i g h - c a s t e f a m i l y .  Mr. Biswas i s  His father i s  drowned w h i l e he i s a boy and t h e f a m i l y i s s p l i t up. B i s w a s f a i l s a t j o b a f t e r j o b , becoming i n q u i c k  Mr.  succession,  a p u n d i t - t r a i n e e , an a p p r e n t i c e i n a shop and a s i g n p a i n t e r . D u r i n g t h i s time h i s a d d i c t i o n t o t h e n o v e l s o f H a l l Caine and M a r i e C o r e l l i w i t h t h e i r s t o r i e s o f romance i n temperate c l i m e s adds t o h i s f r u s t r a t i o n .  H i s s i g n - p a i n t i n g l e a d s him t o t h e  T u l s i s , a r e s p e c t e d Hindu land-owning f a m i l y i n Arwacas who hire h i s services.  The T u l s i kingdom i s r u n by M r s . T u l s i and  her b r o t h e r - i n - l a w , S e t h . sons-in-law  Labour i s p r o v i d e d by t h e T u l s i  i n r e t u r n f o r a p l a c e i n t h e communal h o u s e h o l d .  B i s w a s makes a clumsy e f f o r t t o a t t r a c t Shama, one o f t h e T u l s i g i r l s and h i s l o v e n o t e i s found by Mrs. T u l s i .  Immediately,  33  the  o i l e d T u l s i machinery swings i n t o a c t i o n and b e f o r e Biswas  knows what i s happening, he i s a T u l s i s o n - i n - l a w . The T u l s i communalism, w i t h o u t which T u l s i d o m c o u l d n t T  f u n c t i o n , awakens a l l h i s i n s t i n c t s f o r s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n and so b e g i n s h i s l i f e - l o n g war t o r e s i s t i t and throw a spanner i n t h e works.  H i s attempt t o p r e s e r v e h i s i d e n t i t y i s symbol-  i z e d by h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o have h i s own house.  H i s weapons  f o r r e s i s t i n g T u l s i d o m a r e h i s sarcasm, h i s r e l i g i o u s and h i s d i s r e s p e c t f o r a l l t h a t t h e T u l s i s h o l d d e a r . develops a love/hate r e l a t i o n s h i p  unbelief But t h e r e  between him and t h e T u l s i s ,  f o r w h i l e t h e y t h r e a t e n him w i t h s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n , t h e y a l s o p r o v i d e him w i t h a m a k e - s h i f t i d e n t i t y as a T u l s i , and h i s r e b e l l i o n has a double edge.  At l e n g t h , when t h e T u l s i s can no  l o n g e r put up w i t h h i s a t t i t u d e i n a shop a t 'The C h a s e .  The v e n t u r e f a i l s and B i s w a s , Shama  1  and t h e i r t h r e e c h i l d r e n , Tulsis. the  and b e h a v i o r , t h e y s e t him up  Anand, S a v i and Myna, r e t u r n t o t h e  He i s g i v e n a n o t h e r p o s i t i o n ,  as a s u b - o v e r s e e r on  T u l s i sugar-cane e s t a t e a t Green V a l e .  Here Mr.  makes t h e f i r s t o f h i s a t t e m p t s t o b u i l d a house.  Biswas  A period of  c r i s i s i n h i s l i f e approaches and on a stormy n i g h t , as he and Anand l i e i n t h e u n f i n i s h e d house, Biswas i s overcome and i s r e d u c e d t o a s o b b i n g wreck.  He r e t u r n s t o t h e T u l s i s once more.  He t h e n moves t o P o r t - o f - S p a i n where he becomes a newspaper r e p o r t e r and h i s c r e a t i v i t y i s a l l o w e d some o u t l e t . Under p r e s s u r e f r o m Shama,who m i s s e s the communal h o u s e h o l d , he throws h i s l o t i n w i t h t h e T u l s i s once more when t h e y s e l l t h e i r o r i g i n a l house, Hanuman House, and s e t t l e i n a p l a c e  34  called Shorthills.  Here he makes a n o t h e r a b o r t e d attempt t o  b u i l d a house, moves once more w i t h t h e T u l s i s when t h e y abandon S h o r t h i l l s and invade P o r t - o f - S p a i n , and we f i n a l l y see Mr.  Biswas i n h i s own house which i s , i r o n i c a l l y , mortgaged t o  his  uncle. The  opening l i n e e x p r e s s e s t h e l a r g e r i r o n y o f A House  F o r Mr. Biswas.  A f t e r f o r t y - t w o y e a r s , Mr. Mohun Biswas o f no  f i x e d a d d r e s s has f i n a l l y become Mr. Mohun Biswas o f S i k k i m s t r e e t , S t . James, P o r t - o f - S p a i n , o n l y t o d i e f o u r y e a r s  later.  But h i s house, w h i c h i s as p r e c a r i o u s a facade on i n s e c u r e f o u n d a t i o n s as t h e r e s t o f h i s houses, n e v e r t h e l e s s his  symbolises  one g o a l i n l i f e , t o f o r g e an i d e n t i t y amid t h e d i s i n t e -  g r a t i n g r u b b l e o f t h e T u l s i w o r l d and t h e u n c r e a t e d  features  of the l a r g e r c o l o n i a l s o c i e t y . How t e r r i b l e i t would have been, a t t h i s t i m e , to be w i t h o u t i t : t o have d i e d among t h e T u l s i s , amid t h e s q u a l o r o f t h a t l a r g e , d i s i n t e g r a t i n g and i n d i f f e r e n t f a m i l y ... worse, t o have l i v e d w i t h o u t even a t t e m p t i n g t o l a y c l a i m t o one's p o r t i o n o f t h e e a r t h ; t o have l i v e d and d i e d as one had been b o r n , u n n e c e s s a r y and unaccommodated (House, 13) • "A home i s t h e a c c e p t e d framework which h a b i t u a l l y contains our l i f e .  To l o s e one's p s y c h i c c o n t a i n e r i s t o be  c a s t a d r i f t , t o become a wanderer upon t h e f a c e o f t h e e a r t h . " ^ ^ S h u t t l e d back and f o r t h between a s u c c e s s i o n o f houses and p e o p l e , never wanted and never missed, Biswas becomes such a wanderer, w i t h o u t a home t o c a l l h i s own f o r t h e g r e a t e r p a r t of h i s l i f e .  A home g i v e s o r d e r t o t h e memory, p r e s e r v e s t h e  p a s t , g i v e s one a c o n t e x t and an i d e n t i t y , and a c t s as a base  35  on which t o ground one's s e l f . his  own  When Biswas f i n a l l y moves i n t o  home w i t h h i s f a m i l y , t h e n a r r a t o r s t e p s out f r o m  b e h i n d t h e mask: From now on t h e i r l i v e s would be o r d e r e d , t h e i r ' memories c o h e r e n t . The mind, w h i l e i t i s sound, i s m e r c i f u l . And r a p i d l y the memories o f Hanuman House, The Chase, Green V a l e , S h o r t h . i l l s • ' , t h e T u l s i house i n P o r t - o f - S p a i n would become jumbled, b l u r r e d : e v e n t s would be t e l e s c o p e d , many f o r g o t t e n . O c c a s i o n a l l y a nerve of memory would be t o u c h e d ... and a fragment of the f o r g o t t e n e x p e r i e n c e would be d i s l o d g e d , i s o l a t e d , p u z z l i n g .... So l a t e r , and very s l o w l y , i n securer times of d i f f e r e n t s t r e s s e s , when the memories had l o s t the power t o h u r t , w i t h p a i n or j o y , t h e y would f a l l i n t o p l a c e and g i v e back t h e p a s t . (A House, 581) N a i p a u l ' s c o n n e c t i o n between the house, memory, and t h e i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n our e v a l u a t i o n o f t h i s n o v e l as an o f t h e West I n d i a n r o o t l e s s n e s s .  past  expression  To people l i k e Biswas who  have  n e v e r had a 'house', t h e i r memory, and i n a c e r t a i n sense, t h e i r p a s t , has been a n i g h t m a r i s h h i s t o r y o f an u p r o o t i n g I n t h i s , Biswas can be seen as an a r c h e t y p e m o b i l i t y , the m o b i l i t y o f the d i s p o s s e s s e d .  process.  o f t h e West I n d i a n Hence N a i p a u l ' s  i n s i s t e n c e on the c o n n e c t i o n between m o b i l i t y , the consequent d i s r u p t i o n o f memory and a whole p a s t . the l o s s of  Naipaul l i n k s t h i s with  childhood.  Biswas has l i v e d i n so many houses, most o f which have v a n i s h e d w i t h o u t a t r a c e or been d e s t r o y e d ,  t h a t i t i s as i f he  n e v e r r e a l l y e x i s t e d , as i f p a r t s o f h i s l i f e have been o b l i t erated, e s p e c i a l l y h i s childhood. as a b a b y ) .  The  (He i s c a l l e d Mr.  Biswas even  u p r o o t i n g p r o c e s s b e g i n s when h i s f a t h e r d i e s .  " F o r t h e next t h i r t y - f i v e y e a r s he was p l a c e he c o u l d c a l l h i s own,  t o be a wanderer w i t h  w i t h no f a m i l y except t h a t which  no  36  he was  t o attempt t o c r e a t e out o f the e n g u l f i n g w o r l d o f the  T u l s i s " (A House, 4 0 ) . he was  When he pays a v i s i t t o the house where  b o r n , he f i n d s o i l d e r r i c k s i n i t s p l a c e .  mother one C h r i s t m a s , he r e f l e c t s upon how l i v e d i n , and how an appendage.  Visiting his  many p l a c e s he  l i t t l e he was missed, because he was  has  always  " I n none o f t h e s e p l a c e s had he ever been more  t h a n a v i s i t o r , an u p s e t t e r o f r o u t i n e " (A House, 1 3 2 ) .  None  o f t h e s e p l a c e s c a r r y the mark o f h i s absence, and n e i t h e r do his  w i f e and c h i l d r e n whenever he d e s e r t s them or t h e y  Because he has n e v e r had a home, h i s memory and his  him.  consequently  c h i l d h o o d have been v i o l e n t l y d i s l o c a t e d . T h i s a p p l i e s  e q u a l l y t o h i s b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r who married a d u l t s overnight.  change f r o m c h i l d r e n t o  R o l l e d back and f o r t h between  houses, he has n e v e r r e a l l y known h i s c h i l d r e n . t h e i r c h i l d h o o d s " (A House, 5 3 3 ) .  The  " I have missed  quest f o r a house t h e r e -  f o r e becomes an embracing symbol o f t h e West I n d i a n quest f o r a p a s t , f o r c o n t i n u i t y o f memory and f o r p s y c h i c wholeness. Biswas,  l i k e West I n d i a n man,  i s t r y i n g to b u i l d a  Mr.  symbolic  house a g a i n s t a s p l i n t e r e d and d i s r u p t e d past o f s e r v i t u d e and deprivation.  Only by d o i n g so can he o r d e r h i s l i f e , make h i s  memory coherent past."  and l e t i t " f a l l i n t o p l a c e and g i v e back the  I b e l i e v e t h a t N a i p a u l means Biswas t o be r e p r e s e n t a t i v e  i n t h i s sense because a l t h o u g h t h e E a s t I n d i a n s d i d not  ex-  p e r i e n c e s l a v e r y , the metaphor governs the book. S l a v e r y i s one o f t h o s e i n g a t h e r i n g , c r e a t i v e metaphors which have i n them both s t r e n g t h and u n i v e r s a l i t y . I t i s t h i s metaphor w h i c h i n i t i a t e s and sust a i n s A House F o r Mr. B i s w a s . 1 4  37  Both W i l l i a m Walsh and Gordon R o h l e h r have t r a c e d t h i s metaphor i n the novel.  R o h l e h r s u g g e s t s t h a t Hanuman House i s a m i c r o -  cosm o f t h e o l d s l a v e s o c i e t y and t h a t Mrs. T u l s i and S e t h have f u l l y grasped t h e p s y c h o l o g y o f t h e s l a v e system.  Since i t i s  i m p o r t a n t t o t h e p s y c h o l o g y o f t h e s l a v e system t h a t t h e imp r e s s i o n be m a i n t a i n e d t h a t everyone j o i n s i t o f h i s own f r e e will  ( s l a v e r y c r e a t e d t h e e v i d e n c e o f i t s own l e g i t i m a c y ) ,  Biswas i s made t o f e e l t h a t he c o n t r o l s t h e absurd course o f events surrounding h i s ' c o u r t s h i p  1  want t o f o r c e you t o do a n y t h i n g .  and m a r r i a g e .  "We  don't  Are we f o r c i n g you?" (A  House, 9 0 ) . Mrs. T u l s i d i v i d e s power among t h e s i s t e r s and r u l e s by a system o f checks and b a l a n c e s .  By a l l o w i n g h e r  d a u g h t e r s t h e i l l u s i o n o f freedom and d e m o c r a t i c r i g h t s , she p a r t i a l l y c o n t r o l s t h e i r husbands.  They a r e , i n t u r n , e f f e c -  t i v e l y emasculated and i n c u l c a t e d w i t h an i n f e r i o r i t y complex (Mr. Biswas i s t h e f i r s t t o r e s i s t t h i s p s y c h i c  e m a s c u l a t i o n and  Govind f o l l o w s s u i t ) .  and i n d i v i d u a l i s m  Any s i g n o f independence  i s punished i n t h e c h i l d r e n and t h e n o n - c o n f o r m i s t i s r i d i c u l e d and o s t r a c i z e d .  A l l a r e reduced t o t h e same l e v e l o f m e d i o c r i t y .  Biswas i s a l l o w e d t o make t h o s e j o k e s which a f f i r m h i s s e l f contempt and s t r e n g t h e n and j u s t i f y t h e s t e r e o t y p e o t h e r s have o f him. He, i n t u r n , r i d i c u l e s h i m s e l f as a means o f h a v i n g h i s presence acknowledged. t h e Chase s h o p . ^ 1  The T u l s i s p r a c t i s e a b s e n t e e i s m a t  Walsh p o i n t s out t h a t a l l t h e members o f t h e  T u l s i community c a r r y about them t h e mark o f t h e s l a v e , t h e u n n e c e s s a r y p e r s o n , and t h a t a l l a r e o c c u p i e d i n t h e u r g e n t t o g e t o t h e r s t o acknowledge,  so as t o have i t v a l i d a t e d f o r  task  t h e m s e l v e s , t h e i r human n e c e s s i t y .  B e f o r e Biswas even grows  up,  a l i t t l e u n n e c e s s a r y p a r t o f him,  h i ssixth finger,  off  and d i e s . 1 7  Slavery,  i t w i l l be remembered, i n v o l v e d a  t o t a l l a c k o f human n e c e s s i t y ; b e i n g s i m p l y t h i n g turned the v i c t i m from a subject Green V a l e l a b o u r e r s his  authority.  falls  a f u n c t i o n and a  i n t o an o b j e c t .  The  c l e a r l y see t h e v i c t i m i n h i m and f l a u n t  Biswas* g r e a t achievement, t h e r e f o r e , i s i n  0  not becoming a T u l s i s l a v e , n o t d y i n g " u n n e c e s s a r y and unaccommodated" ( t h e t y p i c a l N a i p a u l t e c h n i q u e o f p r e s e n t i n g t h e most p o s i t i v e achievement o f h i s l i f e as a n e g a t i v e —  being  as n o t b e i n g ) . N a i p a u l s rendering 1  v i t a l l y important.  of the T u l s i world i s therefore  By showing them i n t h e i r c l o s e d w o r l d s as  p r i s o n e r s o f t h e p a s t , t h e h o u s e h o l d , not s o c i e t y , becomes t h e s o c i a l u n i t a g a i n s t w h i c h we see t h e i n d i v i d u a l s , and t h e household c l e a r l y e x h i b i t s the s t r u c t u r e o f slave s o c i e t y . T u l s i and S e t h p r o v i d e f o r everybody's needs and wants. i n t u r n , p r o v i d e t h e l a b o u r needed t o r u n t h e regime. quency o f f l o g g i n g s a t Hanuman House i s r e m i n i s c e n t No one i s p a i d ' i n t h e T u l s i e s t a b l i s h m e n t .  Mrs  They, The f r e -  of slavery.  Biswas i s never  p a i d f o r h i s s i g n - p a i n t i n g ; i t i s r e g a r d e d as h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the household. J u s t as s l a v e r y h e l d t h e seeds o f i t s own d e s t r u c t i o n , so does t h e T u l s i s e t - u p .  The T u l s i s l i v e i n T r i n i d a d , b u t  t h e i r whole b e i n g i s o r i e n t e d towards I n d i a .  They have main-  t a i n e d t h e i r c o n n e c t i o n s w i t h I n d i a , and when Owad speaks d i s paragingly  o f I n d i a n s from I n d i a , t h e s i s t e r s "grew grave as  39  t h e y r e a l i z e d t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as the l a s t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f Hindu c u l t u r e " (A House, 54-0).  They d e l i b e r a t e l y  w i t h h o l d t h e m s e l v e s from s o c i e t y and c l u s t e r t o g e t h e r f o r security: D e s p i t e t h e s o l i d i t y o f t h e i r e s t a b l i s h m e n t the T u l s i s had never c o n s i d e r e d themselves s e t t l e d In Arwacas o r even T r i n i d a d . I t was no more t h a n a stage i n t h e j o u r n e y t h a t had begun when P u n d i t T u l s i l e f t I n d i a . Only t h e death o f P u n d i t ' T u l s i had p r e v e n t e d them f r o m g o i n g back t o I n d i a ; and ever s i n c e t h e y had t a l k e d , though l e s s o f t e n than the o l d men who g a t h e r e d i n t h e arcade e v e r y even i n g , o f moving on, t o I n d i a , Demerara, S u r i n a m . (A House, 390) The T u l s i s i n t e r a c t o n l y among t h e m s e l v e s ; r e l i g i o u s a f a n t a s t i c c a p a c i t y f o r r o l e p l a y i n g , and domestic  ritual, entangle-  ments p r o v i d e t h e i r o n l y e m o t i o n a l props and g i v e t h e i r meaning.  A n y t h i n g beyond t h e i r g a t e s i s u n i m p o r t a n t  f o r e i g n t o a l l except t h e t h i r d g e n e r a t i o n . o t h e r hand, s t r i k e s out on h i s own. of  life  and  B i s w a s , on t h e  The c l o s e d , cramped q u a l i t y  t h e i r w o r l d , t h e i n t e r n a l i s e d o r i e n t a t i o n , g i v e an i n c e s t u o u s  t a i n t t o t h e f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e . C An e q u a l l y p o w e r f u l r e n d e r i n g of t h e i n c e s t u o u s p l a n t e r f a m i l y t u r n e d i n on i t s e l f i s g i v e n i n Jean Rhys* Wide Sargasso Sea.)»The consequent i s apparent when t h e communal way  demoralising  o f l i f e fragments n i g h t m a r i s h l y  and i n d i v i d u a l i s m r e i g n s . The T u l s i s , w i t h t h e i r p s y c h i c o r i e n t a t i o n I n d i a , a r e unable t o c o n t r o l t h e i r environment t h r o u g h language.  towards  p h y s i c a l l y or  As t h e n o v e l p r o g r e s s e s , and e s p e c i a l l y i n  t h e S h o r t h i l l s e p i s o d e , t h e i n s i d i o u s p r o c e s s o f decay and  de-  s t r u c t i o n t h a t t h e y seem t o g e n e r a t e from i n s i d e , t h e f r a n t i c s t r u g g l e t o comprehend and c o n t r o l an u n f a m i l i a r  environment  40 t h a t i s n e i t h e r the f a m i l i a r c a n e f i e l d or r i c e l a n d , t a t e s t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f t h e communal system. and c u r r y a l l t h e p l a n t l i f e t h a t seems e d i b l e . scheme i s h a t c h e d and abandoned. land.  precipi-  They b o i l , f r y Scheme a f t e r  They ravage and p l u n d e r the  T h e i r l o s s o f c o n t r o l i s a l s o suggested i n t h e l i n g u i s -  t i c dilemma i n w h i c h t h e y f i n d t h e m s e l v e s .  The f u n c t i o n o f  language b e i n g t o d e s c r i b e t h e u n i v e r s e and t h e r e b y c o n t r o l i t , the  T u l s i s a r e f a c e d w i t h t h e problem o f a r t i c u l a t i n g the West-  ern  environment  i n H i n d i terms, so t h a t t h e y a l t e r n a t e g r o t e s  q u e l y between t h e two languages.  T  By s p e a k i n g i n H i n d i t h e y  n e v e r come t o terms f u l l y w i t h t h e i r environment and so remain linguistically rootless.  As p a r t o f h i s r e b e l l i o n , Biswas r e -  f u s e s t o r e p l y i n H i n d i whenever a T u l s i a d d r e s s e s him i n Hindi.  They need the s u p p o r t o f a . s y m p a t h e t i c I n d i a n e n v i r o n -  ment i n o r d e r not t o seem a n a c h r o n i s t i c .  B e r e f t of t h e com-  f o r t i n g e n c l o s u r e o f Hanuman House and t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n i n Arwacas as a p i o u s , Hindu, landowning f a m i l y , t h e y become mere exotics i n Port-of-Spain. T h e i r n e g a t i v e s t a t e o f e x i s t e n c e extends a l s o t o t h e i r e m o t i o n a l make-up. n e g a t i v e means.  They cannot show emotion except by  At C h r i s t m a s t h e s i s t e r s mask t h e i r e x c i t e m e n t  by frowns and c o m p l a i n t s o f f a t i g u e . aggressive.  Shama a p o l o g i z e s by b e i n g  Scenes o f l o v e between husband and w i f e o r p a r e n t s  and c h i l d r e n a r e few and f a r between and u s u a l l y r e s e r v e d f o r p r i v a t e moments.  Biswas and Anand share a p a i n f u l  relationship,  w i t h " e x a g g e r a t e d a u t h o r i t y " on t h e p a r t o f Biswas and  "exag-  41 gerated  r e s p e c t " on A n a n d s p a r t .  and women l i k e a series not  " F o r Shama and  f  an u n d u t i f u l  (A House,  t o be u n m a r r i e d ,  daughter,  sister,  pathetic and  of l i f e  i s a blank,  to dent. pot,  he  solid  Where i t s e e k s  to reduce  dignity,  he  Tulsi  no m a t t e r  o f h i s dilemma d e r i v e s , f o r he h a s  no  how  must r e s i s t  real  alternative  an u n b o r n  one  hand, and  s o c i e t y where romance, a d v e n t u r e  one  between two  —  experienced.  tant  and  rootlessness,  faces a  The he  no  values  disintecolonial  h e r o i s m a r e t o be an  read absurd  nothings. t h e r e c a n be no h e r o e s ,  of the picaresque or the e x i s t e n t i a l  to note that  and  His choice i s e s s e n t i a l l y  In such a s o c i e t y , heroes  i t and  however, f r o m t h e v o i d  grating  I n d i a n e n c l a v e on  of  efforts  l o n e l y the road.  He  not  way  where i t d e n i e s  with which to r e p l a c e the T u l s i world.  about,  against  must a s s e r t h i s ; where i t  d e p e n d a n c e , he  f o r independence,  on a l l s i d e s ,  The  pitted  a l l t o a communal m e l t i n g  must h o l d on t o h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y ;  poignancy faces  1 9  man  h u l k w h i c h B i s w a s makes p a t h e t i c  to create a f a t a l  strive  i n scope."  alone  preserve h i s iden-  theme o f one  i s tragic  i n d i v i d u a l w o r t h and seeks  "The  collectiveness  Biswas s t a n d s out  i n h i s e f f o r t s t o c r e a t e and  individuality.  a w h o l e way life  childless,  w i f e , m o t h e r , widow"  o f n e g a t i v e n e s s and  where t h e mass swamps t h e i n d i v i d u a l ,  tity  n o t t o be  was  160). In such a world  and  sisters  them, a m b i t i o n , i f t h e word c o u l d be u s e d ,  o f n e g a t i v e s ; not  t o be  her  type.  both these a r c h e t y p a l f i g u r e s  the wanderer.  only It i s  antiimpor-  are f i g u r e s  N a i p a u l has noted the  of  Trinidadian  42  admiration the  f o rthe picaroon.  'sharp character*  T r i n i d a d i a n s , he comments,  who, l i k e  the picaroon,  t r i u m p h s i n a p l a c e where i t i s f e l t  like  s u r v i v e s and  t h a t a l l eminence i s  20 arrived  a t by c r o o k e d n e s s ;  moreover, t h e p i c a r o o n  or anti-  hero i s doubly s u i t e d t o t h e T r i n i d a d s o c i e t y because i t ?1 22 "denied i t s e l f heroes."^ To u s e M a u r i c e S h r o d e r * s t e r m s , the  'deflationary* novel  unlike the *inflationary* more a u t h e n t i c Naipaul  o r *romanesque* n o v e l ,  C a r i b b e a n form.  a slave  to the admiration  society.  h e r o who o u t w i t s  i n t h e European  and h i s t o r i c a l f o rthe picaroon  I n such a s o c i e t y t h e f o l k  would n a t u r a l l y m a n i f e s t  a strong  admiration  the a u t h o r i t i e s .  Naipaul  continues  that picaresque  conditions are unique  tradition  f o rthe t r i c k s t e r  T h u s we have t h e U n c l e Remus  o f t h e American South and t h e B r e r  t h e West I n d i e s .  w o u l d be a  T h i s i s not t o imply  f o r the p e c u l i a r s o c i a l  which gave r i s e  stories  youth i s not a hero,  i s merely f o l l o w i n g s l a v i s h l y  tradition,  in  where e v e r y  Anansi  on t h e s u b j e c t  stories of of the pica-  roon: The p i c a r o o n d e l i g h t i n t r i c k e r y p e r s i s t s .... S l a v e r y , t h e mixed p o p u l a t i o n , t h e absence o f n a t i o n a l p r i d e and t h e c l o s e d c o l o n i a l s y s t e m have t o a r e m a r k a b l e d e g r e e r e - c r e a t e d t h e a t t i tudes of the Spanish-picaroon world. T h i s was an u g l y w o r l d , a j u n g l e , where t h e p i c a r o o n h e r o s t a r v e d u n l e s s he s t o l e , was b e a t e n a l m o s t t o d e a t h when f o u n d o u t , a n d h a d h a d t h e r e f o r e t o g e t i n h i s blows f i r s t whenever p o s s i b l e . 2 3 Biswas i n c o r p o r a t e s hero —  many o f t h e f e a t u r e s o f t h e p i c a r e s q u e  the e s s e n t i a l s i t u a t i o n  o f t h e wanderer, t h e o u t s i d e r  who b e l o n g s nowhere, h i s e p i s o d i c l i f e ,  t h e a d v e r s i t y he f a c e s  43  and h i s s a t i r i c v i e w o f s o c i e t y . I t i s a l s o u s e f u l t o c o n s i d e r t h e n o v e l i n terms o f the e x i s t e n t i a l t r a d i t i o n .  Perhaps t h e h a p p i e s t compromise  can be found i n t h e term 'neo-picaresque', some modern e x i s t e n t i a l quests. **' 2  a term g i v e n t o  An a n t i - h e r o Biswas c e r -  t a i n l y i s . Whereas many p i c a r e s q u e n o v e l i s t s use t h e m o t i f o f t h e i l l e g i t i m a t e b i r t h o f t h e hero t o parody t h e m y s t e r i o u s '1  25  b i r t h o f t h e t r a d i t i o n a l hero, ^ N a i p a u l goes a l l out and g i v e s B i s w a s a m y s t e r i o u s b i r t h complete w i t h absurd prophecies.  mock-heroic  L i k e Oedipus he i s f a t e d t o k i l l h i s f a t h e r ; un-  l i k e Oedipus he f u l f i l l s t h e "prophecy" i n t h e most r i d i c u l o u s way.  H i s b a s i l i s k l o o k i s ominously  viewed i n d i r e c t l y by h i s f a t h e r — c l e a r coconut o i l . fly.  h i n t e d a t ; he has t o be  i n a brass p l a t e f i l l e d  with  As i t t u r n s out, he cannot i n t i m i d a t e a  H i s name h i n t s a t d i v i n e f a v o u r ; i t i s 'Mohun*, meaning  'Beloved o f t h e gods'. his l i f e .  He i s hounded by m i s f o r t u n e  I t i s s a i d t h a t he w i l l  and a l e c h e r .  