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

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C I 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 of The Requirements For The Degree of Master of A r t s i n the Department of E n g l i s h We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the req u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1973 In p r e s e n t i n g 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 r e q u i r e -ments f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the 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 reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t per-mission f o r extensive 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 granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . 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 gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of E n g l i s h The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 6% Canada Date . r.4 . . 0. f ^ W j . I ?.T "?> ABSTRACT This thesis acknowledges that a combination of c i r -cumstances has produced i n the West Indies an almost wholly-immigrant population whose fundamental condition i s one of rootlessness. It attempts to show that rootlessness manifests i t s e l f negatively 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 to regard the West Indies as home, i n the placelessness that i s brought about by emigration, i n an uncertainty as to id e n t i t y , a l l e -giances and or i g i n s , and i n an e x i s t e n t i a l s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n produced by acculturation. Chapter One i s a se l e c t i v e account of relevant h i s -t o r i c a l and s o c i o l o g i c a l data that demonstrates how the con-d i t i o n of rootlessness and the accompanying f e e l i n g of loss and deprivation arose. I t ends by t r y i n g to draw a p a r a l l e l between the p a r t i c u l a r West Indian condition of rootlessness that sprang from a slave society and e x i s t e n t i a l rootlessness as generally understood by Western philosophy. Chapters Two, Three and Four are studies of selected prose texts which treat t h i s theme. The texts are grouped according to t h e i r setting. Chapter Two attempts a detailed analysis of three novels set i n the West Indies which depict the rootlessness of an i n d i v i d u a l or sector of society against a larger uncreated society. They r e f l e c t two fundamental reactions to the condition of rootlessness — refusal to come to terms with the environment, and i t s opposite, the attempt to ground one's existence meaningfully. The novels that have iv been selected are: Patterson 1s The Children of Sisyphus, Naipaul*s A House For Mr. Biswas and Lamming*s Season of  Adventure. The world of the immigrant i s explored in Chapter Three. Austin Clarke*s The Meeting Point i s set in Canada while Seivon 1s The Lonely Londoners and Salkey*s The Adventures  of Catullus Kelly are set in England. In these novels, the characters are cut adrift of any moorings and their rootless-ness exacerbated in an even more alien environment in which they are totally disoriented. The Afro/Asian/European search for origins in the ancestral homeland and the chasm that separates the West Indian from his 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 impossibility of return, and the irreconcilability of the two worlds and the sensibilities born of them. (Supervisor) V TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page I A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1 I I A WEST INDIAN SETTING 23 I I I THE IMMIGRANT 57 IV THE AFRO/ASIAN/EUROPEAN SEARCH FOR ORIGINS 85 A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 126 CHAPTER 1 A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND There are s e v e r a l f a c t o r s i n West Ind i a n h i s t o r y which have i n f l u e n c e d the l i t e r a t u r e . I f we take i t that the l i t e r a t u r e of a s o c i e t y i s a s e n s i t i v e gauge of i t s inner t e n s i o n s , i t becomes obvious t h a t West Indian l i t e r a t u r e i s l a r g e l y preoccupied by a West Indian c o n d i t i o n of r o o t l e s s n e s s . The most basic reason i s that the s o c i e t y i s an almost wholly immigrant s o c i e t y ( t h a t •immigration* being a fo r c e d one f o r the m a j o r i t y ) t h a t has not yet sunk i n t o i t s landscape nor 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 of West Indi a n man i s of "A d e r e l i c t man i n a d e r e l i c t land ... l o s t i n a landscape which has never ceased to be unreal because the scene of an enforced and always temporary residence."^ The f e e l i n g of l o s s and displacement i s accentuated by one of c u l t u r a l l o s s ; the c u l t u r e i s borrowed and the values 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 of expediency and the system of s l a v e r y have created a West Indian m e n t a l i t y of l i v i n g only f o r the present, and the C o l o n i a l p o l i c y of i n -s u l a r i t y has exacerbated the absence of u n i t y and the 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 of the t e r -r i t o r i e s has l e f t the peoples at the mercy of 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 foundation of West Indian s o c i e t y and the chain of events i t set i n motion i s s u c c i n c t l y expressed by 1 2 Orlando Patterson: Jamaica, and the other West Ind i a n I s l a n d s , are unique i n World h i s t o r y i n that they present one of the rare cases of a human s o c i e t y being a r t i f i c i a l l y created f o r the s a t i s f a c t i o n of one c l e a r l y defined g o a l : that of making money through the production of sugar.2 I t has been estimated that during the whole of the European slave trade, a quarter of which was concentrated i n the West I n d i e s , no more than 20,000,000 A f r i c a n s were s o l d out of A f r i c a . ^ The Europeans, i n t h e i r c a p a c i t y as slave and plan-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 of the popu l a t i o n u n t i l the l a s t wave of immigration, when A s i a t i c s were imported to supplement the labour f o r c e a f t e r emancipation. The n a t i v e Indians having been almost wholly exterminated, the s o c i e t y i s th e r e f o r e a t r a n s p l a n t e d , heterogenous, immigrant s o c i e t y t h a t was not founded on any p r i n c i p l e s . Conditions i n the West I n d i e s -- the harsh c l i m a t e , the t r o p i c a l diseases, the demoralising e f f e c t of s l a v e r y , the s t e r i l i t y of 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 the u n s e t t l e d character of the i s l a n d s , made them a place of e x i l e . The Europeans consequently looked to the metropolitan c o u n t r i e s as home and regarded the c o l o n i e s as a place where money was to be made — as the high r a t e of absenteeism t e s t i f i e s . The p a t r i a r c h a l system of 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 to take strong root i n the West I n d i e s . ^ Some p l a n t e r s undoubtedly f e l t a permanent attachment f o r t h e i r adopted homes, but the ma j o r i t y who r e s i d e d there d i d so because they could not a f f o r d t o l i v e abroad. Those who could, l e f t a f t e r making a fortune. 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 profound e f f e c t on the course of the West I n d i e s . A nineteenth century-v i s i t o r , Sewell, observed that "The plantocracy of other days were not too deeply i n t e r e s t e d i n the permanent prosper-i t y of the i s l a n d s , or too w i l l i n g t o expend a p o r t i o n of t h e i r revenues i n investment that promised no immediate r e t u r n . " ^ He was astonished at t h e i r u t t e r d i s r e g a r d of the basic p r i n c i p l e s of economical science . They were n o t o r i o u s l y r e s i s t a n t to change and f o r a long time ran t h e i r e s t a t e s w i t h -out regard to labo u r - s a v i n g devices, s o i l chemistry, or crop r o t a t i o n . T h e i r shortsightedness i n t h e i r d e a l i n g s w i t h the negroes was worse: "They do not seem to r e f l e c t f o r a moment th a t the i n t e r e s t s of a p r o p r i e t o r i s to e l e v a t e , not to degrade, h i s l a b o u r e r . " ^ The consequences of absenteeism were d i s a s t r o u s : No country, s i n c e the world was made, were i t s r e -sources ten f o l d g r eater than those of Jamaica, could continue t o prosper w i t h the l a r g e body of i t s landed p r o p r i e t