throughout  become a l i a r , s p e n d t h r i f t  He i s an u n c o n v i n c i n g l i a r , h i s romance w i t h  Shama i s an absurd t r a i n o f e v e n t s over which he has no c o n t r o l , and l i f e - l o n g p o v e r t y p r e v e n t s h i m from becoming a s p e n d t h r i f t . When he and Shama have t h e i r f i r s t  q u a r r e l , he i s t h e one t o  pack up and go home t o mother. A l t e r , w r i t i n g on t h e p i c a r e s q u e n o v e l , comments, "The  a n t i - h e r o f i n d s h i m s e l f dropped i n t o a w o r l d as s t o l i d l y  indifferent  t o h i s own e x i s t e n c e as any absurd u n i v e r s e f a c e d  by t h e p r o t a g o n i s t o f an e x i s t e n t i a l n o v e l . " ? 2  i s Biswas' p o s i t i o n .  This  clearly  He i s c o n t i n u a l l y t r y i n g t o cope w i t h an  44  environment t h a t i s a l i e n t o h i s dreams and i n d i f f e r e n t t o h i s existence.  He i d e n t i f i e s w i t h the heroes of h i s n o v e l s ,  but o n l y up t o a p o i n t . but "The  heroes had  where a m b i t i o n s  L i k e them he i s poor and s t r u g g l i n g ,  r i g i d ambitions  and l i v e d i n c o u n t r i e s  c o u l d be pursued and had a meaning.  He  had  no a m b i t i o n , and i n t h i s hot l a n d , a p a r t from opening a shop, or buying a  raotorbus,  (A House, 79).  what c o u l d he do?  What c o u l d he  invent?"  He has no i n n a t e d i g n i t y and none i s a l l o w e d  him except at T a r a ' s p r a y e r s when he has a temporary d i g n i t y as Brahmin f o r a day.  T u l s i d o m t h r i v e s on i n d i f f e r e n c e t o  p e o p l e as i n d i v i d u a l s . B i s w a s ' most t y p i c a l mood i s t h a t o f t h e u p r o o t e d man  —  anxiety.  He i s c o n s t a n t l y overwhelmed by h i s d i s p e n -  s a b i l i t y and c o n t i n g e n c y .  He i s at the mercy o f the f l u c t u a -  t i o n s o f o t h e r s ' f o r t u n e s f o r most o f h i s l i f e .  Because o f  h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s of s e l f , he has a c a p a c i t y f o r b e i n g t o the utmost nakedness i n t i m e s of c r i s e s .  One  reduced  such moment  i s a t Green V a l e as he and Anand huddle i n the u n f i n i s h e d house w i t h the storm r a g i n g around them.  H i s f e a r o f the d a r k n e s s ,  h i s f e a r of p e o p l e and h i s c l a u s t r o p h o b i a had been e a t i n g away at him f o r some t i m e , making him f l u c t u a t e between n o n e n t i t y and  being: Who i s y o u r f a t h e r ? You. Wrong. I am not y o u r f a t h e r . God i s y o u r f a t h e r . Oh. And.what about you? I am j u s t somebody. Nobody a t a l l . I am j u s t a man you know. (A House, 279)  45 I t i s o f course i r o n i c t h a t w h i l e t h e T u l s i t h r e a t reduces him t o t h i s , i t i s t h e T u l s i s who g i v e him some i d e n t i t y , hence h i s i n d e c i s i o n and f l u c t u a t i o n when i t comes t o a f i n a l break f r o m them.  A f t e r h i s breakdown t h e n i g h t o f t h e storm, he i s  t a k e n t o Hanuman House and t h e r e h i s s h a t t e r e d s e l f f i n d s some comfort.  The v e r y s o l i d i t y o f Hanuman House, w h i c h he  normally  f i n d s t h r e a t e n i n g , becomes r e a s s u r i n g when he awakes t h e n e x t morning. The T u l s i way o f l i f e i s a c h o k i n g  embrace o f communal-  i s m and r e d u c t i v i t y , and Biswas* f e a r o f t h i s f a c e l e s s mass t h a t c l o s e s i n on him and t h r e a t e n s t o s n u f f out what i s best i n him i s v i t a l l y l i n k e d t o h i s quest f o r a house.  Naipaul's  h a n d l i n g o f t h e T u l s i mass and t h e c o l o n i a l v o i d i s t h e r e f o r e a s k i l f u l use o f t h e t e c h n i q u e s  of s a t i r e .  assumes an i m p l i c i t moral s t a n d a r d  Since the s a t i r i s t  o r norm a g a i n s t which d e v i -  a t i o n s o f t h e g r o t e s q u e o r t h e absurd a r e t o be measured, Naipaul's  t a s k i s d o u b l y d i f f i c u l t when we c o n s i d e r h i s v i s i o n  of t h e T r i n i d a d norm. What i s i t s norm? and The S u f f r a g e  What does h i s s o c i e t y a c c e p t as r a t i o n a l ?  As M i g u e l S t r e e t , of E l v i r a - ^  1  2 9  The M y s t i c Masseur,-^  make c l e a r , N a i p a u l  0  sees T r i n i d a d -  i a n s as n a t u r a l e c c e n t r i c s and o d d i t i e s w i t h a g r e a t t a l e n t a t s e l f - c a r r i c a t u r e , and t h e s o c i e t y as an a n a r c h i s t i c , f a r c i c a l one w i t h o u t  t r a d i t i o n s , standards o r i n f l e x i b l e morals.  It .  i s a n a t i o n o f b u f f o o n s and p r a c t i c a l j o k e r s , b e n i g n l y t o l e r a n t towards t h e most extreme b e h a v i o r .  The norm i s t h e r e f o r e no  norm -- i t i s extreme, f a r c i c a l , absurd and g r o t e s q u e .  Naipaul  t h e r e f o r e r e j e c t s b o t h t h e 'norm' and d e v i a t i o n s f r o m i t .  46 T h i s accounts f o r h i s emotional  d i s t a n c e from t h e scene  he s a t i r i s e s and i t i n t e n s i f i e s t h e q u a l i t y o f h i s s a t i r e , for  the greater the emotional  d i s t a n c e between t h e s a t i r i s t  and t h e o b j e c t o f h i s s a t i r e , t h e more detached he i s , " t h e more w i l l t h e swarm o f m i n u s c u l e c h a r a c t e r s f a l l i n t o t h e neat i n t e l l e c t u a l p a t t e r n imposed by t h e mind o f t h e s a t i r i s t . ^  2  Hanuman House has a l l t h e q u a l i t i e s o f t h e s a t i r i c scene.  I t i s d i s o r d e r l y , crowded, packed t o t h e p o i n t o f  b u r s t i n g with miscellaneous grotesque.  people and t h i n g s ; t h e f a c e s a r e  The scene where Mr. B i s w a s i s b e i n g  questioned  about h i s l o v e note t o Sharma i s B o s c h - l i k e i n i t s d e t a i l s -c u r i o u s c h i l d r e n p e e p i n g a t him and b e i n g dragged away by r i n g e d hands, f a c e s o f women and c h i l d r e n peeping out f r o m t h e k i t c h e n door-way.  Hanuman House, i t s e l f a g r o t e s q u e s t r u c t u r e w i t h  s t a t u e s o f t h e monkey-god Hanuman e r e c t e d a t t h e c o r n e r s o f the r o o f , i s packed w i t h people caught i n t h e i r a n i m a l f u n c t i o n s the e a t e r s , t h e s q u e l c h e r s , and p e o p l e r i d d l e d w i t h t h e weakn e s s e s o f t h e f l e s h -- b o i l s , eczemas and l i c e .  Throughout a l l  t h i s , Biswas must r e t a i n h i s v i s i o n , a p r e c a r i o u s i d e a l t h a t i s always i n danger o f s l i p p i n g i n t o t h e d a r k n e s s .  And y e t , i t  i s a t r i b u t e t o N a i p a u l t h a t he m a i n t a i n s a g e n i a l  Chaucerian  tone t h r o u g h o u t .  M a l i c e and d e r i s i o n a r e absent.  Lamming s Season o f Adventure i s l e s s moulded by an 1  artistic  v i s i o n as by a s o c i a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s ,  propose s o l u t i o n s t o West I n d i a n problems.  and a d e s i r e t o  I n the novel, the  c o l o u r e d g i r l F o l a ' s backward g l a n c e i n t o h e r p e r s o n a l and  —  r a c i a l p a s t p r e c i p i t a t e s a young n a t i o n ' s s e a r c h f o r i t s o r i g i n s and an assessment o f i t s d u a l c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e , so t h a t b o t h move f o r w a r d i n an a r t i s t i c c l i m a x t o t h e sound o f s t e e l drums - - a t once A f r i c a n and West I n d i a n .  The n o v e l r e -  v o l v e s around an i n t r i c a t e network o f paradoxes — r a c i a l , n a t i o n a l and c u l t u r a l —  personal,  and such i s t h e p r e c a r i o u s  s e c u r i t y and f o u n d a t i o n o f San C r i s t o b a l , t h a t an i n d i v i d u a l ' s quest i s enough t o b r i n g t h e whole s t r u c t u r e t u m b l i n g down. From i t s ashes, a second r e p u b l i c , an amalgam o f t h e two h i t h e r t o u n r e c o n c i l e d c u l t u r e s i t has i n h e r i t e d , w i l l presumably be  born. I n F o l a i s c o n c e n t r a t e d t h e dilemma o f t h e c o l o u r e d  who has t u r n e d h i s back on h i s A f r i c a n a n c e s t r y and h e r i t a g e ; an added t w i s t i s g i v e n t o h e r s y m b o l i c p o s i t i o n o f b e l o n g i n g t o two w o r l d s by t h e f a c t t h a t we do n o t know i f h e r f a t h e r i s negro o r w h i t e ( h e r mother had r e l a t i o n s w i t h both a negro and a w h i t e t h e same day and does n o t know which one f a t h e r e d Fola).  I n t h i s way, Lamming t r i e s t o c a p t u r e t h e i n s e p a r a -  b i l i t y o f t h e d i f f e r e n t elements o f t h e West I n d i a n h e r i t a g e . F o l a ' s awakening o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s i s t r i g g e r e d by h e r 33  v i s i t to a tonelle,  an A f r i c a n s e r p e n t c u l t t h a t has s u r -  v i v e d i n San C r i s t o b a l , and h e r consequent r e a l i s a t i o n o f how intimate her r e l a t i o n s h i p i s with A f r i c a .  Her quest f o r t h e  t r u e s e l f takes the form of a passionate search f o r h e r f a t h e r i t e n t a i l s r e j e c t i n g h e r s t e p - f a t h e r and h e r E n g l i s h l i f e and coming i n t o i n t i m a t e c o n t a c t w i t h t h e b l a c k masses.  styl She  e n l i s t s t h e a i d o f a b l a c k a r t i s t , C h i k i , and t o g e t h e r t h e y  48  c r e a t e a p o r t r a i t o f her f a t h e r .  The  murder o f a h i g h  official  p l u n g e s t h e i s l a n d i n a mass s e a r c h f o r h i s murderer, whom F o l a d e c l a r e s t o be h e r f a t h e r .  The  p o r t r a i t , presumably a  composite h a l f - b l a c k , h a l f - w h i t e , i s p r i n t e d on p o s t e r s the i s l a n d i s at once engaged i n a s e a r c h The  i n t o i t s own  n e w l y - a c q u i r e d Independence does not s u r v i v e the  and a t t h e end,  the new  of i t s f a i l u r e and traditions  and past.  crisis  l e a d e r , Dr. Baako, o u t l i n e s the  proposes how  t h e y are t o a p p r o p r i a t e  cause their  meaningfully.  The  ' t o n e l l e ' we w i t n e s s i n the opening scene o f t h e  n o v e l i s a West A f r i c a n s e r p e n t c u l t t h a t was t o t h e West I n d i e s .  brought by  slaves  I t i s a ceremony f o r the r e s u r r e c t i o n o f  the dead, d u r i n g w h i c h t h e dead come back t o speak about t h e i r p a s t r e l a t i o n s w i t h the l i v i n g and t h e l i v i n g come t o h e a r "whether t h e r e may reforming  be any g u i d e t h a t may  t h e i r present c o n d i t i o n . " ^  4  p r e s e n t and f u t u r e a l l come t o g e t h e r ; the p a s t and  a k i n d o f prophecy.  h e l p them towards  I n the t o n e l l e , p a s t , i t i s a t once r o o t e d  in  As Kenneth Ramchand p o i n t s  out, s i n c e the ceremony i s f o r the r e s u r r e c t i o n o f the dead, i t l e n d s i t s e l f s y m b o l i c a l l y t o the theme o f the  novel:  The m i d d l e - c l a s s West I n d i a n ' s d e n i a l of the masses, and h i s shame o f A f r i c a are seen as o b s t a c l e s t o t h e f u l f i l l m e n t o f the p e r s o n , and the i n a u t h e n t i c e x i s t e n c e of the u n f u l f i l l e d p e r s o n i s a k i n d o f d e a t h . F o l a i s imagined as such a dead p e r s o n , and the c r e a t i v e t a s k o f the n o v e l i s t o probe t h i s c o n d i t i o n and t o f e e l _ f o r the problems and p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f r e - b i r t h . To deny one's past i s t o be s p i r i t u a l l y dead, t o be "a s t r a n g e r w i t h i n one's own  forgotten  gates."  forever  49 As a p r i v i l e g e d c o l o u r e d g i r l , F o l a has been taught a l l the refinements  o f h e r c l a s s i n San C r i s t o b a l , which  means a European u p b r i n g i n g .  T h i s p r o c e s s o f c u l t u r a l impos-  i t i o n and t h e d e n i a l o f h e r negro a n c e s t r y c u t s F o l a o f f f r o m her p a s t and t h e i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t t h e c o l o u r e d  middle-class  i s s p l i t between t h e a u t h e n t i c and t h e i n a u t h e n t i c s e l f :  the  r e a l s e l f i s t h e s e l f t h a t has a sense o f i t s A f r i c a n p a s t , that i s attuned t o the world of f e e l i n g the t o n e l l e represents; the bogus s e l f has opted f o r t h e d r y , dead, s t e r i l e E n g l i s h h e r i t a g e ( I t i s r e g r e t t a b l e t h a t Lamming uses t h e o l d c l i c h e s ) . P o w e l l , a negro w i t h a p a t h o l o g i c a l h a t r e d o f c o l o u r e d s , des c r i b e s the s p l i t : Look a t h e r ( F o l a ) good ... e d u c a t i o n an* c l a s s j u s t t w i s t t h a t g i r l mouth r i g h t out o* shape. L i k e t h e r e s t she l e a r n f a s t how t o t a l k two ways .... She got o p e n - a i r t a l k an* i n s i d e t a l k .... L i k e t o n i g h t she go t a l k g r e a t w i t h t h e s t r a n g e r man. Grammar an* c l a u s e ... an* a l l t h a t . But i n s i d e , l i k e between you an* me, she tongue make t h e same r a t - t r a p n o i s e . Then she t a l k r e a l .... I s how them a l l i s . (Season, 21) F o l a i s t a k e n t o t h e t o n e l l e by h e r European t e a c h e r ,  Chariot,  who r e c o g n i s e s h e r a f f i n i t i e s w i t h t h e n a t i v e women who dance the v e r v e r s .  C h a r i o t i s h i m s e l f a s e l f - e x i l e who has come t o  San C r i s t o b a l t o seek a d v e n t u r e , h a v i n g r e j e c t e d h i s European h e r i t a g e as a monotonous, s t e r i l e one.  He f e e l s i t h i s d u t y  t o f o r c e F o l a t o g l a n c e backwards a t h e r p a s t .  " C h a r i o t was  sure t h e r e was some h i d d e n p a r a l l e l o f f e e l i n g between t h e girl had  ... and t h e c o a r s e  exuberant f a c e s o f t h e crowd w h i c h  s u d d e n l y grown h y s t e r i c a l i n t h e t o n e l l e .  Social refine-  50  ment had become F o l a s n a t u r a l atmosphere, y e t she had kept f  the raw,  u n b r i d l e d c e r t a i n t y o f i n s t i n c t w h i c h had t o s s e d  t h o s e women t h r o u g h t h e dance around t h e bamboo p o l e "  (Season,  24).  The  atmosphere o f t h e t o n e l l e makes an a s s a u l t on  F o l a ' s senses and shocks h e r i n t o t h e r e a l i s a t i o n t h a t she s h a r e s t h i s p a s t w i t h t h e b l a c k crowd.  Her r e l a t i o n t o t h e  t o n e l l e i s " p e r s o n a l and n e a r " , and so b e g i n s h e r j o u r n e y o f r e t u r n t o h e r A f r i c a n p a s t , a p a s t t h a t i s " p e r s o n a l and near" because i t r e c a l l s t h e d e p a r t u r e t h e s e r p e n t c u l t w i t h them.  o f those s l a v e s who had brought  She commits h e r s e l f t o u n e a r t h i n g  t h a t s i d e o f h e r s e l f t h a t i s o b s c u r e d under e d u c a t i o n and upb r i n g i n g , t h e s i d e o f h e r t h a t responds i n s t i n c t i v e l y t o t h e rhythm o f t h e s t e e l drums. The  e v e n t s a t t h e t o n e l l e t h a t n i g h t have p a r t i c u l a r  reference t o her.  One o f t h e dead t h a t r e t u r n s t o speak a t  the t o n e l l e i s a boy who was d e s e r t e d by h i s mother w h i l e he was  alive.  He had spent h i s l i f e  searching f o r her i n vain.  C r i m , one o f t h e negro p e a s a n t s a t t h e t o n e l l e , comments on the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h i s : I s t h e b i g g e s t , n a t ' r a l t h i n g any man want t o know. Who work on who t o g i v e you l i f e ? Which man you can c a l l f a t h e r , however i t happen,, w h i c h woman you can c a l l mother whatever h e r past p o s i t i o n ? I s t h e b i g g e s t n a t ' r a l t h i n g . (Season, 4 7 ) T h i s has a t w o - f o l d r e f e r e n c e t o F o l a . "it  I n the f i r s t  place,  i s a g a i n s t a l l custom f o r t h e g u i l t y t o s t a y away" from a  t o n e l l e , and so i t i s e n t i r e l y a p p r o p r i a t e t h a t F o l a , who has  51 d e n i e d h e r p a s t , l i k e the mother who s h o u l d be a t t h e t o n e l l e .  has d e n i e d h e r  S e c o n d l y , i t makes F o l a  son, realise  the i n c o m p l e t e n e s s and u n n a t u r a l n e s s o f h e r e x i s t e n c e , f o r she doesn't know who become one.  She  h e r f a t h e r i s . The  two  quests therefore  makes i t c l e a r t o h e r s t e p - f a t h e r t h a t  doesn't r e g a r d him as her f a t h e r .  She  she  s t a r t s on a " h i s t o r y o f  needs; a season of a d v e n t u r e " and h e r quest t a k e s h e r t o C h i k i the  artist. C h i k i i s caught i n a s i m i l a r predicament.  He i s a r t i s -  t i c a l l y p a r a l y s e d by t h e c o n f l i c t o f h i s d u a l h e r i t a g e , C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n , a n d the A f r i c a n / W e s t I n d i a n one.  the  His  p a i n t i n g s move f r o m C h r i s t i a n themes, the m i r a c u l o u s t r a n s f o r mation of w a t e r i n t o wine a t Canna and the r e s u r r e c t i o n o f Lazarus,  t o a v i s i o n of h i s own  failing inspiration, a crippled  hand p l u n g i n g underground.  His a r t i s i t i c c r i s i s i s i n t e n s i f i e d  by h i s i n a b i l i t y t o c a p t u r e  sound i n h i s p a i n t i n g s ; he  t h i s as an a r t i s t i c f a i l u r e .  These paradoxes are  views  resolved  t e m p o r a r i l y a t t h e end and h i s p a i n t i n g s come t o l i f e , when the v i c t o r i o u s s t e e l drums l e d by G o r t , who  i s p l a y i n g the drum  dug  up f r o m t h e grave of J a c k 0 * L a n t e r n , march towards Freedom Square.  There i s t h e m i r a c u l o u s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  o f drums i n t o  music and t h e c a p t u r i n g o f sound, the f u s i o n o f C h r i s t i a n and A f r i c a n / W e s t I n d i a n t r a d i t i o n s i n the hymns t h a t are on t h e drums, and f r o m the g r a v e . t h e two  played  the r e s u r r e c t i o n o f J a c k 0*Lantern's drum The  c r i p p l e d hand i s v i c a r i o u s l y c r e a t i v e  t r a d i t i o n s are r e c o n c i l e d  and  temporarily.  When F o l a and C h i k i c r e a t e h e r f a t h e r i n p a i n t and  the  52  p o r t r a i t i s d i s p l a y e d throughout  San C r i s t o b a l as t h e mur-  d e r e r o f a h i g h o f f i c i a l , the p e r s o n a l and n a t i o n a l quest become one as the whole n a t i o n searches f o r him. have been your f a t h e r m i s s i n ' t h e way man w i t h l o o k i n and s e a r c h i n . "  " I t might  t h a t f a c e haunt e v e r y  T h i s i s as i t s h o u l d be, s i n c e  Fola's f a t h e r i s a mysterious combination  o f b l a c k and  white,  and the s e a r c h becomes, by i m p l i c a t i o n , a n a t i o n a l backward g l a n c e a t t h e p a s t , p o s i n g t h e fundamental West I n d i a n q u e s t i o n of i d e n t i t y :  Who  am I ?  Lamming s e l e c t s t h e d i s t i n c t i v e West I n d i a n sound o f the s t e e l drums as t h e b a s i s f o r a s o l u t i o n t o t h e dichotomy.  The  cultural  music i t s e l f i s a m o t i f i n the n o v e l , sometimes  n e a r , sometimes d i s t a n t , but seldom absent.  As Kenneth Ramchand  p o i n t s o u t , Season o f Adventure i s t h e f i r s t l i t e r a r y c e l e b r a t i o n o f the s t e e l band.-^  The drums a r e p o r t r a y e d  the n o v e l as the r e p o s i t o r y o f the peasant  throughout  consciousness,  s p e a k i n g a language t h a t i s more immediate t o t h e m a j o r i t y t h a n t h e S t a n d a r d E n g l i s h o f t h e middle c l a s s .  They a r e r e f e r r e d t o  s e v e r a l t i m e s as " t a l k i n g drums", and P o w e l l , who  has t r o u b l e  a r t i c u l a t i n g -- he i s haunted by the t h r e a t o f t h e f a i l u r e words t o come —  and whose tongue t r i p s over d i s c o n n e c t e d  l a b l e s , responds i n s t i n c t i v e l y t o the drums. drum c a l l him l i k e a human v o i c e . d i v o r c e between language and l i f e .  near"  (Season,  59).  syl-  He can h e a r G o r t ' s  Gort e x p e r i e n c e s a s i m i l a r "When words d i d not  w i t h what t h e y were d o i n g t h e y knew i t was was  of  connect  a warning t r o u b l e  Language i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n San  Cristobal's higher c i r c l e s .  The m i d d l e - c l a s s p l a c e g r e a t  em-  53  p h a s i s on e l o c u t i o n and t r y t o outlaw t h e drums and  the  t o n e l l e as s i g n s of backwardness.  precipi-  When t h e c r i s i s ,  t a t e d by t h e murder, t o p p l e s the R e p u b l i c , Dr. Baako proposes t h a t , s i n c e language was f i r s t Republic,  t h e cause o f t h e f a i l u r e o f  t h e y must f i n d a language t h a t was  immediate t h a n t h e language o f the drums.  the  no  less  I n o t h e r words, the  i n s t i n c t i v e c o n t r o l t h a t t h e p l a y e r s have o v e r t h e i r drums s h o u l d be t h e i r model i n the a p p r o p r i a t i o n o f t h e i r  cultural  past. The Second R e p u b l i c and the West I n d i a n n a t i o n , Lamming i s u r g i n g , must not o n l y t a k e a backward g l a n c e at'--'its o r i g i n s , i t must use t h e p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n o f t h e Drum Boys t o t h e i r drums as a model f o r the c r e a t i o n of a l a n g u a g e , and f o r t h e m e a n i n g f u l and r e l e v a n t a p p r o p r i a t i o n o f t h e i r double c u l t u r a l heritage.-*'  FOOTNOTES  The C h i l d r e n of Sisyphus (London: New Authors L i m i t e d , 1969). Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t and w i l l be c i t e d as ' C h i l d r e n . 1  2  A House F o r Mr. Biswas (Middlesex: Penguin, 1963. F i r s t p u b l i s h e d 1961).. Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l appear i n the t e x t and w i l l be c i t e d as *A House*. ^Season o f Adventure (London: M i c h a e l Joseph, 1965). Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n . w i l l appear i n the t e x t and w i l l be c i t e d as *Season*. ^The Growth of The Modern B r i t i s h West I n d i e s , p. 19. The Adventures of C a t u l l u s K e l l y 1969), p. 193.  (London: Hutchinson,  ^In The Three Novels o f Roger Mais (London: Jonathan Cape, 1966), p. 288. ' I n The Myth o f Sisyphus and Other Essays, t r a n s . J u s t i n 0*Brien (New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1958. F i r s t published 1942), p. 6. 7  F r e d e r i c k K a r l and Leo Hamalian, The Imagination (New York: Fawcett, 1965), p. l T ^ ^ I r r a t i o n a l Man,  Existential  pp. 17-18.  -^The E x i s t e n t i a l Imagination, p. 3 1 1 1  The  Myth o f Sisyphus and Other Essays, p.  14.  12 In The West I n d i a n Novel and i t s Background Faber and Faber, 1970), . p. 148. 1 3  Irrational  Man,  (London:  pp. 21-22.  • W i l l i a m Walsh, A M a n i f o l d V o i c e (London: Chatto and Windus, 1970), p. 71.  54  55  15  Gordon R o h l e h r , " C h a r a c t e r and R e b e l l i o n i n A House F o r Mr. B i s w a s , " New W o r l d Q u a r t e r l y , 4 , 4 (1968) pp. 66*-r72. T h i s / a r t i c l e i s .the s o u r c e o f most o f the o b s e r v a t i o n s i n t h i s p a r a g r a p h up t o t h i s p o i n t . M a n i f o l d V o i c e , p. 7 1 . Walsh t r a c e s t h e theme o f s l a v e r y i n N a i p a u l ' s e a r l i e r works as. w e l l . 1 7  Ibid.,  p.  72.  1 8  Ibid.,  p.  75.  Gordon R o h l e h r , " P r e d e s t i n a t i o n , F r u s t r a t i o n and Symbolic Darkness i n N a i p a u l ' s A House F o r Mr. B i s w a s " C a r i b b e a n Q u a r t e r l y , 1 0 . 1 (March 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 5 . 1<7>  20  The M i d d l e Passage, p. 2 1  Ibid.,  p.  72.  41.  I n h i s essay "The N o v e l As A Genre" from Murray D a v i s , ed., The N o v e l : Modern E s s a y s i n C r i t i c i s m (New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e H a l l , 1 9 6 9 ) , p.. 5 1 . ~ 2 3  T h e M i d d l e Passage, p.  73.  01  R o b e r t A l t e r , Rogue's P r o g r e s s : S t u d i e s i n t h e P i c a r e s q u e Novel ( M a s s a c h u s e t t s : H a r v a r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 6 4 ) , p. v i i . 2 5  I b i d . , p.  110.  26 p.  " C h a r a c t e r and R e b e l l i o n i n A House F o r Mr.  66.  Biswas,"  27  'Rogue's P r o g r e s s , p. 5 % o b e r t C. E l l i o t t , The Power o f S a t i r e (New J e r s e y : P r i n c e t o n U n i v . P r e s s , I 9 6 0 ) , p. 266. 2  2<7>  3  M i g u e l S t r e e t (London: Andre Deutsch,  1959).  °The M y s t i c Masseur (London: Andre D e u t s c h ,  1957)  56  3 1  T h e S u f f r a g e o f E l v i r a (London: Andre Deutsch,  -^Rogue's P r o g r e s s , p.  1958)  14.  A ceremony d e s c r i b e d i n The P l e a s u r e s o f E x i l e (London: M i c h a e l J o s e p h , I 9 6 0 ) , p p . . 9 - l Q seems t o be t h e b a s i s of t h e t o n e l l e . " T h i s Ceremony of t h e S o u l s i s r e g a r d e d by t h e H a i t i a n peasant as a solemn communion; f o r he h e a r s , a t f i r s t hand, t h e s e c r e t s o f t h e Dead. The c e l e b r a n t s are m a i n l y r e l a t i v e s o f t h e deceased who, ever s i n c e t h e i r d e a t h , have been l o c k e d i n w a t e r . I t i s t h e d u t y o f t h e Dead t o r e t u r n and o f f e r , on t h i s momentous n i g h t , a f u l l and honest r e p o r t of t h e i r p a s t r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e l i v i n g .... I t i s the duty o f t h e Dead t o speak, s i n c e t h e i r r e l e a s e f r o m t h a t purg a t o r y o f Water cannot be r e a l i s e d u n t i l t h e y have f u l f i l l e d t h e c o n t r a c t which t h i s ceremony s y m b o l i s e s .... The l i v i n g demand t o h e a r whether t h e r e i s any need f o r f o r g i v e n e s s , f o r r e d e m p t i o n ; whether, i n f a c t , t h e r e may be any g u i d e which may h e l p them towards r e f o r m i n g t h e i r p r e s e n t c o n d i t i o n . Diff e r e n t as t h e y may be i n t h e i r p r e s e n t s t a t e o f e x i s t e n c e , t h o s e a l i v e and t h o s e now Dead — t h e i r a m b i t i o n s p o i n t t o a s i m i l a r end. They are i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i r F u t u r e . 3 3  01  The s i m i l a r i t y o f t h e ceremony d e s c r i b e d i n The P l e a s u r e s o f E x i l e and t h e t o n e l l e , and t h e s y m b o l i c i m p l i c a t i o n s both h o l d , would w a r r a n t our assuming t h a t t h e y are t h e same. 3 5  The West I n d i a n N o v e l and I t s Background, p. 3 6  Ibid.,  p.  136.  3 7  Ibid.,  pp.  137-138.  143.  £"7  CHAPTER I I I THE IMMIGRANT Emigration  i s an e x t e n s i o n o f t h e West I n d i a n ex-  p e r i e n c e ; f o r t h e m a j o r i t y o f West I n d i a n w r i t e r s , i t i s as much a p a r t o f t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e  as t h e i s l a n d s t h e y  S a l k e y ' s The A d v e n t u r e s o f C a t u l l u s K e l l y  1  left.  i s prefaced  e x t r a c t f r o m a B.B.C. t a l k by S t u a r t H i l l t h a t i s worth  by an quoting  at l e n g t h . E v e r y c o u n t r y has a s t o r e o f c o l l e c t i v e memories; I mean t h e memories w h i c h combine c e r t a i n p l a c e s w i t h c e r t a i n e x p e r i e n c e s w h i c h seem p a r t i c u l a r l y symbolic o f t h e c u l t u r e and h i s t o r y o f t h a t c o u n t r y , and a r e m e a n i n g f u l , c o l l e c t i v e l y , t o everyone l i v i n g t h e r e ; though, as an i n d i v i d u a l , a man may n o t have l i v e d i n t h a t k i n d o f p l a c e o r had t h a t k i n d o f e x p e r i e n c e . West I n d i a n s i n h a b i t c e r t a i n c o l l e c t i v e memor i e s . The f i r s t i s t h e peasant and v i l l a g e memory .... The second i s t h e i n c r e d i b l e jumble and s c u r r y o f l i f e i n t h e downtown s e c t i o n o f any o f t h e b i g g e r towns .... The t h i r d i s n o t o f t h e West I n d i e s a t a l l . I t i s t h e memory o f t h e f r e e z i n g b e d - s i t t e r i n E a r l s Court o r W10; i t i s t h e s a d , b i t t e r - s w e e t memory o f e m i g r a t i o n ; f o r some o f u s , i t i s now t h e s h a r p e s t and most m e a n i n g f u l c o l l e c t i v e r e m i n i s c e n c e o f a l l . These c o l l e c t i v e memories a r e p a r t o f what •being a West I n d i a n * means f o r us now; t h e r e i s , i n each o f them, t h e key t o a p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t l o o k i n our h i s t o r y , o u r way o f l i f e , our a t t i t u d e s , and our l i t e r a t u r e . The second most prominent s u b j e c t o f West I n d i a n l i t e r a t u r e , a p a r t from l i f e  i n t h e West I n d i e s , i s t h e emigrant  l i v i n g away f r o m t h e West I n d i e s , c u t o f f f r o m whatever r o o t s he d i d have.  Even i n n o v e l s s e t i n t h e West I n d i e s , t h e f i g u r e  o f t h e emigre" i s a f a m i l i a r one a t t h e end. 57  I t follows that  58  t h e West I n d i a n r o o t l e s s n e s s t h a t has been the s u b j e c t o f the previous chapter i s exacerbated the support  i n the immigrant n o v e l s when  of a f a m i l i a r environment i s withdrawn.  Whether the n o v e l s are s e t i n England, as are most, n o t a b l y by S e l v o n , S a l k e y , Lamming and B r a i t h w a i t e , o r i n Canada, where the B a r b a d i a n ,  A u s t i n C l a r k e has u n t i l r e c e n t l y  been l i v i n g and w r i t i n g , t h e y share the c o n c e r n s of those  set  i n the West I n d i e s , the e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e b e i n g t h a t i n t h e l a t t e r , i n d i v i d u a l r o o t l e s s n e s s i s r e i n f o r c e d by t h e forml e s s n e s s o f s o c i e t y , w h i l e i n the n o v e l s s e t i n E n g l a n d , v i d u a l r o o t l e s s n e s s i s juxtaposed  s t a r k l y w i t h the f u l l  indiout-  l i n e s o f a s o c i e t y t h a t i s r i c h i n t r a d i t i o n , has e v o l v e d d i s t i n c t i v e c u l t u r e and has no doubts about i t s e l f .  a  Exclusion,  r a t h e r t h a n r e j e c t i o n , i s more dominant i n the immigrant n o v e l s . The  new  environment n a t u r a l l y p o s i t s d i f f e r e n t  t i o n s and demands d i f f e r e n t s o l u t i o n s ; i t adds a new t o the themes d i s c u s s e d i n t h e p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r .  situa-  dimension  In a d d i t i o n  t o the f a m i l i a r themes o f i d e n t i t y , a l i e n a t i o n , t h e t h r e a t t o t h e psyche and t h e f a i l u r e o f language, t h e immigrant  novels  e x p l o r e c u l t u r a l d e p r i v a t i o n (as opposed t o c u l t u r a l  duality),  t h e y f o c u s on the i n d i v i d u a l who  i s rooted i n n e i t h e r h i s s o c i a l  n o r p h y s i c a l environment, e x p l o r e h i s overwhelming f e e l i n g o f l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n , examine the f r a g m e n t a t i o n  o r break-  down of p e r s o n a l i t y r e s u l t i n g f r o m the c o n t a c t between t h e immigrant who  has l i t t l e i n n e r r e s e r v e s and an a l i e n ,  hostile  c o u n t r y , and d e p i c t the t o t a l l a c k o f communication between the  two.  59  These n o v e l s g e n e r a l l y document t h e f a t e o f immig r a n t s i n the new  country, f i l l i n g  i n such background i n f o r m a -  t i o n as t h e i r reasons f o r e m i g r a t i n g and t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s , so t h a t we  can determine  t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h the new  ment f i t s t h e i r p r e c o n c e p t i o n s . make no m e a n i n g f u l  environ-  More o f t e n t h a n n o t ,  they  impact on t h e i r environment and a r e  largely  a f r a i d o f and p u z z l e d by the b u s t l e and i m p e r s o n a l i t y o f the l i f e t h a t s w i r l s around them. The dominant image t h e y l e a v e on the mind i s t h a t o f so many p i e c e s o f d r i f t w o o d f l o a t i n g on the  English/Canadian/  Whatever t i d e , g o i n g backward and f o r w a r d , never a n c h o r i n g themselves,  but o c c a s i o n a l l y b e i n g washed up.  The v i o l e n c e  t h a t broods under t h e s u r f a c e o f A u s t i n C l a r k e ' s The Point  2  e x p l o d e s i n Lamming s The E m i g r a n t s , 1  3  Meeting  reflecting  the  complete d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f p e r s o n a l i t y and breakdown o f m o r a l s . Few  o f the emigrants  r e t u r n , a l t h o u g h a t some p o i n t t h e y have  a l u c i d p e r c e p t i o n o f themselves  and t h e i r f l o a t i n g e x i s t e n c e .  W i t h o u t t h e support o f t h e i r environment o r o f a  meaningful  r o l e i n i t , t h e y become almost a p a r t o f the seasons,  dormant  i n w i n t e r , f l i c k e r i n g t o l i f e i n summer, the season w i t h which t h e y a r e most f a m i l i a r . I n the immigrant n o v e l s , f o r m and c o n t e n t are more s y n c h r o n i s e d than i n n o v e l s s e t i n the West I n d i e s , w i t h the n o t a b l e e x c e p t i o n o f A House F o r Mr. Biswas w i t h i t s l e i s u r e l y , episodic structure.  The  e p i s o d i c n a t u r e o f the immigrant  n o v e l s and the tendency t o p l o t l e s s n e s s , i n f a c t the fragment a t i o n o f p l o t and language,  r e i n f o r c e s the theme o f r o o t l e s s -  60  ness. novels.  T h i s can account f o r t h e s u c c e s s The L o n e l y L o n d o n e r s  4  of Selvon's  immigrant  i s t h e most e p i s o d i c o f t h e  t h r e e n o v e l s under d i s c u s s i o n ; i t i s b u i l t p u r e l y around i n c i d e n t and t h e r e i s no p l o t . to  H i s l o n g unpunctuated  summer ( i n d i a l e c t ) i s a r t i s t i c a l l y  the s t r u c t u r e o f t h e n o v e l .  panegyric  s u c c e s s f u l i n terms o f  S a l k e y * s urban, r o o t l e s s i d i o m  i n The A d v e n t u r e s o f C a t u l l u s K e l l y , t h e ping-pong q u a l i t y o f most o f t h e d i a l o g u e s , w i t h d i s c o n n e c t e d words b a t t e d back and f o r t h , complements C a t u l l u s his  1  l i n g u i s t i c schizophrenia.  r o o t l e s s n e s s and d e m o n s t r a t e s F i n a l l y , the inconclusive  e n d i n g s o f many o f t h e s e n o v e l s , n o t a b l y The E m i g r a n t s ,  The  L o n e l y Londoners, The Housing L a r k ^ and The M e e t i n g P o i n t m i r r o r t h e dead-end roads t h e c h a r a c t e r s f o l l o w . The E m i g r a n t s ,  an u n s a t i s f y i n g book i n many ways, i s ,  n e v e r t h e l e s s , an a m b i t i o u s attempt t o c h r o n i c l e t h e e n t i r e a s p e c t o f t h i s modern m i d d l e passage.  The n o v e l b e g i n s  the a c t u a l voyage f r o m t h e West I n d i e s t o E n g l a n d .  with  We f o l l o w  the s h i p f r o m i s l a n d t o i s l a n d as i t p i c k s up p a s s e n g e r s .  In  t h e i r c o n v e r s a t i o n s on board we see t h e i r p a i n f u l a t t e m p t s t o f i n d u n i t y i n a concept o f West I n d i a n i s m , as i f they sense t h e danger o f i n d i v i d u a l f o r a y s i n t o E n g l a n d . the f r a g m e n t a t i o n  Then t h e n o v e l t r a c e s  o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l s and o f t h e group i n E n g l a n d .  I n The E m i g r a n t s Lamming c u t s us a d r i f t from any mooring.... r e a l i z a t i o n o f an i d e n t i t y as West I n d i a n s i s f a r t h e r away t h a n e v e r ; and t h i s n i g h t mare E n g l a n d , a l l jagged f l a s h e s and f r a g m e n t s , seems.to deny t h e v e r y e x i s t e n c e o f any r e c o g n i z a b l e human i d e n t i t y a t a l l .... The s e p a r a t i o n , t h e absence o f l o v e i n Lamming*s c h a r a c t e r s , becomes a u n i v e r s a l r a t h e r t h a n a West I n d i a n c o n d i t i o n . Everyone i s a d r i f t ; o n l y some new dark f i g u r e s , f o r m e r l y l o c k e d i n t h e i r i s l a n d s , have e n t e r e d t h e current.6  61 The  quest m o t i f i s e n t i r e l y a p p r o p r i a t e t o t h e s e  n o v e l s , f o r E n g l a n d i s i n many ways an e x t e n s i o n o f t h e West Indian s e l f .  The West I n d i a n has been shaped by t h e r e s p e c -  t i v e Home c o u n t r i e s more t h a n he r e a l i s e s .  N a i p a u l comments  on t h e e x t e n t t o which t h e West I n d i a n i d e n t i f i e s w i t h E n g l a n d : I t i s n o t f u l l y r e a l i s e d how c o m p l e t e l y t h e West Indian i n t e l l e c t u a l i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f w i t h England. A f r i c a has been f o r g o t t e n . . . . F o r t h e West I n d i a n i n t e l l e c t u a l , s p e a k i n g no o t h e r language b u t . E n g l i s h , educated i n t h e E n g l i s h way, t h e e x p e r i ence o f E n g l a n d i s u s u a l l y t r a u m a t i c . The foundat i o n s o f h i s l i f e a r e removed. He has t o l o o k f o r new l o y a l t i e s . 7 Lamming, i n The P l e a s u r e s o f E x i l e , has made a s i m i l a r s t a t e ment on t h e p o w e r f u l h o l d t h a t t h e ' i d e a t h e West I n d i a n m i n d .  8  The i d e a f  f  t i o n a l need f o r t h e E a s t I n d i a n .  1  o f E n g l a n d has on  o f I n d i a f i l l s t h i s emoFanon shows how a p p l i c a b l e  i t i s t o t h e A n t i l l e a n negro i n h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h "The  France.  A n t i l l e a n who goes t o F r a n c e p i c t u r e s t h i s j o u r n e y as  the f i n a l stage o f h i s p e r s o n a l i t y . "  9  Selvon captures i t  l y r i c a l l y i n The L o n e l y Londoners: The changing o f t h e seasons, t h e c o l d s l i c i n g w i n d s , the f a l l i n g l e a v e s , s u n l i g h t on green g r a s s , snow on t h e l a n d , London p a r t i c u l a r . Oh what i t i s and where i t i s and why i t i s , no one knows, b u t t o have s a i d , " I walked on W a t e r l o o B r i d g e , " " I rendezvoused at Charing Cross," " P i c c a d i l l y C i r c u s i s my p l a y ground," t o say t h e s e t h i n g s , t o have l i v e d t h e s e t h i n g s , t o have l i v e d i n t h e g r e a t c i t y o f London, c e n t r e o f t h e w o r l d ... t o w r i t e a c a s u a l l e t t e r home beginning: " L a s t n i g h t , i n T r a f a l g a r Square ..." ( L . L . , 164) . . ~ The  p e c u l i a r paradox o f v e n t u r i n g i n t o t h e known/  unknown s e a t o f t h e empire can i n v e s t t h e immigrant w i t h a f a l s e sense o f s e c u r i t y .  The average immigrant p r o b a b l y  knows  62  more about England than about the West Indies.  Conrad once  wrote, "The adventurer into the depths would do well to have roots i n a human community."  10  Real inner security can exist  only when the person i s capable of r e a l i z i n g h i s r e a l s e l f and of being rooted i n and belonging to h i s environment. new  environment the immigrant becomes the outsider.  In h i s Camus has  said that the mind's deepest desire i s f o r c l a r i t y and f a m i l i a r i t y ; the impenetrable world of the immigrant denies contact and communication at any but the most s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l . These are not pioneers, but e x i l e s . Because of the nature of the experience they are dealing with, the three novels under discussion have more i n common than those dealt with i n Chapter One.  Their characters  are predominantly negro (Lamming*s are coloureds and  negroes,  Naipaul's are Indians), t h e i r concern i s with i n d i v i d u a l or a loose group experience (Lamming*s i s national, Naipaul*s i s r a c i a l ) , and t h e i r characters are immigrants i n predominantly white s o c i e t i e s . ing  The f e e l i n g of loneliness and of not belong-  i s more obvious i n Clarke and Selvon whose characters  are also at the bottom of the 'socio-economic*  ladder.  The  most s t r i k i n g thing about them i s t h e i r love/hate relationship with t h e i r employers or adopted country, t h e i r very  ambivalence  indicating the extent of t h e i r dependence and i n s e c u r i t y . The Lonely Londoners i s as d i r e c t i o n l e s s as the l i v e s of the men  i t draws into i t s o r b i t .  The characters are West  Indian with one Nigerian, Cap, "the wandering Nigerian l i v i n g off h i s wits and women" who  i s as rootless as they are.  The  63 n o v e l i s b u i l t around t h e k i n d o f e c c e n t r i c s one a s s o c i a t e s with Naipaul,  e s p e c i a l l y the Miguel Street type.  Moses, one o f  t h e o l d e r i m m i g r a n t s and t h e c e n t r e o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n t h e n o v e l , i s common t o a l l . mornings t o * o l d t a l k * .  They g a t h e r i n h i s room on Sunday As G e r a l d Moore has observed, t h e  dominant l a n d s c a p e i n t h i s n o v e l i s t h e narrow f u r n i s h e d 11  room.  The i m m i g r a n t s have v e r y l i t t l e c o n t a c t w i t h t h e  E n g l i s h and t e n d t o c l u s t e r t o g e t h e r .  T h i s i s one way t o defend  t h e m s e l v e s a g a i n s t u p r o o t e d n e s s , by s t a y i n g i n t o u c h w i t h t h e familiar —  t h e d i a l e c t , t h e i r countrymen, t h e common e x p e r i -  ences, f e a r s and dreams.  I t i s a l s o an e f f e c t i v e way o f  i m p r i s o n i n g t h e m s e l v e s and l i v i n g i n t h e p a s t .  By s t u d i o u s l y  a v o i d i n g t h e o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r s e l f - e v a l u a t i o n t h a t a r e cont i n u a l l y f o r c e d on them, t h e y r e t a i n t h e West I n d i a n wine, women and song a t t i t u d e t o l i f e .  Moses, a v e t e r a n  Londoner,  i s t h e o n l y one i n t h e group t o a s s e s s h i m s e l f p e r i o d i c a l l y , and even so, he i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a c e r t a i n p a r a l y s i s o f w i l l t h a t l e a v e s h i s c o n d i t i o n e s s e n t i a l l y unchanged y e a r a f t e r y e a r . I n t h e r e a c t i o n s o f a newcomer, Galahad, we see t h e s t r o n g e m o t i o n a l attachment t o London, t h e c o l o n i a l preconcept i o n s t h a t weather h i s a c t u a l e x p e r i e n c e s .  The i m m i g r a n t s have  t h i s a b i l i t y t o s e p a r a t e t h e E n g l a n d t h e y have known s i n c e hood, t h e E n g l a n d o f t h e i r i m a g i n a t i o n , in  a way f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t N a i p a u l  India. old  with the actual place,  cannot, when he v i s i t s  The l o n e l y Londoners* a f f e c t i o n a t e r e f e r e n c e s  B r i t * n " and "the g r e a t  child-  to "the  c i t y o f London, c e n t r e o f t h e w o r l d , "  are genuine i n s p i t e o f London*s i n d i f f e r e n c e t o them.  Gerald  64  Moore comments on i t : By w r i t i n g throughout i n a c a r e f u l l y - c o m p o s e d T r i n i d a d d i a l e c t , S e l v o n i s a b l e t o impose a d i s t i n c t i v e rhythm upon the l i f e of t h e c i t y as e x p e r i e n c e d by h i s c h a r a c t e r s . We see i t s moods and seasons through t h e a l i e n but a f f e c t i o n a t e eyes o f those f o r whom i t remains through e v e r y t h i n g an e x c i t i n g p l a c e t o be. The f e e l i n g b e g i n s w i t h t h e sheer s e n s a t i o n o f b e i n g t h e r e , i n London, • c e n t r e o f t h e w o r l d , * t h e g o a l o f many y e a r s s c r i m p i n g , s a v i n g and dreaming .... The most memorable passage i s S e l v o n * s l o n g anthem t o t h e coming o f summer, t h a t moment which always p o s t pones h i s d e p a r t u r e f o r a n o t h e r and a n o t h e r y e a r . LHe quotes p a r t o f itT].... So S e l v o n g i v e s a t w i s t t o t h e wheel and s e t s t h e seasons s p i n n i n g , though i t comes t o r e s t on summer a g a i n and a g a i n . ^ However, London i s not o n l y i n d i f f e r e n t , but antagon i s t i c t o them, and i f t h e r e i s any message a t a l l , i t seems t o be t h a t t h e West I n d i a n s a r e out o f p l a c e i n L o n d o n . ^ a New  Statesman r e v i e w , M a u r i c e R i c h a r d s o n  cinctly.  expressed  in  i t suc-  " I n summer t h e y e n j o y a s h o r t b u t t e r f l y p e r i o d . "  1 4  They remind one o f the c h a r a c t e r s i n M i g u e l S t r e e t i n t h e i r t r a n s i e n c e , t h e way  they f l i t  i n and out o f the scene, so t h a t  although they are f i l l e d i n i n b r i g h t c o l o u r s , t h e i r o u t l i n e s are b l u r r e d . T h e i r c o n t a c t , or r a t h e r t h e i r l a c k o f c o n t a c t , w i t h t h e i r environment can be e x p r e s s e d Emigrants.  " E n g l a n d was  about by chance.  I t was  beyond our r e a c h "  (Em,  by a passage f r o m  The  s i m p l y a w o r l d w h i c h we had moved there l i k e nature, d r i f t i n g vaguely 237).  T h i s a i m l e s s , f l o a t i n g , d r i f t i n g e x i s t e n c e seems t o w o r r y no one but Moses who  has l i v e d i n * B r i t * n * f o r t e n y e a r s ,  l o n g enough f o r him t o have c a r v e d out a n i c h e f o r h i m s e l f ,  65 but t h e p i c t u r e i s n ' t p r e t t y .  "He used t o see a l l h i s y e a r s  i n London p i l e up one on t o p o f the o t h e r , and he g e t t i n g no p l a c e i n a h u r r y , and t h e y e a r s g o i n g by, and t h e thought make him f r i g h t e n sometimes"  ( L . L . , 109).  When Galahad  n e v e r t o l e a v e , Moses " s i g h a l o n g s i g h l i k e a man who l i f e and see n o t h i n g a t a l l i n i t " ( L . L . ,  swears live  126).  The whole d e s o l a t i o n and f u t i l i t y of t h e i r l i v e s i s c a p t u r e d a t t h e end when t h e boys g a t h e r i n Moses' room f o r a t y p i c a l ' o l d t a l k ' and t h e i r comments a r e i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h Moses' s i l e n t a p p r a i s a l o f t h e i r c o n d i t i o n .  Under the bravado  t h a t has c h a r a c t e r i s e d t h e i r b e h a v i o r and t h e i r e x p l o i t s ,  one  sees t h e g r e a t emptiness and t h e bewilderment o f men who  don't  r e a l l y u n d e r s t a n d , and who have n e v e r p e n e t r a t e d , t h e w o r l d t h e y have found themselves i n . The f a m i l i a r West I n d i a n g r e e t i n g , "What happening?" now poses a fundamental q u e s t i o n . "Everybody a s k i n g what happening but nobody l i k e t h e y know what happening" ( L . L . , 165).  I n t h i s l a s t scene t o g e t h e r , S e l v o n  i m p r i s o n s them i n t h e i r s t a t i c r o l e s , l i v i n g o n l y f o r t h e moment: H a r r i s , whose main c o n c e r n i s t o prove t o t h e E n g l i s h t h a t he i s civilized —  a b l a c k Englishman —  i s l o o k i n g a t h i s watch  a n x i o u s l y and s a y i n g t h a t he has an i m p o r t a n t engagement; Galahad, who  l i k e s t o p r e t e n d t h a t he i s i n command o f any  a t i o n , i s l o o k i n g cocky; B i g C i t y , who orphanage  situ-  once p l a y e d w i t h t h e  band i s f i d d l i n g w i t h t h e r a d i o , and F i v e - P a s t - T w e l v e ,  who never m i s s e s a dance, wants t o know i f anybody i s g o i n g t o lime i n the evening. L a t e r , Moses s t a n d s on t h e banks o f t h e Thames, f i g h t i n g  66  his  usual b a t t l e :  t o go home o r not t o go home.  Sometimes he t h i n k he see some s o r t o f profound r e a l i s a t i o n i n h i s l i f e , as i f a l l t h a t happen to him was e x p e r i e n c e t h a t make him a b e t t e r man .... Under t h e k i f f - k i f f l a u g h t e r , behind the b a l l a d and t h e e p i s o d e , t h e what-happening, t h e summer-is-hearts, he c o u l d see a g r e a t a i m l e s s n e s s , a g r e a t r e s t l e s s , swaying movement t h a t l e a v i n g you s t a n d i n g i n t h e same s p o t . As i f a f o r l o r n shadow o f doom f a l l on a l l t h e spades i n t h e c o u n t r y . As i f he c o u l d see t h e b l a c k f a c e s bobbing up and down i n t h e m i l l i o n s o f w h i t e , s t r a i n e d f a c e s , everybody h u s t l i n g ... the spades j o s t l i n g i n t h e crowd, b e w i l d e r e d , hopeless. As i f , on t h e s u r f a c e , t h i n g s don't l o o k so bad, b u t when you go down a l i t t l e , you bounce up a k i n d o f m i s e r y and pathos and a f r i g h t e n i n g — what? .... As i f t h e boys l a u g h i n g , but t h e y o n l y l a u g h i n g because t h e y f r a i d t o c r y , t h e y o n l y l a u g h i n g because t o t h i n k so much about e v e r y t h i n g would be a b i g c a l a m i t y ... (L.L., 170) C o u l t h a r d r a i s e s t h e q u e s t i o n o f whether t h i s has o v e r t o n e s o f a g e n e r a l e x i s t e n t i a l i s t a n g u i s h , o r whether t h e a i m l e s s n e s s , the r e s t l e s s swaying a p p l y j u s t t o t h e West I n d i a n d i s o r i e n t e d i n a w h i t e w o r l d which r e j e c t s him and t o w h i c h he cannot adapt 15  himself.  The i n c o n c l u s i v e ending suggests t h a t t h e r e w i l l be  many more such p r o b i n g s beneath t h e l a u g h t e r , t h e b a l l a d s and the e p i s o d e s , b u t t h a t t h e L o n e l y Londoners w i l l remain t r a p p e d i n a p r i s o n t h a t i s p a r t l y o f t h e i r own making. A u s t i n C l a r k e i s t h e foremost West I n d i a n w r i t e r on t h e American c o n t i n e n t today. Barbados. Toronto novels.  H i s f i r s t two n o v e l s were s e t i n  The M e e t i n g P o i n t , h i s t h i r d , i s about B a r b a d i a n s i n  and i s n o t s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m o t h e r immigrant The main c h a r a c t e r i s B e r n i c e Leach, a domestic  works f o r a Toronto J e w i s h c o u p l e , t h e Burrmanns. c l o s e s t f r i e n d , Dots, i s a l s o a domestic.  who  Bernice's  Both women a r e l o n e l y  67  and f r u s t r a t e d , even Dots, whose husband, B o y s i e , m a r r i e d o n l y i n o r d e r t o get immigrant s t a t u s .  Estelle,  Bernice's  s i s t e r , comes up f o r a h o l i d a y and s t a y s w i t h B e r n i c e a t employers*.  U n l i k e B e r n i c e , E s t e l l e i s proud o f her  n e s s and not a f r a i d t o e n t e r t h e w h i t e w o r l d . a f f a i r w i t h Sam  her  her  black-  She has  an  Burrmann w h i c h ends i n d i s a s t e r when he  dis-  c l a i m s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h e r pregnancy and she has t o have an a b o r t i o n w h i c h sends h e r t o t h e h o s p i t a l e v e n t u a l l y . nice, bewildered  a t the t r a i n o f e v e n t s , r e t u r n s t o h e r  Berapart-  ment, and l o o k i n g out t h e window, w i t n e s s e s t h e a s s a u l t of a B a r b a d i a n f r i e n d by a p o l i c e m a n whose g i r l he had been s l e e p i n g with.  Stunned, she c a l l s Dots, and as Dots c h a t t e r s on and  B e r n i c e "ends up l i s t e n i n g t o ' t a l k i n g and t a l k i n g ' -words —  on,  to  w h i c h are m e a n i n g l e s s b e s i d e h e r knowledge o f i n j u s 16  t i c e and her more and more f u t i l e ache f o r  understanding."  L l o y d Brown has drawn a t t e n t i o n t o the t i t l e  o f the  n o v e l i n h i s a r t i c l e , "The West I n d i a n N o v e l i n N o r t h America": The t i t l e o f the work i s i t s e l f i r o n i c , f o r the n o v e l d i s p e l s , r a t h e r t h a n c o n f i r m s , the o p t i m i s t i c c o n n o t a t i o n s o f the f a m i l i a r p h r a s e . 'Meeting P o i n t ' r e a l l y i n d i c a t e s , not r e c o n c i l i a t i o n and harmony, but the c o l l i s i o n o f h o s t i l e a t t i t u d e s : the b l a c k s e n s i t i v i t y o f B e r n i c e and h e r f r i e n d s meeting t h e c o l d n e s s and a n t i p a t h y o f Canadian s o c i e t y . And t h e r e i s a l s o the p e r s o n a l c o n f l i c t w i t h i n each immigrant. ' Clarke's f i r s t  n o v e l , The  S u r v i v o r s o f the C r o s s i n g s e t  out t o show t h a t the s u r v i v o r s of the middle passage are i n chains s t i l l .  The  M e e t i n g P o i n t t a k e s the s u r v i v o r s on a n o t h e r  j o u r n e y , t h i s t i m e t o Canada, where i t becomes o b v i o u s t h a t t h e  68 e m i g r a n t s have exchanged one k i n d o f s l a v e r y and e x i l e f o r another.  T h i s theme i s a n t i c i p a t e d i n The S u r v i v o r s o f the  C r o s s i n g where J a c k s o n , a B a r b a d i a n peasant, e m i g r a t e s t o Canada i n hopes o f a b e t t e r l i f e o n l y t o d i s c o v e r t h a t  "Up  here i n t h i s c o u n t r y i s the same s l a v e r y as what I r u n from back i n t h e i s l a n d . " There are many B e r n i c e s who  can come t o Canada o n l y  as d o m e s t i c s , an i r o n i c p a r a l l e l t o the c i r c u m s t a n c e s under which t h e i r a n c e s t o r s made t h e s l a v e j o u r n e y . p l a y s on t h i s .  And C l a r k e  B e r n i c e "always saw h e r s e l f as a s e r v a n t ; a  s o r t of t w e n t i e t h century s l a v e . h a r d work w h i c h reminded wages" (M.P., 5).  I t was m a i n l y the amount o f  her of her s t a t u s .  And a l s o , t h e s m a l l  D u r i n g t h e c o u r s e o f t h e n o v e l we are i n f o r m e d  t h a t B r i g i t t e , a German d o m e s t i c , g e t s t h r e e t i m e s t h e i r pay f o r l e s s work.  I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g , t h e n , t h a t t h e i r p s y c h o l o g i c a l  make-up, l i k e t h a t o f C l a r k e ' s negroes i n Barbados, the slave.  i s that of  The g r i m p o i n t t h a t C l a r k e makes i n h i s n o v e l s i s  t h a t p h y s i c a l o r p s y c h o l o g i c a l escape from s l a v e r y i s i m p o s s i b l e . B e r n i c e and Dots are p a t h e t i c a l l y unable t o r i d themselves t h e i r s e r v i l e , cowering a t t i t u d e s t o t h e i r employers. bravado  of  The  t h e y whip up i n t h e i r absence q u i c k l y f a d e s i n t o t h e  •Yes, Ma'am* r o u t i n e .  I t i s demonstrated  i n a particularly  p a i n f u l scene when B e r n i c e i s r e l a t i n g t o E s t e l l e , Dots and B o y s i e , an i n c i d e n t i n which she was r e p r i m a n d i n g f i v e - y e a r o l d R u t h i e f o r p e e p i n g up her l e g s .  Her audience c a p t i v e , e x p e c t i n g  some v e r b a l and p h y s i c a l f i r e w o r k s , B e r n i c e r e l a t e s : I t u r n e d round, and I say, "but M i s s R u t h i e ..." " M i s s R u t h i e , my f a t a r s e ! " Dots screamed. She was almost h y s t e r i c a l . " M i s s R u t h i e , h e l l ! You  69  s h o u l d have s l a p p e d h e r a r s e t i l l i t i s s t i l l black-and-blue. M i s s R u t h i e ? M i s s R u t h i e ? " ... "Look, i t i s h i g h time, you f o r g e t a l l t h i s s h i t •bout M i s s R u t h i e and M i s s Serene o u t t a y o u r head, h e a r ? M i s s R u t h i e , my. b a c k s i d e ! C a l l t h e l i t t l e monster by h e r r e a l name, g a l ! " (M.P., 62) And t h e shame and h u m i l i a t i o n i s m i r r o r e d i n e v e r y o n e s eyes f  as t h e y censure h e r s i l e n t l y , b i t t e r l y .  Y e t Dots ( M i s s R u t h i e ,  my f a t a r s e ) a d d r e s s e s Agatha, a w h i t e g i r l ,  as, "Miss Agaffa,  d e a r " (M.P., 8 9 ) . The theme o f t h e f u t i l i t y  o r i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f escape  t h a t P a t t e r s o n and N a i p a u l e x p l o r e i s a l s o t r e a t e d by C l a r k e . "The n o v e l s e t s out t o i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e attempt futile.  t o escape i s  The f r u s t r a t i o n s o f p o v e r t y and i g n o r a n c e a r e g i v e n  up f o r t h e more t e r r i f y i n g f r u s t r a t i o n s o f l o n e l i n e s s and d i s crimination." convenience,  B o y s i e i s t r a p p e d i n a l o v e l e s s marriage o f  1 9  E s t e l l e by h e r attempt  t o use Sam Burrmann,  B e r n i c e i n a c l o s e d mind, an i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e w o r l d and t h e c o n t r a c t i n g w a l l s o f l o n e l i n e s s and f r u s t r a t i o n . C l a r k e s c h a r a c t e r s l i v e t h e same l i m b o e x i s t e n c e i n ?  t h e i r environment as do t h e L o n e l y Londoners, o n l y t h e i r l a t i o n i s more profound.  iso-  The f e e l one g e t s , i n S e l v o n , o f a  vague w o r l d d r i f t i n g beyond r e a c h i s t o t a l l y absent  i n Clarke,  the absence o f any l a r g e r o u t l i n e s c o n t r i b u t i n g t o t h e c l a u s trophobia t h a t the novel generates.  A l t h o u g h t h e dominant l a n d -  scape i n S e l v o n i s t h e narrow f u r n i s h e d room, t h e Londoners do emerge i n summer.  B e r n i c e s l i f e c o n t i n u e s t o be c e n t r e d around f  h e r r a d i o , h e r room and t h e k i t c h e n .  Selvon s f  joyful celebra-  t i o n o f summer r e l i e v e s some o f t h e b l e a k n e s s o f t h e immigrants^  70  lives.  B e r n i c e h a t e s a l l t h e seasons —  the coldness of  w i n t e r , t h e u n r e l e n t i n g w h i t e n e s s o f snow, t h e u n c o m f o r t a b l e heat o f summer.  C l a r k e u t i l i s e s t h e ready-made symbol o f t h e  snow t o i n d i c a t e  t h e d i s p a r i t y between t h e West I n d i a n temper-  ament and t h e a l i e n l a n d s c a p e .  To B e r n i c e , "Mrs. Burrmann n o t  o n l y s y m b o l i z e d t h e snow; she s y m b o l i z e d , a l s o , t h e u n e a s i n e s s and i n c o n v e n i e n c e o f t h e snow" (M.P., 7 ) .  I n t i m e , t h e snow  becomes t h e symbol o f t h e s t e r i l i t y and u n n a t u r a l n e s s o f h e r life.  " T h i s i s our l i f e ,  w h i t e n e s s " (M.P., 7 ) .  c h i l d ... i t i s a l i f e o  1  snow and  Bernice i s incapable of responding t o  t h e n a t u r a l rhythms o f h e r new  environment.  C l a r k e s c h a r a c t e r s never b e l o n g ; t h e y remain f  c o m p l e t e l y c u t o f f from t h e mainstream  of l i f e .  aliens,  The a t t a c h -  ment and l o y a l t y t o England t h a t makes l i f e b e a r a b l e and sometimes even e x c i t i n g f o r S e l v o n ' s immigrants does n o t e x i s t for Clarke's.  " T h i s c o u n t r y c o u l d never be home, g a l . A l l  t h e b l a c k people h e r e , l i v i n g i n t h i s p l a c e , c a l l e d Canada, be we f o r e i g n - b o r n b l a c k p e o p l e , o r l o c a l - b o r n Canadian b l a c k p e o p l e , we a r e o n l y a b i d i n g t h r o u g h t h e t e n d e r m e r c i e s ... o' God, t h e w h i t e man and t h e l a n d l o r d .... time t h e s e t h r e e Gods f e e l l i k e i t , bram!  Any t i m e , g a l , any t h e y k i c k - i n our  behinds j u s t l i k e t h e y do down i n M i s s i s s i p p i " Their relationship  (M.P., 1 9 3 ) .  w i t h t h e i r employers  i s a curious  b l e n d o f l o v e and h a t e t h a t r e v e a l s t h e i n s e c u r i t y e x i s t e n c e ; t h e i r ambivalence cate the i n s e c u r i t y  of t h e i r  and e m o t i o n a l v a c i l l a t i o n s i n d i -  and impermanence t h a t c h a r a c t e r i s e s t h e  deracine'.  I t prompts an o u t b u r s t from t h e n o r m a l l y dense  Boysie: I t does r e a l l y p a i n my a r s e t o hear how you. both you and B e r n i c e , does s a y such good t h i n g s b o u t Mrs. Burrmann and Mrs. Hunter one minute, and gorblummuh! t h e n e x t moment, both o* you s a y i n g Mrs. Burrmann i s cheap as h e l l , Mrs. Hunter i s a b i t c h ; Mrs. Burrmann n i c e , Mrs. Burrmann bad; Mrs. Hunter i s a l a d y , Mrs. Hunter i s a whore! (M.P., 63) f  T h e i r ambivalence e x t e n d s , a l s o t o t h e i r a t t i t u d e the m a t e r i a l i s t i c  s i d e o f Canadian l i f e .  towards-  They d e p l o r e i t r i g h t -  e o u s l y one moment; t h e n e x t , t h e y a r e embracing i t w h o l e h e a r t edly.  By showing t h a t t h e r i c h Jews who r e p r e s e n t Canadian  m a t e r i a l i s t i c v a l u e s l e a d empty, u n f u l f i l l i n g l i v e s , C l a r k e p o i n t s out t h e dangers o f t h e B a r b a d i a n d o m e s t i c s  sterilizing  t h e i r own l i v e s i n t h e i r p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h a growing bank on  account and t h e p h y s i c a l c o m f o r t s o f Canadian The  life.  same s t a s i s t h a t a f f l i c t s t h e l o n e l y  r e t a r d the Barbadians,  Londoners  They change but t h e y do n o t d e v e l o p .  W i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f E s t e l l e , they n e v e r f a c e t h e c r i s i s o f self-appraisal  t h a t c o n t i n u a l l y f o r c e s i t s e l f on them.  Bernice,  in particular,  c o n t i n u a l l y gives i n t o a metaphysical blindness  t h a t f a i l s h e r i n t h e end. A consummate h y p o c r i t e t h r o u g h o u t , she remains a h o l l o w c h a r a c t e r and a fragmented  person.  Her u l t i m a t e i s o l a t i o n i s due, i n p a r t , t o h e r i n a b i l i t y t o k i c k f r e e o f t h e d u b i o u s s e c u r i t y o f t h e immigrant  group.  L i k e S e l v o n s c h a r a c t e r s , t h e y seek and need t h e c o h e s i o n o f 1  t h e immigrant group as p r o t e c t i o n a g a i n s t t h e f r u s t r a t i o n s o f t h e i r narrow s o c i a l l i v e s .  Church-going i s t h e i r o n l y r e g u l a r  72  'social  1  outlet.  The church i s on Shaw s t r e e t , an immigrant  street. I t was a community o f i m m i g r a n t s : i m m i g r a n t s who were n o t Anglo-Saxon. L i k e h e r , t h e s e i m m i g r a n t s had s u d d e n l y r e a l i z e d t h e y were l o s t i n a f o r e i g n l a n d . And l i k e h e r , and h e r West I n d i a n f r i e n d s , t h e y came t o g e t h e r l i k e seaweed o n . p i e c e s o f d r i f t i n g wood, i n a sea w i t h a c u r r e n t t h a t went no way. (M.P., 101) The immigrant s t r e e t i s t h e one p l a c e where t h e y f e e l human and a r e a b l e t o b l e n d i n w i t h t h e i r s u r r o u n d i n g s . once s a i d o f t h i s s t r e e t :  Dots had  " T h i s i s t h e o n l y s t r e e t ... where  people t a l k and walk i n a m i l l i o n and one d i f f e r e n t n a t i o n a l i t i e s and l a n g u a g e s , and nobody doesn't s t o p t a l k i n g t h e moment I walk by ... nobody don't l o o k a t you w i t h wonder and s c o r n " (M.P., 1 0 1 ) . B e r n i c e adds, " I don't f e e l t h a t I am e i t h e r a black person,  or a white person.  l i k e back home i n Barbados." t r a p s them i n t h e p a s t . t r e d on 'back home*.  Not on t h i s s t r e e t .  This i s  Yet, i t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s that  A l l t h e i r t a l k a f t e r church  i s cen-  When i t i s c e n t r e d on t h e p r e s e n t , i t  c o n s i s t s o f e i t h e r a mass c a t h a r t i c d e n i g r a t i o n o f t h e i r mist r e s s e s o r g o s s i p i n g about o t h e r West I n d i a n s . Bernice i s a f a m i l i a r f i g u r e i n Clarke*s She i s t h e t y p e o f negro who i s most d e e p l y  fiction.  s c a r r e d by s l a v e r y .  I n h e r we see t h e apathy and s e l f - h a t e o f t h e s l a v e .  I ti s  t h e theme o f a s h o r t s t o r y by C l a r k e e n t i t l e d "Four S t a t i o n s in His Circle."  2 1  The p r o t a g o n i s t i s J e f f e r s o n T h e o p h i l i s  B e l l e , a b l a c k B a r b a d i a n who becomes obsessed by h i s d e s i r e f o r the symbols o f t h e s t a t u s quo, i n p a r t i c u l a r , a house i n an exclusive r e s i d e n t i a l area.  In h i s pathological hatred of  o t h e r b l a c k people, and t h e r e f o r e h i s s e l f - h a t r e d , we foreshadowing  o f t h e i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s o f The M e e t i n g  see a Point,  " t h e t e n s i o n between n a s c e n t b l a c k n e s s on t h e one hand, and  the  pp  o l d s e l f - h a t e o r apathy, on the o t h e r . " ^ ^ quest f o r w h i t e n e s s  The  i r o n y of h i s  comes a t the end when he a c q u i r e s h i s dream  house, o n l y t o be c o n t i n u a l l y mistaken  f o r the g a r d e n e r by h i s  neighbours. B e f o r e coming under the i n f l u e n c e o f the B l a c k Muslim paper, B e r n i c e r e s e n t s b e i n g r e f e r r e d t o as b l a c k , u s e s a b l e a c h i n g cream g u a r a n t e e d t o make one w h i t e r , and t e m p o r a r i l y from h e r one.  'black  1  switches  church t o a p r e d o m i n a n t l y  'white*  She has such a g r e a t c a p a c i t y f o r s e l f - d e l u s i o n , t h a t  a l t h o u g h she i s kept f i r m l y i n h e r p l a c e a t F o r e s t H i l l s  and  reminded t h a t she i s a domestic t h e r e and not a housewife,  she  can b l i t h e l y say on o c c a s i o n s , " I am g l a d as h e l l t h a t I come h e r e , t h a t I i s a Canadian" (M.P., 9 7 ) .  I n her  unconscious  s e l f - h a t r e d she r e f u s e s t o i d e n t i f y w i t h o t h e r b l a c k who  march f o r t h e i r r i g h t s .  She  people  and E s t e l l e a r e out one  day  when a group o f marching b l a c k s pass by w i t h p l a c a r d s r e a d i n g •Canada I s Not Alabama* and  'End Race P r e j u d i c e Now'.  Bernice  i s choked w i t h embarassment and anger at t h e i m p e r t i n e n c e  of  t h i s "bunch o' b l a c k people w a l k i n g 'bout the p l a c e . " A l l you s e e i n g t h e s e days i s a l o t o' s t u p i d b l a c k people marching ... p r a y i n g , k n e e l i n g down a l l over t h e s t r e e t , won't l e t t r a f f i c pass, making t r o u b l e .... And these n i g g e r s i n Canada! W e l l , t h e y don't know how l u c k y t h e y a r e ! (M.P., 220) When E s t e l l e p r o c l a i m s h e r s o l i d a r i t y w i t h t h e i r cause, B e r n i c e •corrects* h e r :  74 But t h i s i s Canada, dear, not America. You and me, we i s West I n d i a n s , n o t American negroes. We are n o t i n that.mess. Leave t h a t damn f o o l i s h n e s s to them, y o u h e a r ? (M.P., 220) To B e r n i c e , a West I n d i a n and a ' n i g g e r * i n Canada a r e two different species.  Her s e l f - h a t e i s p a r a l l e l e d , o f c o u r s e , by  t h a t o f t h e Jews, r e v e a l e d i n t h e i r J e w i s h p a r t y j o k e s and f i v e - y e a r o l d Serene's t a u n t t o h e r playmate, "You're j u s t a l o u s y l i t t l e Jew l i k e a l l o f u s " (M.P., 2 0 ) . The  r e c u r r i n g theme i n C l a r k e , t h a t t h e s l a v e s have  not been f r e e d p h y s i c a l l y , p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y , o r e c o n o m i c a l l y , adds a v a l u a b l e d i m e n s i o n t o t h e West I n d i a n e x p e r i e n c e  abroad  as t h e S u r v i v o r s o f t h e C r o s s i n g make y e t a n o t h e r c r o s s i n g t o further slavery. S a l k e y ' s n o v e l i s more complex and i n t e r e s t i n g f o r a number o f r e a s o n s ,  c h i e f l y , i t s avoidance o f t h a t t r a p t h a t  many West I n d i a n n o v e l s f a l l 23 bore.  J  into —  t h e n o v e l as s o c i o l o g y as  H i s hero i s C a t u l l u s K e l l y , a b l a c k Jamaican u n i v e r s i t y  graduate w i t h a p o l i s h and s o p h i s t i c a t i o n t h a t e n a b l e s him t o move w i t h a c e r t a i n ease about h i s London w o r l d ,  penetrating  d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s o f s o c i e t y and m a i n t a i n i n g , a t a l l t i m e s , h i s •coolth'.  C a t u l l u s i s w i t t y , u n r u f f l e d , and has a d i s a r m i n g  o b j e c t i v i t y t h a t sees him t h r o u g h t h e u s u a l ' r a c i a l ' s i t u a t i o n s with f l y i n g colours.  I t must be s a i d , t o h i s c r e d i t , t h a t  S a l k e y a v o i d s t h e r u n - o f - t h e - m i l l immigrant e n c o u n t e r s w i t h r a c i a l p r e j u d i c e and d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . C a t u l l u s , one f e e l s , has a chance o f s u r v i v a l , i f o n l y i n h i s m e t h o d o l o g i c a l  approach t o  London, what he c a l l s h i s 'two-way Weltanschauung.'  B u t , most  75 important,  C a t u l l u s , u n l i k e most immigrant c h a r a c t e r s , i s not  t h e peasant t y p e t h a t Lamming so admires.  Yet, C a t u l l u s , i n  s p i t e o f h i s many b u f f e r s , r e t u r n s t o Jamaica a f t e r a y e a r  of  d r i f t i n g about London, and when l a s t we hear o f him, he i s committed t o a mental asylum. Kenneth Ramchand d e s c r i b e d C a t u l l u s * y e a r i n England as an Odyssey.  The  s t r o n g quest m o t i f .  novel i s l o o s e l y episodic w i t h a very C a t u l l u s * quest i s t w o - f o l d .  He wants t o  f i n d t h e e l u s i v e A e t h e l s t a n Gordon-Venning, a u t h o r o f a r a c i s t book, The  Shape o f S k u l l s t o Come.  He i s a l s o t r y i n g t o  clarify  h i s concept o f n e g r i t u d e , which he w i l l , i n t u r n , be a b l e t o r e a l i s e a t a p e r s o n a l l e v e l , " t h e d i g n i t y o f an A f r i c o i d " , a t a u n i v e r s a l l e v e l , a P a n - A f r i c a n brotherhood. own  and  Catullus*  fragmented p e r s o n a l i t y i s m i r r o r e d i n the f r a g m e n t a t i o n  and  d i s p e r s i o n of the negro r a c e , t h e r e f o r e i n t r y i n g t o r e a l i s e t h e s o l i d a r i t y and u n i t y o f a l l negroes, he i s , i n a sense, s e e k i n g p s y c h i c wholeness.  H i s f a i l u r e t o i n t e r e s t the negroes  he meets i n the i d e a o f b l a c k s o l i d a r i t y i s p a r t o f a l a r g e r personal f a i l u r e t h a t breaks  him.  H i s attempt t o c l a r i f y and r e a l i s e the concept o f negritude  (wholeness),  i s l i n k e d t o h i s two-way Weltanschauung.  I n B l a c k S k i n , W h i t e Masks, Fanon has made an i m p o r t a n t  observa-  t i o n c o n c e r n i n g t h e v i o l e n c e c o l o n i z a t i o n does t o the W e l t a n schauung o f t h e c o l o n i z e d : As l o n g as t h e b l a c k man i s among h i s own, he w i l l have no o c c a s i o n , except i n minor i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s , t o e x p e r i e n c e h i s b e i n g t h r o u g h o t h e r s .... I n the Weltanschauung o f a c o l o n i z e d p e o p l e t h e r e i s an i m p u r i t y , a f l a w .... F o r not o n l y must t h e b l a c k man be b l a c k ; he must be b l a c k i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e  76  w h i t e man .... Overnight t h e Negro has been g i v e n two frames o f r e f e r e n c e w i t h i n w h i c h he has had t o place h i m s e l f . 2 4  S a l k e y r i g h t l y i n t e r p r e t s t h i s as a s c h i z o p h r e n i c s p l i t , i n t h a t one has t o c o n s t a n t l y come t o terms w i t h e x p e r i e n c e  within  two frames o f r e f e r e n c e . C a t u l l u s ' two-way Weltanschauung i s h i s K i n g s t o n  dia-  l e c t mood and h i s S t a n d a r d E n g l i s h mood, between w h i c h he alternates.  S a l k e y d e f i n e s i t f u r t h e r as " h i s way o f r e a l -  i s i n g h i s J a m a i c a n dreams i n London by l o o k i n g a t p e o p l e ,  ideas  ,and t h i n g s , and naming them i n terms o f d i a l e c t , and a l s o d e a l i n g w i t h the observable  E n g l i s h r e a l i t i e s i n West London  by r e l y i n g on h i s use o f S t a n d a r d E n g l i s h :  I n short, C a t u l l u s '  p e r s o n a l two-way p h i l o s o p h i c a l survey o f and o u t l o o k on h i s former c o l o n i a l - i m p e r i a l w o r l d , t h r o u g h language" (C.K., 1 2 1 ) . But l i f e has a way o f f o x i n g C a t u l l u s .  H i s two-way W e l t a n -  schauung, w h i c h was " h i s s t y l e o f l i v i n g s a n e l y away f r o m home, g u a r d i n g a g a i n s t f l i g h t s o f p a r a n o i a and s c h i z o p h r e n i a , making h i m s e l f a c c e p t a b l e t o h i s own moral code and a c c e p t i n g and a b s o r b i n g t h e traumata o f t h e new c o u n t r y " i s i r o n i c a l l y a s c h i z o p h r e n i c way o f d e a l i n g w i t h r e a l i t y .  I t i s therefore  not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t t h i s s p l i t , t h r u s t on h i m by h i s p a s t , d r i v e s him mad.  By c o n s c i o u s l y l i v i n g t h e West I n d i a n  cultural-  l i n g u i s t i c s p l i t , h i s Weltanschauung, w h i c h he saw as a way o f u t i l i s i n g t h e t o t a l i t y o f t h e West I n d i a n e x p e r i e n c e  but w h i c h  i s r e a l l y a mental and l i n g u i s t i c s p l i t , f a i l s him and h i s personality disintegrates. The  s c h i z o p h r e n i c s p l i t i s t h e dominant image i n t h i s  77  n o v e l (as i t i s a l s o i n Other Leopards) as compared w i t h symbolism o f d r i f t w o o d i n t h e two  previous novels.  the  Catullus*  l i n g u i s t i c s c h i z o p h r e n i a i s merely one m a n i f e s t a t i o n of t h a t l a r g e r s c h i z o p h r e n i c West I n d i a n i n h e r i t a n c e which p a r a l y s e s 25  the i n d i v i d u a l .  I n Other L e o p a r d s ,  J  Froad e x h i b i t s a s i m i l a r  p a r a l y s i s of w i l l a r i s i n g from a s p l i t s e l f .  Both men  are  t r a p p e d between the two h a l v e s of t h e i r i n h e r i t a n c e , u n a b l e t o go f o r w a r d s , I n a symbolic  backwards, or break out and l i b e r a t e the  self.  scene, C a t u l l u s comes upon a f e l l o w b o a r d e r ,  D u l c i e , d o i n g a nude s e l f - p o r t r a i t .  With t y p i c a l  farsightedness  he q u i c k l y u n d r e s s e s and l i e s by her s i d e and  she p a i n t s him i n .  The  two h a l v e s ,  r e s u l t i s a p o r t r a i t o f the s p l i t s e l f —  colours.  two  Lamming uses t h e symbol i n Season o f Adventure. C a t u l l u s * two-way Weltanschauung f o r c e s him  into  a n o t h e r e x i s t e n t i a l r o l e , t h a t o f the a c t o r , when h i s c o n t a c t s w i t h the w h i t e w o r l d n e c e s s i t a t e p u t t i n g on a mask.  With f e l l o w  West I n d i a n s he i s h i s n a t u r a l s e l f ; w i t h o t h e r s , he assumes masks o f i d e n t i t y and c o n s t a n t l y engages i n r o l e p l a y i n g . h i s f i r s t e n c o u n t e r w i t h a p r o s t i t u t e , "He and shrugged l i k e B o g a r t ,  hunched h i s  and remembered t o s m i l e  l i k e Rock Hudson" (C.K., 1 5 ) .  In  shoulders  afterwards  On l e a v i n g , he "narrowed h i s  eyes a r r o g a n t l y , h e r o i c a l l y , l i k e O t h e l l o b e f o r e the handkerc h i e f " (C.K., 1 7 ) .  But t h i s i s f a i r l y s u p e r f i c i a l compared w i t h  t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f r o l e - p l a y i n g l a t e r i n the n o v e l .  Here i t  merely i n d i c a t e s a need f o r f a n t a s y , an unsureness o f h i m s e l f , and e m o t i o n a l d i s t a n c i n g .  7a Catullus  1  s e x u a l prowess has prompted some i n c r e d i b l e  comments f r o m r e v i e w e r s .  He does i n d e e d have f a n t a s t i c l u c k ,  but t h e p o i n t i s p r e c i s e l y t h a t : Only i n t h e s e x u a l f i e l d i s he c o n s i s t e n t l y and r i o t o u s l y s u c c e s s f u l : Even h e r e , t h o u g h , he i s m e r e l y f u l f i l l i n g t h e r o l e mapped out f o r him by t h e Gordbn-Vennings o f t h i s w o r l d : The s e x u a l p e r m i s s i v e n e s s w h i c h might be l i b e r a t i n g f o r some people a c t u a l l y s h a c k l e s him t o t h e o l d r a c i s t s e x u a l myth.26 R o l e - p l a y i n g t a k e s on i t s deepest r e s o n a n c e s when i t p r e c i p i t a t e s a c r i s i s i n C a t u l l u s * a l r e a d y p r e c a r i o u s grasp on life.  At one p o i n t i n h i s v a r i e d c a r e e r , he i s h i r e d by t h e  owner o f a B i s t r o , "The Onomatopoeia" t o be t h e Atmosphere-Man. The b i s t r o i t s e l f i s " d e c o r a t e d w i t h every c o n c e i v a b l e m o t i f a s s o c i a t i o n o f t h e name and sound o f t h e word c o f f e e " (C.K., 9 6 ) . The Atmosphere-Man was both coffee-machine v i d e r o f Atmosphere.  a t t e n d a n t and p r o -  As t h e l a t t e r , C a t u l l u s i s g i v e n t h e name  *Beano*, r e q u i r e d t o wear Atmosphere s h i r t s —  Monday's, f o r  example, was w h i t e w i t h l a r g e b l u e cups o f s p i l l i n g  expresso,  r e q u i r e d t o wear a b l a n k Zombiesque l o o k and g e n e r a l l y zombie around.  The Zombie l o o k g i v e s C a t u l l u s t h e most t r o u b l e . I t  e n t a i l s the suspension  of a l l i n t e l l i g e n t f a c i a l  expression  and becoming p a r t o f t h e c o f f e e - m o t i f , i n s h o r t , a t h i n g . P a t r o n s t r e a t h i m as p a r t o f t h e s c e n e r y and t a l k r i g h t  through  him; he f e e l s undermined and t h r e a t e n e d by t h e Atmosphere s h i r t s ; M a r t i n S e l b y , owner o f t h e b i s t r o , r e f e r s t o him as "my c r e a t i o n " . I n t h i s way, S a l k e y s k i l f u l l y and i m a g i n a t i v e l y s u g g e s t s t h e s t a t e t o w h i c h t h e s l a v e was reduced and c r e a t e s a mounting  79 sense o f t h e s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n t h a t t h r e a t e n s C a t u l l u s .  He  f i n d s h i m s e l f l o s i n g t o u c h w i t h r e a l i t y and l o s i n g h i s i d e n t i t y ; h i s schizophrenic  s p l i t becomes more pronounced w i t h  human h a l f f i g h t i n g t h e zombie h a l f f o r p o s s e s s i o n The  the  of C a t u l l u s .  imbalance becomes n o t i c e a b l e t o two r e g u l a r s who  engage  C a t u l l u s i n c o n v e r s a t i o n and are p u z z l e d by the a l t e r n a t i o n i n h i s f a c i a l e x p r e s s i o n between a n i m a t i o n  and  " I don't r e a l l y know how t o put i t . " She " H a l f and h a l f , I t h i n k . " M a r t i n was i m m e d i a t e l y d i s t u r b e d . " H a l f and h a l f ? " he asked. "How h a l f and They e x p l a i n .  blankness: paused. half?"  M a r t i n * s brow c l e a r s .  " I can e x p l a i n Beano's h a l f - a n d - h a l f . I n f a c t i t oughtn't t o ' v e been h a l f - a n d - h a l f a t a l l ; more whole, r e a l l y . You see: Beano's my c r e a t i o n , my AtmosphereMan, and what you've been p u z z l e d by i s h i s Atmosphere look." "D'you mean he i s n ' t what he i s ? " Margaret asked. The  p o i n t i s v e r y n i c e l y made. One  Beano.  'One  day,  C a t u l l u s i s n ' t what he i s .  he makes anagrams w i t h h i s Atmosphere name,  B.A.», »A Bone', '0 Bane', 'Be an 0».  d e t e r m i n e d not t o be an 0."  "He  was  As he f l u c t u a t e s between b e i n g  and n o t h i n g n e s s h i s a n x i e t y mounts.  The New  Statesman  p o i n t s out t h a t C a t u l l u s ' angst i s S a l k e y ' s main  reviewer  preoccupation.  H e i d e g g e r c o n s i d e r s a n x i e t y (Angst) t o be the fundamental human mood, when the here-and-now o f our e x i s t e n c e a r i s e s b e f o r e  us  28  i n a l l i t s p r e c a r i o u s and porous c o n t i n g e n c y .  Catullus'  r e t u r n t o Jamaica o n l y i n c r e a s e s h i s a n x i e t y . I n n e i t h e r environment does C a t u l l u s b e l o n g and i n n e i t h e r i s he wanted.  One  of h i s mother's b r u t a l l y  frank  l e t t e r s r e a d s i n p a r t , " I can't h o n e s t l y say t h a t y o u r  country  2 7  80  needs you."  E n g l a n d needs him even l e s s ; h i s s t a t u s i s t h a t  of an o u t s i d e r and he i s aware o f i t . He l i s t e n e d t o h i s d a r t i n g i n n e r v o i c e . I t a c c u s e d him o f t a s t i n g t h e s u r f a c e o f London l i f e .... He coaxed h i m s e l f i n t o b e l i e v i n g i n t h e d e l i g h t o f b e i n g o u t s i d e e v e r y t h i n g he t o u c h e d and saw around him. He was not a l o n e . There were m i l l i o n s o f o t h e r s who were a l s o outside everything. Many p e o p l e were l o o k i n g on, t o u c h i n g and s e e i n g a t a d i s t a n c e . They owned n o t h i n g . They were r i p e f o r a l i e n a t i o n .... I t had been t h e same i n New York .... But he d i d not mind b e i n g o u t s i d e i n A m e r i c a . The o u t s i d e r seemed a t t r a c t i v e t o him .... London's e q u a t i o n was more t h a n m a r g i n a l l y d i f f e r e n t ; t h e margin was a chasm. (C.K., 110) The chasm t h a t s e p a r a t e s t h e b l a c k West I n d i a n f r o m t h e v i t a l c o r e o f E n g l a n d i s g i v e n t h e same urgency i n S a l k e y  as i s  g i v e n i n Jean Rhys t o t h e chasm t h a t s e p a r a t e s t h e w h i t e West Indian from England.  England has been home t o b o t h t h e West  I n d i a n w h i t e and t h e negro.  C a t u l l u s may compare h i s p o s i t i o n  as an o u t s i d e r and a d r i f t e r w i t h t h a t o f t h e a l i e n a t e d E n g l i s h m a n , but t h e comparison b r e a k s down a t a c e r t a i n p o i n t . Olga, t h e p r o s t i t u t e , i s a l s o an o u t s i d e r , but "She was a t home, a component p a r t , however a l i e n a t e d , however e m b a t t l e d She wasn't u n p r o t e c t e d "  (C.K.,  ....  163).  As an o u t s i d e r he has no c l a i m on p e o p l e o r t h i n g s . They a r e u s u f r u c t s . Kingston;  "He s e a r c h e d f o r what was t r u l y h i s i n  he sensed t h e r i g h t and ownership o f o t h e r s and h i s  own r e j e c t i o n and a l i e n a t i o n " (C.K., 114).  H i s consciousness  o f h i s a l i e n a t i o n , h i s f e a r o f 'being an 0 ' and h i s i n c r e a s i n g severance f r o m r e a l i t y b e g i n t o t a k e t h e i r t o l l on C a t u l l u s . I n an e f f o r t t o ground h i s e x i s t e n c e , he t a k e s t o t o u c h i n g t h e  s u r f a c e s o f t h i n g s he p a s s e s —  t r e e s , t h e b a n i s t e r s of s t a i r s  as i f t h i s s u p e r f i c i a l c o n t a c t w i t h the p h y s i c a l w o r l d prevent  him f r o m s l i p p i n g i n t o the v o i d .  --  will  Back i n J a m a i c a , he  p r e a c h e s about " t h e v i r t u e s o f t o u c h i n g t h e s u r f a c e s of s o c i e t y , o f l a y i n g hands on the warm bonnets o f c a r s , p r o d d i n g t h e ooze of overheated a s p h a l t on t h e s t r e e t s , b r u s h i n g the b l a d e s  of  g r a s s on t h e u n i v e r s i t y campus, and f i n a l l y he g a t e - c r a s h e d  a  garden p a r t y a t K i n g ' s House and touched the G o v e r n o r - G e n e r a l ' s w i f e on h e r h i p s and t h i g h s " (C.K., 195).  When Erasmus h e a r s  the news o f C a t u l l u s ' i n s a n i t y , he a t t r i b u t e s i t t o t h e " d i a b o l i c a l " mixture  o f Jamaica and England.  The  two  worlds,  S a l k e y seems t o be s a y i n g , are t o o d i s p a r a t e t o p e r m i t attempt t o b r i d g e them.  any  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, Jean Rhys has  pursued the same theme w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o the w h i t e West I n d i a n . Taken t o g e t h e r , t h e r e f o r e , t h e theme of t h e  irreconcilability  o f the West I n d i e s and E n g l a n d b r e a k s t h r o u g h t h e b a r r i e r s o f race. These themes are r e i n f o r c e d t h r o u g h o u t the n o v e l the " r o o t l e s s i d i o m " t h a t S a l k e y employs.  I t only serves  by to  d i s t a n c e C a t u l l u s f r o m the l i f e around him and deny r e a l communication.  Any  random page w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the number o f  one word s e n t e n c e s t h e r e The  are.  book i s f i n e l y b a l a n c e d  between t h e comic  the t r a g i c and i s b o t h i m a g i n a t i v e and o r i g i n a l .  and  Salkey  makes no o v e r t a p p e a l s f o r sympathy; i n f a c t C a t u l l u s d e l i b e r a t e l y d i s t a n c e s h i m s e l f f r o m the r e a d e r .  Because i t i s t h e  o n l y immigrant n o v e l i n t h i s group t h a t ends w i t h t h e p r o t a g o n i s t r e t u r n i n g , t h e end i s s i g n i f i c a n t .  C a t u l l u s i s no  p r o d i g a l r e t u r n i n g home t o a j o y f u l welcome. wandering mode o f e x i s t e n c e  His drifting,  c o n t i n u e s and he f i n a l l y ends h i  wandering i n a mental asylum.  FOOTNOTES  the  •'•References t o t h i s book w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t under c i t a t i o n , 'C.K.' 2  The M e e t i n g P o i n t ( T o r o n t o : M a c m i l l a n o f Canada, 1 9 6 7 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s , e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t and w i l l be c i t e d as *M.P. 1  T h e E m i g r a n t s (London: M i c h a e l Joseph, 1 9 6 4 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n t h e . t e x t under t h e c i t a t i o n , *The Em.* 3  *The L o n e l y Londoners (New York: S t . M a r t i n ' s P r e s s , 1956). Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the t e x t and w i l l be c i t e d as 'L.L.' c  London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1 9 6 5 .  G e r a l d Moore, The Chosen Tongue: E n g l i s h W r i t i n g i n T r o p i c a l World (London: Longmans, Green and Co. L t d . , 1 9 6 9 ) ,  the p. 41 •  T n a r e v i e w o f George Lamming*s Of Age And Innocence, New Statesman, Dec. 6 , 1 9 5 8 , p. 8 2 7 . 7  8  The P l e a s u r e s o f E x i l e , p. 2 5 . Lamming c i t e s , as an example, t h e a s t o n i s h m e n t o f i m m i g r a n t s on f i r s t s e e i n g E n g l i s h men d o i n g manual l a b o u r . They s i m p l y d i d n o t a s s o c i a t e t h e two. 9  B I a c k S k i n , W h i t e Masks, p. 1 0 9 . I r r a t i o n a l Man, p. 180.  1 Q  The  llr  1 2  Chosen Tongue, p. 1 0 2 .  I b i d . , p. 1 0 4 .  G.R. C o u l t h a r d , Race and C o l o u r i n C a r i b b e a n L i t e r a t u r e (London: O x f o r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 6 2 ) , p. 1 1 1 . 13  1 Z f  I n h i s r e v i e w , New Statesman, Dec. 2 9 , 1 9 5 6 , p.846.  15  ^Race and C o l o u r i n C a r i b b e a n L i t e r a t u r e , p. 1 1 1 . 83  84  W.H. New, "The N o v e l (19.69),. p. 125-  l6  ture,  41  i n English." ,  Canadian  Litera-  L l o y d Brown, "The West I n d i a n N o v e l i n N o r t h A m e r i c a : A Study o f A u s t i n C l a r k e , . " J o u r n a l o f Commonwealth L i t e r a t u r e , 9 ( J u l y , 1970), 96. 1 7  18 • The S u r v i v o r s o f t h e C r o s s i n g and S t e w a r t , 1964), p. 96. The  "^Anthony B o x h i l l , F i d d l e h e a d , 75 ( S p r i n g , 2 Q  Ibid.,  (Toronto: McClelland  rev. of the novels of Austin 1968), p . 71.  Clarke,  p . 71.  21 I n t h e c o l l e c t i o n o f s h o r t s t o r i e s , When he was f r e e and y o u n g a n d he u s e d t o w e a r s i l k s ( T o r o n t o : A n a n s i , 1971), p. 51. pp "The West I n d i a n N o v e l i n N o r t h A m e r i c a , " p. 96. 23 " T h i s i s t h e t i t l e o f a r e v i e w a r t i c l e "The N o v e l a s S o c i o l o g y a s B o r e , " J o h n H e a r n e , C a r i b b e a n Q u a r t e r l y , 18,4 (Dec. 1972), p. 7o. H e a r n e c r i t i c i z e s O r l a n d o P a t t e r s o n ' s D i e T h e L o n g Day (New Y o r k : W i l l i a m Morrow a n d Co. I n c . , 1972). as a " c o l l e c t i o n o f s o c i o l o g i s t ' s n o t e s p u t i n t o t h e mouths and a c t i o n s o f i m a g i n a r y c h a r a c t e r s . " 2  %Lack  S k i n , White  Masks, pp. 77-78.  25 Dennis W i l l i a m s ,  L o n d o n : New A u t h o r s L t d . , No.8, 1963.  P f. " I n Between," r e v . , T i m e s L i t e r a r y M a r c h , 1969, p. 192. "Fathomless p . 230. 2 7  1969,  2  ^Irrational  Supplement,  20  Moments," r e v . by D a v i d Haworth, 14 F e b .  Man, p. 197.  CHAPTER IV THE AFRO/ASI AN/EUROPEAN SEARCH FOR ORIGINS The West I n d i a n s modern A f r o / A s i a n / E u r o p e a n journeyback t o t h e a n c e s t r a l homeland i n s e a r c h o f t h e p a s t ( h i s o r i g i n s ) , t h a t w i l l p r o v i d e t h e key t o h i s p r e s e n t and f u t u r e , can be p a r t i c u l a r l y d e v a s t a t i n g f o r i t i s t h e most f i n a l j o u r n e y t h a t can be made.  F a i l u r e t o f i n d one's p l a c e i n t h e  a n c e s t r a l homeland stamps one's r o o t l e s s n e s s w i t h a cosmic homelessness.  One i s c o m p l e t i n g t h e c i r c l e o f t h e m i d d l e pas-  sage, r e t r a c i n g t h e s t e p s o f one's a n c e s t o r s t o a r e a l i t y t h a t has become b l u r r e d and o b s c u r e d by time and i g n o r a n c e . F o r t h o s e whose a n c e s t o r s l e f t u n w i l l i n g l y i t may r e p r e s e n t t h e s a f e womb f r o m w h i c h t h e y have been e x p e l l e d .  I t may have  been p a r t l y m y t h o l o g i s e d and i d e a l i s e d as home; i t may have been shrouded i n d a r k n e s s ; i t may have been d e s e c r a t e d ; but i t i s s t i l l f e l t t o h o l d t h e s e c r e t o f one's p e r s o n a l i t y and t o promise an end t o t h e l o n g e x i l e . N a i p a u l , o f E a s t I n d i a n d e s c e n t , J e a n Rhys, E n g l i s h , and Dennis W i l l i a m s , o f A f r i c a n d e s c e n t , a r e among t h e West I n d i a n s who have attempted t o b r i d g e t h e m i d d l e passage. p a u l 's An Area o f D a r k n e s s  1  Nai-  i s o s t e n s i b l y an account o f h i s p  y e a r i n I n d i a ; i n W i l l i a m s ' Other Leopards,  the..hero, F r o a d ,  f o u n d e r s i n h i s attempt t o come t o terms w i t h h i m s e l f , A f r i c a and t h e p a s t ; and Voyage I n The Dark^ and Wide Sargasso 85  Sea  4  86  by Jean Rhys t o g e t h e r c r e a t e a composite p i c t u r e o f t h e chasm t h a t e x i s t s between t h e w h i t e West I n d i a n and England, t h e two worlds being mutually e x c l u s i v e .  A l l f o u r books b r i n g  into  d i r e c t c o n f r o n t a t i o n , two d i s t i n c t w o r l d s and t i m e s -- p a s t and p r e s e n t ; a l l f o u r move towards a common end, the f a i l u r e o f t h e West I n d i a n t o e s t a b l i s h a m e a n i n g f u l c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e a n c e s t r a l w o r l d and t h e h a u n t i n g i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y o f t h i s world.  The common s y m b o l i c s t r e s s e s i n t h e books emphasize the  a u t h o r s * c o n c e r n s w i t h t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s whose l i v e s have been broken i n two by t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h t h e p a s t .  (For the  sake o f convenience, N a i p a u l w i l l be r e f e r r e d t o as a c h a r a c ter) .  The s t r e s s on d a r k n e s s , o b v i o u s enough i n t h e mere  t i t l e s Voyage I n The Dark and Area o f Darkness conveys an i d e a of t h e i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y o f t h e s e w o r l d s .  W i l l i a m s * s t r e s s on  •whole* and * h a l f * and N a i p a u l * s on *whole*  r e f l e c t the  c h a r a c t e r s * need t o remain ( N a i p a u l ) o r become ( W i l l i a m s ) whole, and p r o t e c t t h e m s e l v e s from t h e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f the self. S i g n i f i c a n t use i s made o f t h e image o f r e b i r t h t o suggest t h e a b o r t e d attempt t o be born a g a i n . Dark, Anna, who  I n Voyage I n The  has j u s t come from t h e West I n d i e s , d e s c r i b e s  h e r s e n s a t i o n s on b e i n g i n England. born a g a i n " (Voyage, 7 ) .  I t was "almost l i k e b e i n g  But t h e hope and promise i m p l i e d i n  t h i s image i s savaged a t t h e end when she d r i f t s i n t o a l i f e o f p r o s t i t u t i o n and has t o have an a b o r t i o n .  The r e b i r t h t h a t  b e g i n s t h e book i s soured i n t o an image o f d e a t h .  I n Other  L e o p a r d s , F r o a d * s c r i s i s o f i d e n t i t y r e d u c e s him t o i n f a n t i l i t y .  87  There are two major i n c i d e n t s i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h i s .  In  t h e f i r s t , he i s h i d i n g i n an outdoor t o i l e t when a woman comes i n t o use i t .  G e r a l d Moore i n t e r p r e t s i t as " u n d i s g u i s e d  imagery o f a n a l r e - e n t r y t o t h e womb o f i n f a n c y , w h i c h , added to  t h e image o f s e x u a l w i t h d r a w a l , vomit and u r i n a t i o n t h a t  has preceded  i t , marks t h e c o m p l e t i o n o f F r o a d s f  from m a t u r i t y . " ^ of t h e n o v e l .  H i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s born out a t t h e  runs  I n a b i z a r r e scene, he b u r i e s h i s  c l o t h e s and cakes h i s e n t i r e body w i t h s o f t c l a y  i n an attempt t o mask h i s body odours. a tree.  end  F r o a d has stabbed h i s w h i t e s u p e r i o r and  i n t o t h e bush t o h i d e . vomit-covered  withdrawal  F i n a l l y , he c l i m b s up  Moore sees t h i s as "a r e t r e a t t o t h e embryo."^  N a i p a u l ' s v i s i t t o I n d i a ends i n a k i n d o f d e a t h . c l o s i n g comments i s , " I t was  of h i s  a j o u r n e y t h a t ought not t o have  been made; i t had broken my l i f e i n two" The  One  (Area, 265).  s i t u a t i o n s o f the c h a r a c t e r s a r e more d i s t i n c t l y  e x i s t e n t i a l as a group t h a n t h e groups o f n o v e l s p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d , f o r t h e y a r e making a c o n s c i o u s attempt t o b r i d g e t h e g u l f between two w o r l d s , i n v o l v i n g t h e danger o f b e i n g f o r e v e r suspended between them. of R h y s  1  T h i s i s , i n f a c t , the p o s i t i o n  h e r o i n e s and W i l l i a m s • hero a t t h e end:  F r o a d up a  t r e e , h i s p h y s i c a l b e i n g a n n i h i l a t e d , Anna and A n t o i n e t t e m e t a p h o r i c a l l y s t i l l a t sea, h a v i n g l o s t t h e i r way t h e j o u r n e y , unable t o get  somewhere on  ashore.  I t i s a t e s t i m o n y t o t h e oneness o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e t h e s e w r i t e r s r e c o r d , t h a t t h e y a r r i v e a t a common c o n c l u s i o n  88  d e s p i t e t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r r a c i a l backgrounds.  The  p o i n t s h o u l d a l s o be made t h a t t h e a b o r t i v e quest f o r o r i g i n s i s g i v e n a u n i v e r s a l dimension.  The w h i t e West I n d i a n ' s r e -  l a t i o n t o England i s o s t e n s i b l y t h e l e a s t p r o b l e m a t i c .  The  E n g l i s h c u l t u r a l i m p o s i t i o n has kept h i m i n t o u c h w i t h t h e familiar.  I t i s a h e r i t a g e o f w h i c h he has never been made t o  f e e l ashamed.  And he has p r o b a b l y been most a b l e t o m a i n t a i n  connections w i t h h i s country of o r i g i n .  S i m i l a r l y , the East  I n d i a n has r e t a i n e d h i s r a c i a l p r i d e and m a i n t a i n e d c l o s e c u l t u r a l and r e l i g i o u s t i e s w i t h I n d i a .  H i s recent a r r i v a l i n the  West I n d i e s has p r o b a b l y f a c i l i t a t e d t h i s .  The negro approaches  A f r i c a w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l y more t r e p i d a t i o n .  England, r a t h e r than  A f r i c a , m a y have r e p r e s e n t e d home t o him. Lamming a n a l y s e s t h e West I n d i a n ' s f e a r and m i s g i v i n g s on a p p r o a c h i n g  Africa:  H i s r e l a t i o n t o t h a t c o n t i n e n t i s more p e r s o n a l and more p r o b l e m a t i c ... he has n o t ... been i n t r o duced t o i t t h r o u g h h i s t o r y .... He knows i t t h r o u g h rumour and myth which i s made s i n i s t e r by a f o r e i g n t u t e l a g e , and he becomes ... i d e n t i f i e d w i t h f e a r ... f e a r o f t h a t c o n t i n e n t as a w o r l d beyond human i n t e r v e n t i o n . ' W i t h t h e new r a c i a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s , one f i n d s t h a t n o v e l s s e t i n A f r i c a by West I n d i a n s who have n e v e r been t o A f r i c a a r e i d e a l i z e d , almost compensatory.  Dathorne, who, l i k e W i l l i a m s ,  l i v e s i n A f r i c a , comments on t h e s i m i l a r i t y o f e x p e r i e n c e s between h i s hero, Adam Questus i n The S c h o l a r Man, and F r o a d . Both become e s t r a n g e d from A f r i c a , as opposed t o t h e i d e a l i z e d p i c t u r e o f A f r i c a t h a t one g e t s i n V i c R e i d ' s The L e o p a r d .  8  Other Leopards probes t h e dilemma o f a West I n d i a n negro, F r o a d , who a t t e m p t s t o r e s o l v e t h e c o n f l i c t o f h i s d u a l  89  Afro-European h e r i t a g e h i s two  and  names, L i o n e l and  o f h i s two  selves, symbolized  Lobo, i n a newly-independent A f r i c a n  S t a t e w h i c h i s as i n t e r n a l l y r i v e n as he. l o g i c a l draughtsman.  by  L i o n e l i s an  In h i s desire to r e a l i s e h i s  s e l f , he f l u c t u a t e s between commitment and  archeo-  African  independence  and  f i n d s h i m s e l f i n c r e a s i n g l y boxed i n by the d i f f e r e n t c l a i m s made on him  and  the d i f f e r e n t r o l e s imposed on him.  He  n e i t h e r the i n n e r r e s e r v e s t o r e s i s t t h e s e c l a i m s nor strength  t o c r e a t e h i s own  identity.  has the  In t h i s s t a t e of  t i o n , o r r a t h e r o f c r e a t i v e p a r a l y s i s and  vacilla-  impotence, b e l o n g i n g  t o n e i t h e r the A f r i c a n nor European w o r l d , h e s i t a t i n g between two women, C a t h e r i n e , who  i s Welsh, and  • e l e m e n t a l * , he becomes s u s c e p t i b l e by Hughie, h i s w h i t e s u p e r i o r who  who  i s black  t o the p r e s s u r e s  hammers i n t o him  l a c k o f a sense o f t i m e , of h i s t o r y and quarrel  Eve,  whose o r i g i n i s debated. i t i s African.  his  Hughie c h a l l e n g e s him  African Their  s i t e at Meroe  t o prove t h a t  L i o n e l i s goaded i n t o the quest and  intimately involved.  applied  o f the p a s t .  c e n t r e s around an i m p o r t a n t a r c h e o l o g i c a l  becomes  I n the pyramid o f the Queen, Amanashikete,  he hopes t o f i n d something i n the A f r i c a n p a s t t h a t he communicate w i t h , t h a t he  can t r u l y c l a i m as h i s  can  own.  I n s t e a d , the t o w e r i n g 2,000 y e a r o l d s t a t u e o f Queen who  was  g r o s s n e s s , and  There are p r i s o n e r s  her r i g h t she  the  u n d o u b t e d l y A f r i c a n , p r o v e s t o be an embodiment  o f c r u e l t y , h a t e and emptiness.  and  a mirror  image o f h i s  t i e d t o her l e f t hand and  i s f l o g g i n g s l a v e s , "She  was  own with  a spreading desert  ...  90  I wished f o r t h e words t o a s s a u l t t h o s e stone e a r s w i t h some c l a i m o f my v e r y own, mine, me!  But t i m e passed, wind  blew,  sand s e t t l e d , gloom deepened, and I c o u l d t h i n k o f n o t h i n g ; n o t h i n g a t a l l " (O.L., 155). o lease,  H i s t o r i c a l knowledge b r i n g s no r e -  and t h e p a s t h a v i n g f a i l e d him, F r o a d fragments  night-  marl s h l y . The e n t i r e n o v e l i s s t r u c t u r e d around t e n s i o n s , and by u s i n g t h i s d e v i c e , W i l l i a m s i m p l i c i t l y o u t l i n e s F r o a d * s e s s e n t i a l p o s i t i o n , t h a t o f a man always caught between o p p o s i n g forces.  H i s name, F r o a d , has o v e r t o n e s o f F r a u d , o f i n n e r  hollowness.  H i s two f i r s t names, L i o n e l and Lobo, a r e an i n d i c a -  t i o n o f h i s s p l i t s e l f , b o t h names, l i k e h i s d u a l h e r i t a g e , p u l l i n g him a p a r t .  L i o n e l i s t h e name he was c h r i s t e n e d w i t h  and r e p r e s e n t s t h e European s i d e o f him; Lobo, t h e name h i s s i s t e r used t o c a l l him, s u g g e s t s h i s A f r i c a n a n c e s t r y . I am a man, you s e e , p l a g u e d by t h e s e two names, and t h i s i s t h e i r h i s t o r y : L i o n e l , t h e who I was, d e a l i n g w i t h Lobo, t h e who I c o n t i n u a l l y f e l t I ought t o become A l l a l o n g , e v e r s i n c e I * d grown up, I * d been L i o n e l l o o k i n g f o r Lobo .... I * d f e l t I ought t o become t h i s chap, t h i s a l t e r ego o f a n c e s t r a l t i m e s t h a t I was sure q u i e t l y slumbered b e h i n d t h e c u l t i v a t e d mask. (O.L., 19-20). The d i f f e r e n c e between b e i n g and becoming can be d e f i n e d as c o n s c i o u s n e s s ; F r o a d * s c o n s c i o u s n e s s i s both h i s b l e s s i n g and h i s c u r s e .  The r e v i e w e r i n B l a c k Orpheus d e s c r i b e s  t h e n o v e l as " a moving, though t o r m e n t i n g a n a l y s i s o f a man who cannot s o l v e h i s problems because he s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y  observes  h i s e v e r y s t e p , c a l c u l a t e s e v e r y u t t e r a n c e , a n a l y s e s every human r e l a t i o n s h i p u n t i l he i s caught l i k e a p r i s o n e r i n h i s own  consciousness his  and does not a l l o w h i m s e l f t o s i m p l y l i v e and l e t  i d e n t i t y take care of i t s e l f . "  1 0  T h i s extreme c o n s c i o u s -  ness o f s e l f a f f e c t s t h e v e r y language o f t h e book. flows.  " I t j e r k s , quivers, v i b r a t e s nervously  I t never  along."  1 1  As L i o n e l r e a l i s e s , the s t e p from L i o n e l t o Lobo i m p l i e s commitment; i t i n v o l v e s g r o u n d i n g  his existence.  d e s c r i b e s h i s p o s i t i o n a t the b e g i n n i n g as t h a t o f  "The  Uncommitted A f r i c a n " , " t h a t not e n v i a b l e s t a t e o f b e i n g , a t t i t u d e of i n v o l u n t a r y p a r a l y s i s " s i s stems f r o m h i s m i d d l e - o f - t h e and d e s i r e s i n v o l v e m e n t s  (O.L.,20).  road p o s i t i o n .  He  the  Froad's p a r a l y He both f e a r s  and a l l e g i a n c e s .  H i s s p e c i a l p o s i t i o n and h i s p o l i t i c a l and  religious  i n d i f f e r e n c e make him the t a r g e t o f r i v a l c l a i m s , each o f w h i c h sees him as a symbol.  Of those who  p r e s s u r e him out o f h i s  p a s s i v e s t a t e o f i n e r t i a and uncommittedness, Hughie i s t h e most d e s t r u c t i v e because he f o r c e s him t o c o n f r o n t h i s p a s t . H i s aim i s t o d e t e r m i n e whether the M e r o i t i c c i v i l i z a t i o n A f r i c a n , and i f so, what prevented culture.  The  i t from c r e a t i n g a  was  powerful  o n l y a u t h o r i t y on M e r o i t i c c i v i l i z a t i o n i s a n i n e -  t e e n t h c e n t u r y European s c h o l a r c a l l e d L e s p i u s , and Hughie sees F r o a d ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as t w o - f o l d , f i r s t , t o s e t t l e the quest i o n o f o r i g i n , and s e c o n d l y , t o become the a u t h o r i t y on the subject.  Froad r e p o r t s t h e i r one-way c o n v e r s a t i o n :  ...... h i s c a r r y - o n about r e s p o n s i b i l i t y : a man's p a r t i c u l a r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o r a c e and r e g i o n (which was s a c r e d and o b l i g a t o r y i n f a c e o f e v e r y t h i n g ) , as w e l l as h i s g e n e r a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ( t o h i m s e l f ) t o t a k e p o s s e s s i o n o f some b i t o f the f u t u r e f o r the sake o f t h e f u t u r e ,1 can't t h i n k o f anyone more capable t h a n y o u r s e l f ... knowledge o f Greco-Roman, Egypto-Roman forms ... A f r i c a n background i n t o t h e b a r g a i n , you see. T h i s b u s i n e s s o f e s t a b l i s h i n g a d i s -  92 t i n c t i v e a e s t h e t i c as t h e l i f e - f o r c e i n M e r o i t i c A r t ... debunking o l d L e s p i u s you've g o t s t u f f t o l i v e on t h e r e f o r y e a r s . (O.L., 105-107) But F r o a d i s i n c a p a b l e o f l i v i n g i n t h e p a s t o r f u t u r e .  He  l i v e s o n l y i n i n s t a n t s and t r a f f i c s o n l y w i t h t h e immediate. He has no d e s i r e t o t a k e p o s s e s s i o n o f t h e f u t u r e f o r t h e sake o f t h e f u t u r e , and here i s where h i s mind and Hughie*s  clash.  Hughie has a sense o f t h e p a s t w h i l e F r o a d does n o t because he has n o t had a p a s t . Coming a c r o s s a d r a w i n g o f Queen Amanishakete i n L e s p i u s , F r o a d i s at once s t r u c k by i t s remarkable s i m i l a r i t y t o Eve, t h e A f r i c a n g i r l .  I t c a p t u r e s h i s i m a g i n a t i o n and when  he sees t h e s t a t u e o f t h e Queen i n t h e M e r o i t i c museum, " I knew t h a t t h i s image o f Eve, t h i s p e r s i s t e n t f e m a l e , would never l e a v e me as l o n g as I l i v e d "  (O.L., 1 3 4 - 1 3 5 ) .  But merely  f e e l i n g i t i n h i s bones i s n o t enough f o r Hughie who d e a l s w i t h f a c t s and e v i d e n c e , and by r e j e c t i n g Froad*s i n t u i t i o n ,  Hughie  f o r c e s h i m t o prove t h e A f r i c a n o r i g i n o f t h e Queen^ t o prove h e r e x i s t e n c e and hence, h i s own e x i s t e n c e . " T h i s queen, man, she*s Negro .... My k i n d , Hughie; me! Y*don*t have t o prove t h a t , I know i t ...." " B u t you*ve got t o prove i t , my dear man . ..." (O.L., 135) I n t h i s way F r o a d * s f a t e becomes bound up w i t h t h e A f r i c a n p a s t ; he i s f o r c e d t o s t e p o u t o f h i s i n s t a n t s and l i v e i n t h e w i d e r c i r c l e of time —  p a s t , p r e s e n t and f u t u r e .  F r o a d i s a l s o sought by b o t h t h e C h r i s t i a n s and Muslims who see i n h i s unique p o s i t i o n t h e v a l u e o f h i s p r o p a ganda s e r v i c e s .  He i s f i r s t approached by Mohammed, a h a l f -  93 Negro, h a l f - A r a b who i s a f r a i d o f A f r i c a n n a t i o n a l i s m and wants F r o a d , " a s a Western Negro", " a f o r e i g n e r " , and " a man of  c o l o u r " t o w r i t e some propaganda  a r t i c l e s f o r the Arabs.  You're a model, i n a way, o f r a c i a l a d a p t a t i o n : j u s t what we f o r e s e e f o r t h e S o u t h e r n e r s out h e r e ; y o u r people h a v i n g e v o l v e d as m i n o r i t i e s i n Western C i v i l i z a t i o n . You're a model o f freedom, Mr. F r o a d , t h a t ' s what's i m p o r t a n t t o u s . You see why no one e l s e b u t you can h e l p ? A f r i c a n s , as I ' v e s a i d , w o r s h i p p e r s o n a l i t i e s ; t h e y need such a model. W i t h your h e l p we p l a n to s e l l them t h e i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f environment; you know, l i k e y o u r own people have u n d e r s t o o d i t among Europeans t h e l a s t t h r e e hundred y e a r s . (O.L., 57) L e a v i n g a s i d e t h e o b v i o u s i r o n i e s o f t h i s p i e c e , i t i s worth n o t i n g t h a t Mohammed sees F r o a d a s a model and sees h i s p o t e n t i a l as a symbol, w h i c h i s e s s e n t i a l l y what a p e r s o n a l i t y  cult  i s based on. S i m i l a r l y , t h e C h r i s t i a n s want h i m t o w r i t e for  them and g e t t h e C h r i s t i a n message a c r o s s .  The C h i e f ex-  p l a i n s t o t h e B i s h o p , "he i s t h e o n l y uncommitted and i n any case A f r i c a n s l o v e p e r s o n a l i t i e s "  articles  p e r s o n ...  (O.L., 64). These  two c l a i m s add new d i m e n s i o n s t o h i s r e l a t i o n t o t h e p a s t . groups want h i m t o s e l l o u t on t h e A f r i c a n s .  Both  He i s d i r e c t l y  confronted w i t h another aspect o f h i s A f r i c a n past, the f a c t o f s l a v e r y , and i s f a c e d w i t h t h e same c h o i c e h i s a n c e s t o r f a c e d . F r o a d , whom t h e C h r i s t i a n s and Muslims see as a symbol, his  i s more o f a symbol t h a n t h e y r e a l i s e .  The d i v i s i o n i n  s e l f i s m i r r o r e d i n t h e brokenness o f h i s environment.  There a r e v e r y few c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e n o v e l who can b o a s t as does t h e A f r i c a n he meets a t a P r e s s C o n f e r e n c e , " I am t h e t r u e  94  o r i g i n a l t h i n g , pure A f r i c a n . been a s l a v e .  I ' v e n e v e r been s o l d , n e v e r  I've g o t a name, Mr. L i o n e l Froad, and a t r i b e .  Now t e l l me who you are! *  (O.L., 74).  1  F r o a d , d e t r i b a l i z e d and  c l e f t , c a n o n l y remain s i l e n t a t t h i s d e c l a r a t i o n o f wholeness. Eve  s c o f f s a t h i s t a l k about b e i n g A f r i c a n .  " A l l t h i s fuss  about b e i n g A f r i c a n o n l y because you're r e a l l y w h i t e .... come t o me h a l f man" (O.L., 175).  You  H i s d e s p e r a t e w i s h t o be-  l o n g and h i s s e a r c h f o r an A f r i c a n p a s t he can c l a i m , a r e undermined by h i s f e e l i n g o f a l i e n a t i o n and t h a t ness that c h a r a c t e r i s e s  everything  he does.  selfconscious-  An A f r i c a n  playing  on a p r i m i t i v e i n s t r u m e n t l o o k s a t him and F r o a d i m m e d i a t e l y assumes t h a t t h e man can see i n t o him: I t must have been t h i s he r e c o g n i z e d , t h e mark o f the s l a v e , t h e e x p a t r i a t e A f r i c a n , t h e d i s t o r t e d b l u e - c o p y , t h e m i s p l a c e d p e r s o n , t h e sham. He was c o i l i n g a l l around me l i k e a man-eating snake ... d e a l i n g w i t h t h e a l i e n i n me, t h e f a k e i n t e l l i g e n c e , the o f f - c o l o u r f i n e s s e , t h e s l a v e - b r a n d . (O.L., 178) But t h e A f r i c a n s a r e as s p l i t as he i s -- by r e l i g i o n , "the  p a r t i n g o f o u r mothers' l e g s by C r e s c e n t , by C r o s s . "  And  the f i c t i t i o u s s e t t i n g o f t h e n o v e l , J o k h a r a , i s an o b j e c t i v e c o r e l a t i v e o f t h e broken, c l e f t , n a t u r e o f a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s . I t i s i n t h e S u d a n i c b e l t o f A f r i c a , "Not q u i t e but t h e n n o t q u i t e d e s e r t ; ranean w h i t e . Not  Mulatto.  sub-Sahara,  not E q u a t o r i a l black, not Mediter-  S u d a n i c m u l a t t o ... Ochre, Semi-scrub.  d e s e r t , n o t sown" (O.L., 1 9 ) . The  condition.  d e s e r t becomes t h e key symbol o f t h e West  Indian  I t i s t h e d i v i d i n g l i n e between Europe and A f r i c a ,  b e l o n g i n g t o n e i t h e r , a k i n d o f m u l a t t o caught between two  95  o p p o s i n g t r a d i t i o n s and p e o p l e s , ways.  p e r p e t u a l l y l o o k i n g both  I t stands t h e r e , empty and a r i d . The  symbolism o f t h e n o v e l t h e r e f o r e r e v o l v e s around  d u a l i t y , h a l v e s , c i r c l e s and wholeness, u n d e r l y i n g F r o a d s ?  s t r i v i n g s t o be made whole.  E a r l y i n t h e n o v e l , almost a l l  t h e s e words o c c u r i n a s h o r t d e s c r i p t i o n o f a woman c l e a r i n g away t h e b o t t l e s l e f t by t h e men i n a d r i n k i n g s e s s i o n .  The  i n s i s t e n t r e p e t i t i o n s e t s up t h e m o t i f : And Becks b e e r , t o o , drunk where t h e y had s a t i n a c i r c l e . . . . She broke t h e c i r c l e one by one .... Back i n t h e c e n t r e she broke t h e c i r c l e once a g a i n , backed t h r o u g h t h e backs o f c i r c l e d men .... Then t h e room was s p l i t : h a l f a g a i n s t t h e w a l l , half half (sic) circled. She g a t h e r e d t h e g l a s s e s , broke t h e c i r c l e one by one.... She c i r c l e d t h e t a b l e d r y and backed i t o u t . . . . I broke t h e c i r c l e o f r u b b e r bedded i n beneath t h e l i d . (O.L., 28-29) C a t h e r i n e , d e s c r i b i n g how she would draw F r o a d ' s port r a i t , s a y s , " I ' d s i m p l y draw a r a t h e r t h i c k , p e r f e c t l y round, circle —  one c o l o u r —  w i t h a t i n y gap l e f t i n t h e c i r c u m f e r -  ence t o b r i n g t i m e i n t o t h e t h i n g ; i n t e r n a l t i m e , e x t e r n a l time"  (O.L., 1 3 3 ) . The h o l l o w i n t h e c e n t r e i s , o f c o u r s e ,  o c c u p i e d by F r o a d ( F r a u d ) .  Hughie, by f o r c i n g t h e quest on him,  smashes h i s c i r c l e and p l u n g e s h i m i n t o i n t e r n a l and e x t e r n a l t i m e , so t h a t when he c o n f r o n t s t h e c r u e l s t a t u e and d i s c o v e r s t h a t t h e r e was "no Mother o f Time" o n l y " v e s s e l s ; whole o r b r o k e n , f u l l o r empty" he c o n f r o n t s h i m s e l f , a broken v e s s e l . He never t e l l s Hughie about h i s c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the s t a t u e , and when Hughie b e g i n s t o p r e a c h a t h i m a g a i n , " I d e a s a r e s i m p l y wasted on people l i k e you ..... You won't ever  96 cease t o be d r i v e n " he s t a b s Hughie and f l e e s . on t r i a l i n a d e s e r t f o r e s t . " for to  "Lonely  The d e s e r t i s a f i t t i n g  h i s t r i a l f o r i t i s b o t h around and w i t h i n him. mind t h e i m a g i n a r y a r t i c l e he had planned  Froad place  It calls  to write f o r  Mohammed e n t i t l e d , "A Eunuch i n the D e s e r t " , the g i s t o f which would r e a d , "The (O.L., 8 8 ) .  man  was  an A f r i c a n ... and he was  To W i l l i a m s , the d e s e r t i s p r o f o u n d l y  of the West I n d i a n c o n d i t i o n .  a Eunuch" expressive  I t i s an u n c r e a t i n g d i v i d e ,  embodiment o f s p i r i t u a l d r o u t h , a s t a t i c and  an  intermediate  c o n d i t i o n f r o m which t h e r e i s no apparent escape. Between Europe and A f r i c a t h e r e i s t h i s d e s e r t . How f i t t i n g ! Between the w h i t e and t h e b l a c k t h i s m u l a t t o d i v i d e . You cannot c r o s s i t , whoever you a r e , and remain the same. You change. You become, i n a way, y o u r s e l f m u l a t t o -- l o o k i n g b o t h ways. (O.L., 209) F r o a d * s p l i g h t i s r e s o l v e d by the a n n i h i l a t i o n o f h i s physical being.  A f t e r he removes a l l t r a c e s o f h i m s e l f by  burying h i s clothes, covering h i s tracks, i n s u l a t i n g himself w i t h c l a y and e n s u r i n g t h a t he c a s t s no shadows, he c l i m b s a tree.  "Now  h a v i n g removed my body and the l a s t t r a c e s o f i t ,  I am w i t h o u t a c o n t e x t c l e a r . a darkness,  up  Going up t h i s t r e e ... I am i n  nowhere a t a l l , I am n o t h i n g , nowhere.  something g a i n e d " i s puzzling.  (O.L., 221).  The  This i s  c o n t r a d i c t i o n a t the  end  Froad reduces h i m s e l f t o n o t h i n g , the quest f o r  mere b e i n g i s reduced t o an i n t e l l e c t u a l c o n t e x t f o r n e i t h e r 13  w o r l d can accommodate him,  J  y e t t h i s n e g a t i v e s t a t e i s viewed  as a p o s i t i v e achievement. Kenneth p l a c e s h i s f i n g e r on t h e h e a r t o f the  matter  97 when he s a y s : By t h e end o f Other Leopards t h e need e i t h e r f o r r o o t s o r f o r s p i r i t u a l t r a n s c e n d e n c e has been conc r e t e l y e s t a b l i s h e d , but t h e c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r has a c h i e v e d n e i t h e r .... The a g i t a t e d s e n t e n c e s a c t out the o b s e s s i v e n a t u r e o f Froad's d e s i r e f o r escape and a n n i h i l a t i o n , but the n e g a t i v e s a t i s f a c t i o n o f o u t w i t t i n g Hughie makes i t i m p o s s i b l e f o r us t o imagine t h a t the c l i m a x r e p r e s e n t s a s p i r i t u a l o r p h i l o s o p h i c a l triumph. **" 1  Not o n l y i s F r o a d d e n i e d mere p h y s i c a l b e i n g , but he i s d e n i e d a p l a c e i n e i t h e r w o r l d (he i s up a t r e e ) and i s d r i v e n i n t o himself.  The end makes sense o n l y i n the l i g h t o f what we have  known Froad t o be throughout t h e n o v e l -- a s h a t t e r e d man  who  i s a t odds w i t h h i m s e l f and t o t a l l y d i s o r i e n t e d between two worlds. The importance o f An Area o f Darkness t o t h i s s t u d y i s t h a t i t i s a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l , a p e r s o n a l statement o f the theme o f p l a c e l e s s n e s s which r u n s t h r o u g h t h i s a u t h o r ' s work, and a c o n f i r m a t i o n o f h i s view o f the West I n d i a n as a r o o t l e s s v i d u a l whose h i s t o r y i s a h i s t o r y o f n o t h i n g n e s s .  indi-  " N a i p a u l sees  t h e whole o f West I n d i a n h i s t o r y as a huge h i a t u s , a gap i n time,bounded  a t e i t h e r end by the middle passage  ....  The whole  o f t h e West I n d i a n e x p e r i e n c e has been a l o n g j o u r n e y , i n time and i n space, and a p o i n t l e s s o n e . " ^ 1  I n The M i d d l e Passage, a  man whom he meets as he t r a v e l s t h r o u g h Surinam, s y m b o l i z e s f o r him, the u t t e r d e s o l a t i o n t h a t was the m i d d l e passage — d e r e l i c t man  i n a d e r e l i c t l a n d , l o s t i n an u n r e a l l a n d s c a p e ,  f r o m w h i c h t h e r e i s no escape.  The I n d i a n community t h a t he  w r i t e s about seems, i n p a r t i c u l a r , t o have n e v e r a r r i v e d ; as i f i t i s suspended tinents. ^ 1  a  i tis  i n a p e r p e t u a l j o u r n e y between t h e con-  98  I n h i s l a t e r n o v e l s , as the scene s h i f t s f r o m t h e r e g i o n a l t o the u n i v e r s a l , embracing t h e two I n A Free S t a t e ,  1 7  continents i n  i t becomes o b v i o u s t h a t p l a c e l e s s n e s s i n  N a i p a u l i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f the human, not merely the West Indian c o n d i t i o n .  Naipaul*s  v i s i o n a l s o undergoes a change,  t h e a b s u r d i t y o f h i s e a r l y books e v o l v i n g i n t o a v i s i o n  of  18  E x i s t e n t i a l Absurdity.  I n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h N a i p a u l  entitled  "Without A P l a c e , " Ian H a m i l t o n , commenting on I n A F r e e S t a t e , remarked: I f e e l t h a t t h e book o f f e r s a much g r a n d e r , much more t o t a l , v i s i o n o f p l a c e l e s s n e s s , t h a n you*ve o f f e r e d b e f o r e . There i s h a r d l y a n a t i o n t h a t i s not r e p r e s e n t e d somewhere: t h e r e are I n d i a n s , A f r i c a n s , Americans, but t h e r e are a l s o Danes, Germans, C h i n e s e , Swedes and so on and t h e y are a l l o f them on the move, t h e y are a l l u p r o o t e d , " i n a f r e e s t a t e " . I n o t h e r words, the p r e d i c a m e n t , the l o s t n e s s , i s one we a l l share 9 To which N a i p a u l r e p l i e d , " A b s o l u t e l y . t h i n g s t h a t s t r u c k me,  i s t h a t ...  You  see, one o f  the  even when people make the  most f a n t a s t i c assumptions about t h e i r p l a c e i n the w o r l d , s t i l l have t h e s e enormous p e r s o n a l N a i p a u l * s w o r l d i s one becomes one  problems."  2 0  of homeless, nomadic men;  such i n An A r e a o f Darkness.  they  he  His pathological fear  of T r i n i d a d , h i s i n t e n s e c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h e r e o f b e i n g an  alien,  and h i s a n t i p a t h y t o so many a s p e c t s o f West I n d i a n l i f e , made i t i m p o s s i b l e f o r him t o r e g a r d i t as home. London a t t h e age o f e i g h t e e n , found h i s p l a c e , h i s c e n t r e .  When he went t o  i t seemed t h a t he had at l a s t He was  at l e a s t g i v e n the k i n d of  r e c o g n i t i o n he would not have been a c c o r d e d i n T r i n i d a d , "a  99 p l a c e where t h e s t o r i e s were never s t o r i e s o f s u c c e s s but o f failure  ... where a r e c u r r i n g word o f abuse was  •conceited*,  an e x p r e s s i o n o f t h e resentment f e l t o f anyone who unusual s k i l l s .  possessed  Such s k i l l s were n o t r e q u i r e d by a s o c i e t y  w h i c h produced n o t h i n g , never had t o prove i t s w o r t h , and was n e v e r c a l l e d upon t o be e f f i c i e n t m i r a t i o n of equal f o r equal  ....  Generosity  —  t h e ad-  ... was a q u a l i t y I knew o n l y  f r o m books and found o n l y i n E n g l a n d . " not p r o v i d e N a i p a u l w i t h h i s n i c h e .  2 1  But E n g l a n d does  "London i s my  metropolitan  c e n t r e , i t i s my commercial c e n t r e , and y e t I know t h a t i t i s a k i n d o f limbo and t h a t I am a r e f u g e e always p e r i p h e r a l . "  2 2  i n t h e sense t h a t I am  One r e c a l l s t h e p o w e r f u l  p e r i p h e r a l , unaccommodated  f i g u r e of the  man i n N a i p a u l ' s f i c t i o n .  He goes  i n t o t h e s u b j e c t o f h i s p l a c e l e s s n e s s i n London i n more d e t a i l i n An A r e a of- Darkness where i t i s w o r t h q u o t i n g i n f u l l : I had come t o London. I t had become t h e c e n t r e o f my w o r l d and I had worked h a r d t o come t o i t . And I was l o s t . London was not t h e c e n t r e o f my w o r l d . I had been m i s l e d ; but t h e r e was nowhere e l s e t o go. I t was a good p l a c e f o r g e t t i n g l o s t i n .... Here I became no more t h a n an i n h a b i t a n t o f a b i g c i t y , robbed o f l o y a l t i e s , time p a s s i n g , t a k i n g me away f r o m what I was, t h r o w i n g me more and more i n t o mys e l f , f i g h t i n g t o keep my b a l a n c e and t o keep a l i v e the thought o f t h e c l e a r w o r l d beyond t h e b r i c k and a s p h a l t ... a l l m y t h i c a l l a n d s f a d e d , and i n t h e b i g c i t y I was c o n f i n e d t o a s m a l l e r w o r l d t h a n I had ever known. I became my f l a t , my desk, my name. ( A r e a , 42) The r e f e r e n c e t o ' m y t h i c a l l a n d s ' i s t o I n d i a , h o l d i n g out t h e l a s t p o s s i b i l i t y f o r a " r o o t l e s s urban i n t e l l e c t u a l " t o f i n d a place.  From an e a r l y a r t i c l e he w r o t e i n 1958,  i t i s clear  t h a t he hoped t o e x o r c i s e h i s sense o f p l a c e l e s s n e s s by g o i n g  100 to I n d i a .  I n i t he had expressed  h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the  s t e r i l e l i f e he l e d i n London, i t s f a i l u r e t o g i v e h i s l i f e meaning.  "My d i s a p p o i n t m e n t  barrenness  o f my l i f e i n London,....  f r e s h m y s e l f by t r a v e l — living  w i t h the theatre symbolizes the U n l e s s I am a b l e t o r e -  to Trinidad, to India —  I fear that  h e r e w i l l e v e n t u a l l y l e a d t o my own s t e r i l i t y ; and I  may have t o l o o k f o r a n o t h e r  job." ^ 2  He was a b l e t o v i s i t  I n d i a r o u g h l y f o u r y e a r s a f t e r making t h i s statement. New Statesman r e v i e w e r  The  suggests:  ... he went t o I n d i a t o d i s c o v e r t h e r e a l i t y t h a t l a y b e h i n d t h e d y i n g hearsay o f h i s f a m i l y . Rootl e s s , he hoped — as many a r e t u r n e d emigre does — to f i n d a l o s t s e l f . Perhaps h i s own melancholy sense o f n e g a t i o n - - n o t i c e a b l e i n h i s n o v e l s -would be e x o r c i s e d . ^ 4 H i s v i s i t ends, i n s t e a d , i n r e v u l s i o n and a l i e n a t i o n . In  order t o f u l l y  appreciate the i m p l i c a t i o n s of h i s  a l i e n a t i o n , one must u n d e r s t a n d with India.  t h e unique r e l a t i o n s h i p he had  I t was t h e c o u n t r y from w h i c h h i s Brahmin grand-  f a t h e r had come and had n e v e r f o r g o t t e n .  The o r t h o d o x Hindu  f a m i l y abounding w i t h p u n d i t s had r e t a i n e d many f e a t u r e s o f I n d i a n l i f e ; f o r t h e o l d e r g e n e r a t i o n , those who were d i r e c t l y f r o m I n d i a o r t h e f i r s t g e n e r a t i o n b o r n i n T r i n i d a d , an almost d i r e c t t r a n s f e r e n c e had been made.  I n d i a l a y about N a i p a u l as  a c h i l d m y s t e r i o u s l y i n i t s a r t e f a c t s , i t s people, ritual  i t s religious  and i t s t a b o o s .  I n d i a had i n a s p e c i a l way been t h e background o f my c h i l d h o o d . I t was a c o u n t r y f r o m w h i c h my g r a n d f a t h e r came, a c o u n t r y never p h y s i c a l l y d e s c r i b e d and t h e r e f o r e n e v e r r e a l .... I t was a c o u n t r y suspended i n time I t remained a s p e c i a l , i s o l a t e d a r e a o f ground.  (Area,27)  101  To me as a c h i l d the India that had produced so many i f the persons and things around me was featureless, and I thought of the time when the transference was made as a period of darkness, darkness which also extended to the land .... The l i g h t was the area of my experience, i n time and place. (Area, 3 0 ) India had acquired the status of myth.  I t s outlines were  blurred i n darkness, but i t was a comforting presence that counteracted the alienness they f e l t i n Trinidad: For i n the India of my childhood, the land which i n my imagination was an extension, separate from the alienness by which we ourselves were surrounded, of ray grandmother s house, there was no a l i e n presence. (Area, 187) f  India not only counteracted the alienness they f e l t , but i t embodies wholeness i n t h e i r imagination: Into t h i s alienness we d a i l y ventured, and at length we were absorbed into i t . But we knew there had been change, gain, l o s s . We knew that something which was once whole and had been washed away. What was whole was the idea of India. (Area, 187But the r e a l India that Naipaul v i s i t s , proves to be i t s e l f a l i e n and threatens h i s own wholeness.  He i s struck again and  again by the stunted specimens of humanity that he sees around him; t h e i r wasted bodies suggesting an evolution downwards triggers h i s i n s t i n c t f o r self-preservation and wholeness: The physique of Europe had melted away f i r s t into that of A f r i c a and then through Semitic Arabia, into Aryan Asia. Men had been diminished and deformed; they begged and whined. Hysteria had been my reaction, and a b r u t a l i t y dictated by a new awareness of myself as a whole human being and a determination, touched with fear, to remain what I was. (Area, 1 3 ) . Only the Sikhs attract him.  One suspects i t i s because "they  were among the few whole men i n India."  102  H i s second i l l u s i o n , about I n d i a b e i n g •home* i n the a l i e n n e s s o f I n d i a i s exposed when he can f i n d n o t h i n g i n I n d i a w i t h which he can i d e n t i f y : I n I n d i a I had so f a r f e l t m y s e l f a v i s i t o r . I t s s i z e , i t s temperament, i t s crowds: I had pre-, pared m y s e l f f o r t h e s e , b u t i n i t s v e r y extremes, the c o u n t r y was a l i e n .... The l a n d s c a p e was h a r s h and wrong. I c o u l d n o t r e l a t e i t t o m y s e l f . . . . I n a l l t h e s t r i k i n g d e t a i l o f I n d i a t h e r e was n o t h i n g w h i c h I c o u l d l i n k w i t h my own e x p e r i e n c e o f I n d i a i n ... T r i n i d a d . (Area, 140-141) The myth and t h e r e a l i t y never meet. sible.  I n d i a remains i n a c c e s -  I n t h e epigram t o t h e f i r s t c h a p t e r , N a i p a u l had quoted  from Darwin.  The c h a p t e r i t s e l f i s e n t i t l e d "A R e s t i n g - P l a c e  F o r The I m a g i n a t i o n " .  The epigram goes:  These A n t i p o d e s c a l l t o one's mind o l d r e c o l l e c t i o n s o f c h i l d i s h wonder. Only t h e o t h e r day I l o o k e d f o r w a r d t o t h i s a i r y b a r r i e r as a d e f i n i t e p o i n t i n o u r j o u r n e y homewards; b u t now I f i n d i t , and a l l such r e s t i n g - p l a c e s f o r t h e i m a g i n a t i o n , are l i k e shadows, w h i c h a man moving onwards cannot c a t c h . - C h a r l e s Darwin: The p a r a l l e l i s a p t .  Voyage o f t h e Beagle  I n d i a , once such a r e s t i n g - p l a c e f o r h i s  i m a g i n a t i o n , a m y t h i c a l l a n d , proves t o be as e l u s i v e as a shadow: grasped.  w i t h him, w i t h i n h i m and around him b u t n e v e r f u l l y F o r t h e h e r o i n e s o f Jean Rhys, t h e England w i t h w h i c h  they have been a c q u a i n t e d i n t h e i r i m a g i n a t i o n becomes a metap h o r i c a l w a l l t h a t e i t h e r l o c k s them out o r t h r e a t e n s t o c r u s h them (Voyage I n The D a r k ) , o r i m p r i s o n s them (Wide Sargasso  Sea).  N a i p a u l s i n a b i l i t y t o come t o terms w i t h h i s t h r e e 1  w o r l d s , T r i n i d a d , London and I n d i a , i r r e v o c a b l y c o n f i r m s h i s p o s i t i o n as a deracine'. h i s n o v e l s as w e l l .  He has e x p l o r e d t h i s a r t i s t i c a l l y i n  D a v i d Ormerod i n t e r p r e t s B i s w a s  1  frustrated  103  attempts to b u i l d h i s own to  house as the i n a b i l i t y  come to terms w i t h h i s own  o f the  artist  s o c i e t y , the house as an a r t e -  f a c t being the attempt to t r a n s l a t e i n t o c o n c r e t e , t a n g i b l e form, the c r e a t i v e i m p u l s e . ^ 2  There i s a b a s i c s i m i l a r i t y between the t h i n g s N a i p a u l d e p l o r e s i n West I n d i a n and I n d i a n s o c i e t y t h a t sugg e s t s the v i o l e n c e o f h i s r e j e c t i o n of both p l a c e s .  I t i s as  i f he sees a l l the West I n d i a n f u t i l i t y and nothingness fied  on a g i g a n t i c s c a l e i n I n d i a .  While the West I n d i a n  no h i s t o r y , the I n d i a n has no sense of h i s t o r y — why  magnihas  t h i s explains  I n d i a has always been dominated by f o r e i g n conquerors:  never l e a r n s the l e s s o n s o f h i s t o r y .  she  And w h i l e the West I n d i e s  c r e a t e d nothing, c r e a t i o n i n I n d i a " h i n t s at the imminence of i n t e r r u p t i o n and d e s t r u c t i o n "  (Area,  205).  A f t e r a year i n I n d i a , from Bombay to Kashmir where he spends some months and seems most l i k e l y to send down r o o t s , finally his v i s i t  to h i s a n c e s t r a l v i l l a g e i n U t t a r  N a i p a u l comes nowhere nearer to f u l f i l l m e n t . a permanent one  Pradesh,  His e x i l e i s  f o r t h e r e i s nowhere e l s e to go.  now  I n d i a remains  o u t s i d e of h i s experience, " c l o s i n g up again, as f a s t as I withdrew from i t , i n t o a l a n d of myth .... l e a r n e d acceptance. and was  separateness  content t o be a c o l o n i a l , without  c e s t o r s " (Area, 250). ties,  I had l e a r n e d my  I n a year I had  from I n d i a ,  a past, without  Very much the Brahmin i n h i s  he severs h i m s e l f from what was  not  an-  sensibili-  and i s an e x t e n s i o n of  himself. H i s r e j e c t i o n of I n d i a i s t i n g e d w i t h a c e r t a i n d e l i b e r ateness and one  needs t o ask why.  H i s ambivalent  feelings for  104  I n d i a , evident  i n h i s v i o l e n t a l t e r n a t i o n between r e j e c t i o n  (most apparent i n h i s v i s i t  t o t h e v i l l a g e ) and acceptance  (which makes the Kashmir s e c t i o n so e n j o y a b l e ) , c e n t r a l t e n s i o n o f the book. v e l s he experienced  c r e a t e the  "From the beginning  of h i s t r a -  the t e n s i o n between b e l o n g i n g  and not be-  l o n g i n g , between i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and a l i e n a t i o n . " ^ 2  not surrender  t o I n d i a ; when he does surrender  o t h e r employees at the Liward H o t e l  He w i l l  t o A z i z and the  ( F l u s h System), h i s  a g o n i z i n g u n c e r t a i n t y o f t h e i r a f f e c t i o n and l o y a l t y i s comic but very r e a l .  He can not surrender  because t h e journey  I n d i a i s i n a very r e a l sense a journey visit  confirms,  into himself.  through  As h i s  he has been shaped t o an i n c a l c u l a b l e extent  by I n d i a n a t t i t u d e s and p h i l o s o p h i e s . Darkness i s w i t h i n N a i p a u l ,  2 7  The I n d i a o f An Area o f  i t s darkness i n d i c a t i n g the nega-  t i v e side of h i s Indian inheritance.  "And even now ... though  I have t r a v e l l e d l u c i d l y over t h a t area which was t o me the area o f darkness, something o f darkness remains, i n those  atti-  tudes, those ways o f t h i n k i n g and s e e i n g , which are no l o n g e r mine" (Area, 3 0 ) .  While t h a t darkness was w i t h i n him, i t was a  part o f t h e s e l f , a p a r t o f the c o l l e c t i v e memory t h a t he had t o c o n s c i o u s l y and p a i n f u l l y e x o r c i s e .  The area o f darkness,  l i k e the d e s e r t i n Other Leopards, i s both w i t h i n and around him,  and much o f h i s seeming c a l l o u s n e s s and withdrawal i s the  r e s u l t o f d e l i b e r a t e l y l o o k i n g at an E a s t e r n world w i t h Western Eyes.  H i s admiration  on t h e l a t t e r ^  f o r Ghandi i s based, t o a l a r g e  similar colonial  vision.  extent,  105  E x a c t l y what are the areas of darkness t h a t had  to i l l u m i n e ?  I n the f i r s t  Naipaul  p l a c e , I n d i a opened h i s eyes t o  that dark s i d e of h i s s e l f which h e l d that every man island.  In h i s 1958  i s an  a r t i c l e he wrote:  But a f t e r eight y e a r s here I f i n d t h a t I have, without e f f o r t , achieved the Buddhist i d e a l of non-attachment. I am never d i s t u r b e d by n a t i o n a l or i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s s u e s . I do not s i g n petitions. I do not v o t e . I do not march. And I never cease t o f e e l that t h i s l a c k of i n t e r e s t i s a l l - wrong. I want to be i n v o l v e d , to be touched even by some of the p r e v a i l i n g anger.28 One  can  imagine, then, the shock of s e e i n g t h i s a t t i t u d e mag-  n i f i e d m i l l i o n s of times. the I n d i a n withdrawal and  The  vehemence w i t h which he condemns  d e n i a l , the c o l l e c t i v e b l i n d n e s s ,  the d i s r e g a r d f o r r e a l i t y founded on a philosophy  and  that l i f e i s  an i l l u s i o n , a r i s e s from the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t these a t t i t u d e s were once h i s .  I n d i a almost succeeds i n adding i t s negation to  his: I t was o n l y now, as my experience of I n d i a d e f i n e d i t s e l f more p r o p e r l y a g a i n s t my own homelessness, t h a t I saw how c l o s e i n the past year I had been t o the t o t a l I n d i a n negation, how much i t had become the b a s i s of my thought and f e e l i n g . (Area, 266) It  e x p l a i n s why  w i t h f e a r , why and  so much of h i s contact w i t h I n d i a i s t i n g e d he  c o n s t a n t l y a l t e r n a t e s between a l i e n a t i o n  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , why  nion but  he i s o f t e n on the b r i n k of f u l l  t u r n s away at the l a s t moment, wanting but  face the unknown.  He  a f r a i d to  f e a r s t h a t by immersing h i m s e l f  d e s t r u c t i v e element he may  h i m s e l f be  commu-  i n the  destroyed.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, he i s overcome by f e a r when he v i s i t s both T r i n i d a d and I n d i a .  As the s h i p neared T r i n i d a d ,  106 which he v i s i t e d i n I960, " I began to f e e l a l l my Trinidad.  I d i d not want t o s t a y .  the s h i p and  had  island again." 9 2  scape and  l e f t the s e c u r i t y o f  no assurance t h a t I would ever leave His f e a r i s o f being  imprisoned, of not being  escaped.30  I had  o l d f e a r of  the  possessed by the  land-  able t o leave a f t e r he  has  H i s f e a r o f I n d i a becomes almost a phobia when he  becomes p a r t of the I n d i a n  crowd f o r the f i r s t  time.  i s h i s i n s t i n c t f o r s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n t h a t he buys i n order t o impose h i m s e l f and h o r r o r of the Indian  So  great  dark-glasses  e s t a b l i s h h i s separateness.  r e d u c t i v e tendency and  l e s s n e s s i s obvious i n A House For Mr.  the Indian  His  form-  Biswas.  As the year draws to i t s c l o s e , and w i t h i t h i s hope of f i n d i n g "what i t i s t h a t connects him  ... w i t h t h i s  sprawling,  31 defecating,  inchoate  I n d i a o f today,"^  attempt t o c l a i m I n d i a .  The  Naipaul  makes a l a s t  V i l l a g e of the Dubes i s h i s  strong-  est l i n k w i t h I n d i a ; i t i s the v i l l a g e from which h i s grandf a t h e r had  come.  than anything where there  He goes i n a mixed frame of mind, more a f r a i d  else.  He  s t e e l s himself,  and  i n a b r u t a l scene  i s a t o t a l breakdown i n communication, Naipaul  l i n q u i s h e s h i s l a s t hold on  re-  India.  H i s r e j e c t i o n i s as d e l i b e r a t e as when he makes a pilgrimage  t o the Cave of Amarnath, made h o l y by the symbol of  Lord Shiva t h a t supposedly appears i n the form of an i c e p h a l l u s , and  t u r n s away a f t e r r e a c h i n g  he had  had  I n d i a was  the mouth of the cave.  As a  no t a s t e f o r Hindu r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l so that s i d e c l o s e d t o him.  But the joy of the r e t u r n i n g  boy of  pilgrims  107  is  not  that  f o r him.  " I w i s h e d I was  something of t h e i r  of t h e i r  joy awaited  A f t e r t h e two-day j o u r n e y ,  me  at the  p i l g r i m s h a v e t o r e a c h i t by way on t h e ramp, t h e n  really  b r o k e n my  forms,  so t h a t  o f a s t e e p ramp.  He  the  climbs  c l i m b s down, t h e p i l g r i m a g e o v e r b u t  was  a j o u r n e y t h a t ought n o t  life  (Area, 265),  i n two"  never  observed,  t o have been made; i t  he w r i t e s i n t h e  chapter which i s a p p r o p r i a t e l y e n t i t l e d , has  167).  (Area,  begun. "It  had  end"  I wished  t h e y a r r i v e b e f o r e t h e cave i n t h e  recesses of which the p h a l l u s supposedly  up  spirit.  "Flight".  i n t h i s book, i t i s t h e s u b j e c t and  As not  last  Walsh the  32 o b j e c t w h i c h i s more i m p o r t a n t . Back i n L o n d o n , he n e s s and  cannot  And  of being physically  can f i n d  it.  are both  r i d himself of h i s f e e l i n g lost.  He  p i c i o n t h a t somewhere t h e r e i s t h e key o n l y he  yet they  In t h i s  of  one. empti-  i s h a u n t e d by t h e  sus-  to h i s existence, i f  state of d i s o r i e n t a t i o n ,  he  has  a dream: An o b l o n g o f s t i f f new c l o t h l a y b e f o r e me, and I had t h e k n o w l e d g e t h a t i f o n l y o u t o f t h i s I c o u l d c u t a s m a l l e r o b l o n g o f s p e c i f i c measurements, a s p e c i f i c s e c t i o n of t h i s c l o t h , then the c l o t h w o u l d b e g i n t o u n r a v e l o f i t s e l f , and t h e u n r a v e l l i n g would s p r e a d from the c l o t h t o t h e t a b l e t o t h e house t o a l l m a t t e r , u n t i l t h e w h o l e t r i c k was undone. T h o s e were t h e w o r d s t h a t were w i t h me a s I f l a t t e n e d t h e c l o t h and s t u d i e d i t f o r t h e c l u e s w h i c h I knew e x i s t e d , w h i c h I d e s i r e d above e v e r y t h i n g e l s e t o f i n d , b u t w h i c h I knew I n e v e r w o u l d . ( A r e a , 2 6 6 ) If  we  are  t o j u d g e from t h e i n t e n s i t y w i t h w h i c h t h e theme o f  rootlessness that  life  house.  i s e x p l o r e d i n h i s subsequent books, i t i s  never  u n f o l d s and  yields  the magical  key  obvious  to h i s  own  108  Jean Rhys w r i t e s about the European e q u i v a l e n t to the k i n d of experience N a i p a u l and W i l l i a m s probe. necessary to g i v e a b r i e f account  It will  be  of both the novels under  d i s c u s s i o n a t the o u t s e t , s i n c e they w i l l be d i s c u s s e d t o g e t h e r . I t should be easy to d i s t i n g u i s h the separate r e f e r e n c e s i f i t i s borne i n mind t h a t Wide Sargasso  Sea was  i n s p i r e d by  Bronte's  Wuthering Heights and i s the s t o r y of Bronte's Bertha Mason, Rochester's Rhys.  w i f e , as seen through the compassionate eyes of Jean  The h e r o i n e i s A n t o i n e t t e , whose mother was  sane and whose b r o t h e r , P i e r r e , was n o v e l i s set i n the West I n d i e s . when A n t o i n e t t e i s taken,  We  an i d i o t .  herself i n -  Most of the  are t r a n s p o r t e d t o  England  insane, to T h o r n f i e l d , by her husband.  Voyage In The Dark d e s c r i b e s the f o r t u n e s o f a West I n d i a n white, Anna, i n England,  as she goes from chorus g i r l  t i t u t e a f t e r a d i s a s t r o u s a f f a i r with an o l d e r man, We  to p r o s -  Walter.  must c o n s i d e r both n o v e l s s i n c e , set as they  one i n England,  are,  the o t h e r i n the West I n d i e s , n e i t h e r world  i n s e p a r a b l e from the other, they give a composite p i c t u r e of the chasm t h a t e x i s t s between the white West I n d i a n and h i s ancestors.  Secondly,  the extent to which Anna's r o o t l e s s  exis-  tence i s c o n d i t i o n e d by Rhys' knowledge and experience o f West Indian l i f e Sargasso  i s c l e a r l y demonstrated w i t h r e f e r e n c e to Wide  Sea.  unmistakable  The p o i n t a l s o needs to be made t h a t Rhys has c l a i m to being a West Indian w r i t e r by her  an  concern,  e x h i b i t e d i n a l l her n o v e l s , w i t h a theme t h a t l a r g e l y preoccupies West I n d i a n w r i t i n g — who  the nomadic, wandering c h a r a c t e r  l i v e s suspended between two worlds,  a l i e n a t e d from s o c i e t y  109 and d i s o r i e n t e d by t h e environment.  I n her e a r l y n o v e l s , her  w o r l d " i s t h e w o r l d o f modern, urban Europe; h e r p e o p l e a r e the p e o p l e who  l i v e p e r p e t u a l l y on the f r i n g e s o f urban s o c i e t y  f a c e l e s s , nomadic c h a r a c t e r s i n h a b i t i n g t h a t i n t r a n s i e n t o t h e r w o r l d w h i c h i s a permanent f e a t u r e o f modern urban l i f e i n 33  E u r o p e . T h e West I n d i a n s e t t i n g o f Wide Sargasso Sea cons o l i d a t e s t h i s theme; and t h e theme o f r e j e c t e d womanhood i s i n t u r n u t i l i s e d s y m b o l i c a l l y i n o r d e r t o make an a r t i s t i c  state-  ment about West I n d i a n s o c i e t y and about an a s p e c t o f t h e West I n d i a n experience. **' 3  The e n c o u n t e r between A n t o i n e t t e and R o c h e s t e r r e p r e s e n t s , i n m i n u s c u l e , t h e e n c o u n t e r between two w o r l d s t h a t a r e i n s p i r i t a l i e n t o each o t h e r , t h e f a t e f u l e n c o u n t e r demons t r a t i n g t h e t r a g i c f a t e t h a t a w a i t s any attempt t o b r i d g e t h i s chasm by e m o t i o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t i n t h e o t h e r w o r l d . 5 3  The Dark demonstrates t h i s on a l e s s e r  Voyage I n  scale.  By c h o o s i n g t h e p o s t - E m a n c i p a t i o n e r a as t h e s e t t i n g o f Wide S a r g a s s o Sea, Rhys c a t c h e s t h e w h i t e s o c i e t y a t i t s most v u l n e r a b l e w i t h t h e s o c i a l b a l a n c e suddenly u p s e t and nowhere t o go, i t s a l i e n n e s s and r o o t l e s s n e s s made more pronounced.  The  i d e a o f E n g l a n d would n a t u r a l l y have e x e r t e d a more p o w e r f u l h o l d on the w h i t e i m a g i n a t i o n a t t h a t t i m e .  I t i s therefore a l l  t h e more i r o n i c t h a t A n t o i n e t t e , who i s a s t r a n g e r i n h e r West I n d i a n s e t t i n g , goes t o E n g l a n d i n s a n e and v i r t u a l l y a s l a v e , a l l freedom t a k e n away from h e r , and t h e r e becomes even more e s t r a n g e d from h e r s e t t i n g .  She remains l o c k e d away i n t h e  —  110  a t t i c o f T h o r n f i e l d H a l l , r e f u s i n g t o b e l i e v e t h a t she i s r e a l l y i n England.  S u r e l y the s h i p got l o s t on i t s way.  T h i s c a r d b o a r d w o r l d t h e y have l a n d e d on c o u l d n ' t be E n g l a n d . If  o n l y she c o u l d see b e h i n d t h e c a r d b o a r d ! They t e l l me I am i n E n g l a n d but I don't b e l i e v e them. We l o s t our way t o E n g l a n d . When? Where? I don't remember, but we l o s t i t . Was i t t h a t e v e n i n g ... when he found me t a l k i n g t o t h e young man who brought me my f o o d ? I ... asked him t o h e l p me ... I smashed t h e g l a s s e s and p l a t e s a g a i n s t t h e p o r t h o l e . I hoped i t would break and the sea would come i n .... And t h e n I s l e p t . When I awoke i t was a d i f f e r e n t sea. - C o l d e r . I t was t h a t n i g h t , I t h i n k , t h a t we changed c o u r s e and l o s t our way.to E n g l a n d . T h i s c a r d b o a r d house where I w a l k a t n i g h t i s not England. (W.S.S., 181)  The image o f b e i n g l o s t a t sea i s e x a c t l y t h e image used i n Voyage I n The Dark. motif.  The t i t l e i t s e l f makes use o f t h e j o u r n e y  I n a r e c u r r e n t dream t h a t Anna has, she i s on a s h i p  s a i l i n g c l o s e t o an i s l a n d w h i c h has E n g l i s h t r e e s (The ambigu i t y s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e i s l a n d c o u l d be e i t h e r E n g l a n d o r h e r West I n d i a n i s l a n d ) . u n a b l e t o do so.  T r y as she might t o get a s h o r e , she i s  "The dream r o s e i n t o a c l i m a x o f meaning-  l e s s n e s s , f a t i g u e and p o w e r l e s s n e s s ....  I t was funny  how,  a f t e r t h a t , I kept on dreaming about t h e sea" (V.D., 164-165). The image evoked h e r e , as i n Wide S a r g a s s o Sea, i s both o r i g i n a l and p o w e r f u l . the  Both women a r e i n a p e r p e t u a l j o u r n e y between  West I n d i e s and E n g l a n d , s a i l i n g back and f o r t h , u n a b l e t o  get ashore e i t h e r w o r l d and anchor t h e m s e l v e s . The t i t l e o f Wide S a r g a s s o Sea i s r i c h i n i t s i m p l i c a tions.  W a l l y Look L a i p o i n t s out one o f t h e l e v e l s on w h i c h i t  operates:  "...  p h y s i c a l l y s i t u a t e d between t h e West I n d i e s and  Ill E n g l a n d , t h e Sargasso Sea becomes a s y m b o l i c d i v i d i n g  line  between two whole w o r l d s and two people whose s p i r i t s  belong  so t o t a l l y t o t h e i r own w o r l d s t h a t t h e y a r e never a b l e t o meet each o t h e r i n any fundamental  sense." ^ 3  The S a r g a s s o Sea  a l s o s y m b o l i z e s t h e dangers t h a t a w a i t t h o s e who make t h e t r e a c h e r o u s passage.  T h i r d l y , i t i s a n a t u r a l image f o r t h e  e x i s t e n t i a l chasm t h a t l i e s between t h e two w o r l d s . A l t h o u g h A n t o i n e t t e belongs t o t h e West I n d i a n e n v i r o n ment more t h a n any o f t h e o t h e r w h i t e c h a r a c t e r s , she never q u i t e merges i n t o i t .  The p o s t - E m a n c i p a t i o n e r a , as p r e v i o u s l y  mentioned,  was a time when t h e w h i t e s suddenly found  uprooted.  I n a d d i t i o n , t h e i s l a n d s were a l r e a d y on t h e r o a d t o  ruin.  themselves  Rhys c a p t u r e s t h e i n s i d u o u s p r o c e s s o f d e r e l i c t i o n and  decay t h a t s e t i n b r i l l i a n t l y i n h e r d e s c r i p t i o n o f C o u l i b r i E s t a t e where A n t o i n e t t e and h e r mother l i v e v i r t u a l l y marooned. The s u b t l e s t t o u c h l i e s i n Rhys* d e s c r i p t i o n s o f n a t u r e i n a l l i t s w i l d n e s s ready t o t a k e over a t any t i m e and reduce thing t o the primitive.  every-  The s u g g e s t i o n t h a t n a t u r e i s b a r e l y  h e l d i n check, p a r a l l e l s s u b t l y , t h e l a t e n t madness o f t h e C r e o l e h e i r e s s e s o f t h e i s l a n d s , t r a g i c p r o d u c t s o f an i n b r e d , decadent  s o c i e t y i n i t s death t h r o e s . The women a r e p r e s e n t e d as r e j e c t e d c r e a t u r e s l a n g u i s h -  i n g i n a h o s t i l e and a l i e n environment.  Antoinette i s herself  r e j e c t e d c o n s t a n t l y by h e r mother who pushes h e r away whenever she t r i e s t o show h e r l o v e .  Both women a r e i n t u r n j e e r e d a t  by t h e negroes who s c o r n them because t h e y a r e poor w h i t e s , and  112  c a l l them 'white c o c k r o a c h e s ' , who  p r o j e c t on them t h e i r own  c a l l them 'white n i g g e r s ' .  and by t h e w e a l t h y  whites  f e a r of f i n a n c i a l d i s a s t e r  and  Mason and R o c h e s t e r , t h e i r o n l y  hopes o f escape, abandon them, so t h a t t h e i r c o n t a c t w i t h t h e w h i t e w o r l d a g g r a v a t e s t h e i r l a t e n t madness. As a c h i l d , A n t o i n e t t e , l i k e Anna, grows up  half-  negro, h e r involvement w i t h t h e negro w o r l d more profound that w i t h the white world.  than  W i t h h e r c h i l d h o o d f r i e n d , T i a , she  has a l o v e - h a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t c o n f u s e s her group l o y a l t i e s and causes a c e r t a i n s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n .  The  f i r e that destroys  C o u l i b r i r e p r e s e n t s t h e d e a t h o f a l l A n t o i n e t t e has e v e r known, and as the drunken negroes who  set the place a f i r e  surround  them t h r e a t e n i n g l y , A n t o i n e t t e s p o t s T i a i n t h e crowd and to  runs  her: ... she was a l l t h a t was l e f t o f my l i f e as i t had been. We had eaten the same f o o d , s l e p t s i d e by s i d e , bathed i n t h e same r i v e r . As I r a n , I thought, I w i l l l i v e w i t h T i a and I w i l l be l i k e h e r . Not t o l e a v e C o u l i b r i .... When.I was c l o s e I saw the jagged stone i n h e r hand but I d i d not.see h e r throw it. I d i d not f e e l i t e i t h e r . . . . I l o o k e d a t h e r and I saw. h e r f a c e cruunple up as she began t o c r y . We s t a r e d a t each o t h e r , b l o o d on my f a c e , t e a r s on h e r s . I t was as i f I saw m y s e l f . L i k e i n a l o o k i n g g l a s s . (W.S.S., 45) -  Even t h i s attempt t o e n t e r a p a r t o f h e r West I n d i a n w o r l d i s aborted.  When, a t t h e end, t h e mad  A n t o i n e t t e has a dream o f  h e r subsequent b u r n i n g o f T h o r n f i e l d H a l l and s u i c i d e , o f h e r West I n d i a n l i f e pass before..,her. f o r e the s p e c t a c l e of her l i f e  —  "As  visions  she stands  be-  both w o r l d s , both areas o f  e x p e r i e n c e , T h o r n f i e l d and C o u l i b r i a b l a z e i n f l a m e s —  the  113  a l t e r n a t i v e suddenly appears t o h e r i n h e r dream."- ' ?  She  sees T i a b e c k o n i n g t o h e r f r o m below, on t h e f l a g s t o n e s , and she jumps i n t o what she b e l i e v e s i s T i a ' s w a i t i n g arms. B u t , as W a l l y Look L a i o b s e r v e s , t h e r e a l T i a stoned and r e j e c t e d h e r ; t h e T i a t h a t beckons t o h e r i n v i t i n g l y i s an i l l u s i o n . Rhys t h e r e f o r e r e j e c t s t h i s  3 8  alternative.  B e r t h a Mason's b u r n i n g o f T h o r n f i e l d H a l l i s p r e s e n t e d as t h e demented a c t o f a mad woman i n Jane E y r e .  I n Wide  S a r g a s s o Sea i t i s an e n t i r e l y r a t i o n a l attempt t o s o l v e an e x i s t e n t i a l dilemma.  39  By f i l t e r i n g t h e m a t e r i a l t h r o u g h t h e  c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f A n t o i n e t t e t h e a c t becomes u n d e r s t a n d a b l e  within  t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t t h a t A n t o i n e t t e has been through.  The b u r n i n g and s u i c i d e a r e n o t a c t s o f d e s t r u c t i o n  but o f p r e s e r v a t i o n from an e x i s t e n c e which had become a form o f death. A n t o i n e t t e s f a t e i s never t o b e l o n g . 1  by t h e songs o f t h e negroes: want you."  She i s t a u n t e d  "White c o c k r o a c h , go away, Nobody  Anna, h e r E n g l i s h c o u n t e r p a r t , i s n o t wanted i n  England e i t h e r .  Her room-mate shouts a t h e r , "... and always  g o i n g on about b e i n g t i r e d and i t s b e i n g dark and c o l d .... What d'you want t o s t a y here f o r , i f you don't l i k e i t ? Who wants you h e r e , anyway?  Why don't you c l e a r o u t ? " (V.D., 1 4 5 ) .  Unhappy and unwanted as t h e y a r e , n e i t h e r woman has any a l t e r native.  When A n t o i n e t t e h e a r s t h e f a m i l i a r 'white c o c k r o a c h '  r e f r a i n on t h e i r honeymoon, she e x c l a i m s b i t t e r l y t o R o c h e s t e r , " I t was a song about a w h i t e c o c k r o a c h .  T h a t ' s me ....  h e a r d E n g l i s h women c a l l us w h i t e n i g g e r s .  And I ' v e  So between you I  114 o f t e n wonder who I am and where i s my c o u n t r y b e l o n g ..." (W.S.S.,102).  and where do I  The l a s t l i n e i s t h e a r t i c u l a t i o n o f  t h e West I n d i a n u n c e r t a i n t y and r o o t l e s s n e s s .  As Rhys makes  c l e a r , i t i s not c o n f i n e d t o any group o r r a c e . n a t u r a l c r y o f t h o s e who have no c l a i m s . and  I t i s the  R o c h e s t e r , who h a t e s  e n v i e s h e r apparent a b i l i t y t o u n d e r s t a n d t h i s a l i e n  world  which i s t o t a l l y i n a c c e s s i b l e t o him, c o n f e s s e s t o h e r t h a t he f e e l s t h a t t h e p l a c e i s h i s enemy and on h e r s i d e , but A n t o i n e t t e dispels this  illusion.  I t i s not f o r you and n o t f o r me. I t has n o t h i n g t o do w i t h e i t h e r o f u s . T h i s i s why you a r e a f r a i d o f i t ; because i t i s something e l s e . I found t h a t out l o n g ago .... I l o v e d i t because I had n o t h i n g e l s e t o l o v e , but i t i s as i n d i f f e r e n t as t h i s God you c a l l on so o f t e n . (W.S.S.,130) Next t o N a i p a u l ' s  statement about d e r e l i c t men i n a d e r e l i c t  l a n d , l o s t i n an a l i e n l a n d s c a p e , t h i s must rank as one o f t h e more p o w e r f u l e x p r e s s i o n s  o f t h e West I n d i a n ' s  a l i e n a t i o n from  h i s environment and t h e t o t a l i n d i f f e r e n c e o f t h i s environment to h i s happiness. her world,  What seems t o be A n t o i n e t t e ' s  rapport  with  i s i n r e a l i t y an e x i s t e n t i a l awareness o f h e r p o s i t i o n  i n i t as a s t r a n g e r and an a c c e p t a n c e o f t h a t c o n d i t i o n . o f e s trangement from b o t h t h e environment and God. I n t h e r e a c t i o n s o f R o c h e s t e r who i s r e c e n t l y a r r i v e d f r o m England, we can a s s e s s t h e impact o f t h e w i l d environment, o f w h i c h A n t o i n e t t e i s a p a r t , on t h e E n g l i s h s e n s i b i l i t y .  Its  e x c e s s o f c o l o u r , o f s m e l l , i t s v e r y extremes, j a r on him.  Yet  he cannot h e l p but f e e l t h a t i t has a s e c r e t t h a t he cannot penetrate.  He keeps t h i n k i n g , " I want what i t h i d e s . "  Antoin-  e t t e , l o c k e d up i n T h o r n f i e l d , a l s o t r i e s t o see b e h i n d t h e  115  c a r d b o a r d , b u t n e i t h e r can g a i n a c c e s s t o t h e o t h e r ' s w o r l d . Rhys u s e s t h e symbol o f t h e w a l l t o s y m b o l i z e inaccessibility.  this  I n Wide Sargasso Sea t h e symbol i s l i n k e d t o  A n t o i n e t t e ' s dreams t o evoke t h e t e r r i f y i n g sense o f b e i n g trapped.  I n a l l , A n t o i n e t t e has t h r e e dreams, each o f w h i c h i s  a p r e m o n i t i o n o f t h e d i r e c t i o n i n w h i c h h e r l i f e i s headed a t the t i m e .  4 0  The f i r s t i s a t C o u l i b r i when she i s a c h i l d .  In  the dream she i s w a l k i n g i n a f o r e s t , f o l l o w e d by someone who hates her.  The f o o t s t e p s come c l o s e r and c l o s e r and though she  s t r u g g l e s and screams, she i s unable t o move (W.S.S., 2 7 ) . She c o m f o r t s h e r s e l f a f t e r w a r d s by t h i n k i n g t o h e r s e l f , " I am s a f e .... There i s t h e t r e e o f l i f e i n t h e garden and t h e w a l l green w i t h moss.  The b a r r i e r o f t h e c l i f f s and t h e h i g h mountains.  the b a r r i e r o f t h e sea.  I am s a f e .  And  I am s a f e f r o m s t r a n g e r s "  (W.S.S., 2 7 ) . The w a l l , t h e c l i f f s and t h e mountains, though b a r r i e r s , a r e p r o t e c t i v e symbols i n h e r mind a t t h i s p o i n t . The  stranger i s o b v i o u s l y Rochester.  Rochester,  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that  on f i r s t s e e i n g t h e w i l d l a n d s c a p e , f e e l s  threatened  and menaced by t h e h i l l s , t h e mountains, and t h e s e a : The r o a d c l i m b e d upward. On one s i d e t h e w a l l o f green, on t h e o t h e r a steep drop t o t h e r a v i n e below. We p u l l e d up and l o o k e d a t t h e h i l l s , t h e mountains and t h e b l u e - g r e e n s e a ... I u n d e r s t o o d why t h e p o r t e r had c a l l e d i t a w i l d p l a c e . Not o n l y w i l d but menacing. Those h i l l s would c l o s e i n on you. (W.S.S., 69) In  h e r second dream, t h i s time a t t h e convent where she  spends h e r a d o l e s c e n t y e a r s a f t e r t h e b u r n i n g o f C o u l i b r i , she has l e f t t h e house a t C o u l i b r i and i s w a l k i n g towards t h e f o r e s t ;  116  t h i s time she f o l l o w s the man.  The  s i c k e n i n g f e a r t h a t Rhys  creates i s w e l l worth quoting i n d e t a i l : A g a i n I have l e f t t h e house a t C o u l i b r i ... and I am w a l k i n g towards t h e f o r e s t . I am w e a r i n g a l o n g d r e s s and t h i n s l i p p e r s . . . . f o l l o w i n g t h e man who i s w i t h me ... I. f o l l o w him, s i c k w i t h f e a r but I make no e f f o r t t o save m y s e l f .... Now we have r e a c h e d the f o r e s t .... "Here?" He t u r n s and l o o k s a t me, h i s f a c e b l a c k - w i t h •-. h a t r e d .... He s m i l e s s l y l y . "Not here, not yet," he says and I f o l l o w him weeping .... We are no l o n g e r i n t h e f o r e s t but i n an e n c l o s e d garden surrounded by a stone w a l l and the t r e e s are d i f f e r e n t t r e e s .... There are s t e p s l e a d i n g upwards. I t i s t o o dark t o see t h e w a l l o r the s t e p s but I know t h e y are here .... (W.S.S., 60) The  dream u n d o u b t e d l y p r e f i g u r e s h e r j o u r n e y f r o m t h e West  I n d i e s ( t h e f o r e s t ) , t o T h o r n f i e l d and England ( t h e  enclosed  garden surrounded by a stone w a l l ) where she i s l o c k e d away.  In  h e r t h i r d dream, t h i s t i m e a t T h o r n f i e l d , when h e r l i f e f l a s h e s b e f o r e h e r , the w o r l d o f C o u l i b r i and the w o r l d o f T h o r n f i e l d , the t r u t h dawns on h e r . led  " I know now  t h a t the f l i g h t of s t a i r s  t o t h i s room" (W.S.S.,187). I n Voyage I n The  Dark, t h e w a l l s do not i m p r i s o n Anna,  but t h e y e i t h e r shut h e r out o r t h r e a t e n t o c r u s h h e r .  Early  i n the n o v e l , h e r c l a u s t r o p h o b i c e x i s t e n c e b r i n g s t o mind  one  day, " t h a t s t o r y about t h e w a l l s o f a room g e t t i n g s m a l l e r s m a l l e r u n t i l t h e y c r u s h you t o death"  (V.D.,30).  I t i s as i f  i n v i s i b l e b a r r i e r s have been e r e c t e d between her and E n g l a n d she w i s h e s t o t o u c h .  and  the  As she seeks i n v a i n t o e n t e r t h e  E n g l i s h w o r l d and get behind the e x t e r i o r o f p e o p l e and t h i n g s , the f e l t l i f e , on h e r .  "The  the b a r r i e r s o f communication b e g i n t o c l o s e i n damned way  t h e y l o o k a t you, and t h e i r damned  117 v o i c e s , l i k e h i g h , smooth, u n c l i m b a b l e w a l l s a l l around you, c l o s i n g i n on you ..." (V.D.,147).  I t reminds h e r o f t h e  image she had always had o f E n g l a n d s u b c o n s c i o u s l y ,  as a c h i l d .  The E n g l i s h b i s c u i t s t h a t were s o l d on t h e i s l a n d came i n a t i n t h a t showed a g i r l e a t i n g a b i s c u i t .  But t h e s i g n i f i c a n t  t h i n g i n t h e p i c t u r e was t h e " h i g h , dark w a l l " b e h i n d h e r . Underneath t h e p i c t u r e was ' w r i t t e n : The p a s t i s d e a r The f u t u r e c l e a r But b e s t o f a l l , t h e p r e s e n t . But i t was t h e w a l l t h a t stood out most i n h e r mind. t h a t used t o be my i d e a o f what E n g l a n d was l i k e . l i k e t h a t , t o o , I thought" (V.D.,149).  "And  And i t i s  Between t h e w h i t e West  I n d i a n and h i s o r i g i n s , t h e r e e x i s t s t h i s d i v i d e , be i t a w a l l o r a s e a , t h a t makes r e t u r n  impossible.  Wide S a r g a s s o Sea e x p l o r e s t h e i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y o f the two w o r l d s t h r o u g h t h e f i g u r e s o f A n t o i n e t t e and R o c h e s t e r . Voyage I n The Dark e x p l o r e s t h i s same i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y by t h e j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f t h e two w o r l d s o f Anna, t h e West I n d i a n  one  composed o f n o s t a l g i c c o l l e c t i o n s . The d i f f e r e n c e i n n a t i o n a l temperament i s s t r e s s e d t h r o u g h o u t .  Throughout t h e d a r k voyage  of t h e s o u l , t h e memory o f h e r West I n d i a n home remains a symbol o f l i g h t i n t h e d a r k n e s s o f E n g l a n d , a haven o f warmth and  s u n s h i n e i n t h e c o l d , and a r i o t o u s a s s a u l t on t h e senses  i n the bland E n g l i s h world.  W i t h h e r v i v i d memories o f t h e  world  she has l e f t b e h i n d , a w o r l d t h a t she knows i s gone f o r  ever,  and h e r s e n s i t i v e response t o t h e c o l d , d a r k , u n f r i e n d l y  118  E n g l i s h w o r l d which b r i s t l e s w i t h b a r r i e r s , Anna comes t o r e a l i s e t h a t t h e s e two h a l v e s o f h e r l i f e can n e v e r meet.  The  q u e s t i o n Rhys poses i n both n o v e l s i s , which i s the dream and which the r e a l i t y ?  I n Wide Sargasso  Sea, n e i t h e r R o c h e s t e r  A n t o i n e t t e can comprehend the o t h e r ' s w o r l d .  F o r each, the  w o r l d o f the o t h e r i s l i k e some m y s t e r i o u s and dream.  nor  inaccessible  The f o l l o w i n g d i a l o g u e between them i l l u s t r a t e s t h e i r  different  sensibilities:  " I s i s t r u e , " she s a i d , " t h a t England i s l i k e a dream? Because one o f my f r i e n d s who m a r r i e d an Englishman w r o t e and t o l d me so. She s a i d t h i s p l a c e London i s l i k e a c o l d dark dream sometimes. I want t o wake up." " W e l l , " I answered annoyed, " t h a t i s p r e c i s e l y how y o u r b e a u t i f u l i s l a n d seems t o me,quite u n r e a l and l i k e a dream." "But how can r i v e r s and mountains and the sea be u n r e a l ?" "And how can m i l l i o n s o f p e o p l e , t h e i r houses and t h e i r s t r e e t s be u n r e a l ? " (W.S.S. ,80-6*1) The two w o r l d s and the s e n s i b i l i t i e s born o f them are  presented  as so d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed t h a t t h e y are l i k e two h a l v e s w h i c h can never come t o g e t h e r .  To Anna, "Sometimes i t was  were back t h e r e and as i f England were a dream. England was  t h e r e a l t h i n g and out t h e r e was  c o u l d n e v e r f i t them t o g e t h e r " (V.D.,8).  as i f I  At o t h e r t i m e s  a dream, but I  T h i s mental d i s p l a c e -  ment p r e v e n t s Anna from coming t o terms f u l l y w i t h the E n g l i s h w o r l d and w i t h h e r a c q u a i n t a n c e s .  Maudie, h e r f r i e n d , i s i n -  c r e d u l o u s when Anna d e c l a r e s t h a t she doesn't l i k e London. "You  must be p o t t y ....  l i k e London?"  Whoever heard o f anybody who  Walter himself prefers cold places.  would be a l t o g e t h e r t o o l u s h f o r me,  I think."  didn't  "The  tropics  119 A n n a s problem o f r e c o n c i l i n g t h e s e two w o r l d s i s T  i t s e l f compounded by h e r a t t r a c t i o n t o the negroes and t h e of l i f e they represent to her.  " B e i n g b l a c k i s warm and  b e i n g w h i t e i s c o l d and sad" (V.D.,31). alienation also.  Although  way  gay,  This implies s e l f -  she has a warm f r i e n d s h i p w i t h  F r a n c i n e , the b l a c k s e r v a n t , she knows t h a t F r a n c i n e h e r because she i s w h i t e , "and  dislikes  ... I would n e v e r be a b l e t o  e x p l a i n t o h e r t h a t I h a t e d b e i n g w h i t e " (V.D.,72).  The  ques-  t i o n o f i d e n t i t y i s t h e r e f o r e fundamental t o both n o v e l s . e s t e r , i n an attempt h i s own  to refashion Antoinette's i d e n t i t y to suit  c o n c e p t i o n o f h e r , c a l l s h e r by h e r mother's name,  B e r t h a , t h u s d e s t r o y i n g h e r r e a l s e l f and t a i n t i n g h e r s h i p w i t h h e r mother.* ' 4  1  c o n s c i o u s l y imposes t h i s burden on h e r .  values.  relation-  I t w i l l be remembered t h a t A n t o i n e t t e ' s  mother had become i n s a n e s h o r t l y a f t e r C o u l i b r i b u r n t .  attempt  Roch-  Rochester  W a l t e r makes a s i m i l a r  t o r e d e f i n e Anna's i d e n t i t y t o s u i t h i s e t h i c s  and  Anna p r e f e r s t o l i v e i n the p r e s e n t and does not  particu-  l a r l y c a r e about ' g e t t i n g on i n t h e w o r l d ' , but W a l t e r cannot conceive of t h i s k i n d of e x i s t e n c e . see why either.  " V i n c e n t says he doesn't  you s h o u l d n ' t get on and I don't see why  you  shouldn't  I b e l i e v e i t would be a good i d e a f o r you t o have  s i n g i n g l e s s o n s ... I want you t o get on"  (V.D.,50).  Rhys' a r t i s t i c v i s i o n i s as c o n s i s t e n t as N a i p a u l ' s . One  can r e f e r t o 'the t y p i c a l N a i p a u l f i g u r e ' t h e same way  one can r e f e r t o 'the t y p i c a l Rhys f i g u r e * .  as  Everything they  w r i t e i s a r e w o r k i n g o f t h e same theme and the same f i g u r e t h i s g i v e s t h e i r work an i n t e n s i t y one r a r e l y meets i n West  and  120 Indian novels.  I f t h e d i s t i n c t i o n can be made, i n t e n s i t y i n  the West I n d i a n n o v e l o f t e n means a heavy c o a t i n g o f s o c i o l o g y , so t h a t i t i s o f t e n d i f f i c u l t  t o s e p a r a t e l i t e r a t u r e from  s o c i o l o g y , the imaginative from the h i s t o r i c a l .  And y e t b o t h  N a i p a u l and Rhys have a sense o f West I n d i a n h i s t o r y . difference i s that t h e i r a r t i s t i c  The  v i s i o n grows out o f t h e i r  h i s t o r i c a l s e n s i b i l i t y and embraces n o t o n l y West I n d i a n man, but a l l man. Rhys, and N a i p a u l p o i n t t o t h e u n i v e r s a l i t y o f t h e cond i t i o n o f r o o t l e s s n e s s and i n d i c a t e one way o f m a i n t a i n i n g a larger perspective. direction —  W i l s o n H a r r i s p o i n t s i n y e t another  t h e embracing o f t h i s c o n d i t i o n and t r a n s c e n d i n g  i t s h i s t o r i c a l and r a c i a l l i m i t a t i o n s t h r o u g h a v i s i o n o f u n i t y . He c h a l l e n g e s t h e West I n d i a n i n s u l a r v i s i o n o f d i s r u p t i o n w i t h a v i s i o n of u n i t y — environment.  t h e u n i t y o f man w i t h man and man w i t h  The fundamental q u e s t i o n b e h i n d h i s a r t i s t i c  pre-  mise i s how t o r e c o n c i l e t h e broken p a r t s o f such an enormous h e r i t a g e ; such a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n he e n v i s i o n s i n what he c o n s i d e r s to be two West I n d i a n p o s i t i v e s -- t h e p e o p l e themselves and t h e environment.  He f i n d s r e m a r k a b l e i n t h e West I n d i a n "a sense  o f s u b t l e l i n k s , t h e s e r i e s o f s u b t l e and nebulous l i n k s w h i c h are l a t e n t w i t h i n him, t h e l a t e n t ground o f o l d and new p e r s o n alities."^  An e n t i r e l y a u t h e n t i c concept i n v i e w o f t h e mul-  t i p l i c i t y and r i c h n e s s o f c u l t u r e s i n t h e West I n d i e s .  Harris  works t h i s out i n h i s n o v e l s by l i b e r a t i n g t h e persona from t h o s e h i s t o r i c a l and r a c i a l a c c r e t i o n s t h a t f i x i t s r o l e t i c a l l y i n West I n d i a n n o v e l s .  sta-  Kenneth Ramchand d e f i n e s H a r r i s '  121  a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s i n terms o f the West I n d i a n n o v e l . I n s t e a d o f c r e a t i n g c h a r a c t e r s whose p o s i t i o n i n g on one s i d e o r o t h e r o f t h e r e g i o n ' s h i s t o r i c a l c o n f l i c t s c o n s o l i d a t e s t h o s e c o n f l i c t s and does v i o l e n c e t o the make-up o f 'the person', the West I n d i a n n o v e l i s t s h o u l d s e t out t o ' v i s u a l i s e a f u l f i l l m e n t ' , a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n i n the p e r s o n and throughout s o c i e t y , o f the p a r t s o f a h e r i t a g e o f broken c u l t u r e s . ^ 3  I n P a l a c e o f the Peacock, f o r i n s t a n c e , w h i c h works on one l e v e l as a re-enactment o f the E l Dorado quest  and  c o u l d q u i t e e a s i l y have been a c o n s o l i d a t i o n o f the o l d h i s t o r i c a l c o n f l i c t s , the crew i s composed o f Europeans, I n d i a n s and negroes who  are i n c e s t u o u s l y r e l a t e d .  "The  whole crew  was  one s p i r i t u a l f a m i l y l i v i n g and d y i n g t o g e t h e r i n a common grave out o f which they had sprung a g a i n f r o m t h e same s o u l and womb as i t were." * * 1  1  I n the l a r g e r c o n t e x t of H a r r i s '  work, i t can be expressed  i n t h i s l i n e f r o m The Whole Armour,  " t h e r a l l y i n g o f a l l t h e i r f o r c e s i n t o an i n c e s t u o u s and image and a l l i a n c e —  persona  the very a n t i t h e s i s of t h e i r  dark  t r u t h and h i s t o r y . " * ' ^ 1  The v a s t n e s s o f t h e Guyanese i n t e r i o r , i t s g r e a t h e a r t l a n d , f e r t i l i s e s H a r r i s ' i m a g i n a t i o n and g i v e s s o l i d i t y t o t h a t other v i s i o n of u n i t y —  man  and l a n d s c a p e  -- i n which both  engaged i n a c o n s t a n t d i a l e c t i c , "a drama o f shared by a n i m a t e / i n a n i m a t e  features."^  are  consciousness  But, a l t h o u g h H a r r i s  a n t i c i p a t e s t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s o f t h e i n s u l a r w r i t e r s who  have  no such h e a r t l a n d t o f e e d on and draw them i n w a r d , o n l y the empty expanse o f the sea t o f o c u s t h e i r eyes outward, h i s s o l u t i o n cannot have as g r e a t a meaning f o r them.  The  sea i s s t i l l  122  a symbol o f departure The  image o f t h e  Patterson  i n t h e West I n d i a n n o v e l , n o t  desert  u t i l i s e i s not  that Dennis W i l l i a m s an a u t h e n t i c  and  solidity,  o f p l a c e , t o the Guyanese w r i t e r s f r o m M i t t e l h o l z e r i s a g a i n not  an  i n s u l a r image.  arrival.  Orlando  C a r i b b e a n one.  h e a r t l a n d t h a t g i v e s a c e r t a i n d e n s i t y and  to Dennis W i l l i a m s  of  The a to  The  sense Harris land-  scape cannot form the backdrop f o r a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n u n t i l i t i s absorbed i n t o the Sea  and  i n s u l a r subconscious,  Drayton's Christopher  remained a l i e n : images of n a t u r e .  these novels  and  demonstrate, the are f i l l e d w i t h <  as Wide S a r g a s s o landscape threatening  has  /Z3  FOOTNOTES "'•Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t as ' A r e a 2  Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t under t h e c i t a t i o n , 'O.L.' ^Voyage I n The Dark (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968), Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l appear i n the t e x t as V o y a g e * .  Stfide S a r g a s s o Sea (London: Andre Deutsch, 1 9 6 6 ) . Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l appear i n t h e t e x t as *W.S.S.* ^The Chosen Tongue, pp. 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 . 6  7  I b i d . , p.  124.  T h e P l e a s u r e s o f E x i l e , p. 1 6 0 . Vic  R e i d , The Leopard (London: Heinemann,  1958).  L o u i s James, " I s l a n d s o f Man: R e f l e c t i o n s on t h e Emergence o f a West I n d i a n L i t e r a t u r e , " S o u t h e r n Review, 2 , 1 ( 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 1 5 2 . • 9  1 0  R e v i e w i n B l a c k Orpheus, 13  i : L  1 2  (Nov. 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 6 0 .  I b i d . , p. 5 9 .  T h e Chosen Tongue, p.  125-  13  1963,  ^Review, Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, F r i d a y , J u l y 1 9 , p. 521. ^he  West I n d i a n N o v e l and I t s Background, p.  162.  - ^ D a v i d Ormerod, " I n A D e r e l i c t Land: The N o v e l s o f V.S. N a i p a u l , " Contemporary L i t e r a t u r e , 9,1.(^968), p.86. l 6  1 7  I b i d . , p. 8 5 . In  A F r e e S t a t e (London: Andre D e u t s c h , 1 9 7 1 ) . 123  1  124 18  E l a i n e Zinkham, " V i d i a N a i p a u l : A r t i s t o f t h e A b s u r d , M.A. T h e s i s , B r i t i s h Columbia: The U n i v . o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1972. n  •^"Without A P l a c e : V.S. N a i p a u l i n C o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Ian H a m i l t o n , " Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, 30 J u l y , 1971, p. 898. 2 Q  2 1  2 2  I b i d . , p. 898. T h e M i d d l e Passage, pp. 41-42. " W i t h o u t A P l a c e , " p. 897.  23  V.S. N a i p a u l , "The R e g i o n a l B a r r i e r , " Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, 15 August, 1958, p. 30. 2 4  R e v i ew, New Statesman, 11 Sept.,  1964, p. 361.  ^ D a v i d Ormerod, "Theme and Image i n V.S. N a i p a u l s A House F o r Mr. B i s w a s , " Texas S t u d i e s i n L i t e r a t u r e and Language, 8,4 ( W i n t e r , 1967), 597. 2  f  pz  Rev., "Mr. N a i p a u l * s Passage To I n d i a , " Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, 24 S e p t . , 1964, p. 881. 2 7  A M a n i f o l d V o i c e , p. 6 3 .  *°"The R e g i o n a l B a r r i e r , " p. 30. 2 9  T h e M i d d l e Passage, p. 40.  3°Paul Theroux, V.S. N a i p a u l : An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o H i s Work (New York: A f r i c a n a P u b l i s h i n g C o r p o r a t i o n , 1972), p. 79. 39,6  -^John Mander, r e v . o f An Area o f Darkness, Commentary (June, 1965), p. 96. 3 2  A M a n i f o l d V o i c e , p. 6 4 .  % a l l y Look L a i , "The Road t o T h o r n f i e l d H a l l , " New W o r l d 4,2 (1968), p. 18. . ." 3  3 4  I b i d . , p. 19.  125  35 3 6  I b i d . , p. 20.  Ibid.  37  Ibid.  38 I b i d .  p. 20. pp. 26-27. p.  27-  39ibid. p. 27* I have f o l l o w e d Look L a i ' s argument c l o s e l y i n t h i s paragraph.. 40  Ibid.  p.  26'.  41 I b i d ,  p.  21.  ^ T r a d i t i o n , t h e W r i t e r and S o c i e t y , p. 28. 43 The West I n d i a n N o v e l and I t s Background,  p. 10.  ^ W i l s o n H a r r i s , The P a l a c e o f t h e Peacock (London: Faber and F a b e r , 1968. F i r s t p u b l i s h e d I 9 6 0 ; , p. 40. ^ W i l s o n H a r r i s , The Whole Armour (London: Faber, 1962), p.43. " ' 46,  T r a d i t i o n , t h e W r i t e r and S o c i e t y , p.  55.  Faber and  SELECTED  BIBLIOGRAPHY  JX  7  A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Augier, F.R. and S h i r l e y C. Gordon. Sources of West Indian History. London: Longmans, Green and Co.Ltd., 1962. Clarke, Austin C. The Meeting Point. Canada, 19W.  Toronto: Macmillan of  . The Survivors of the Crossing. McClelland and Stewart, 1964. • silks.  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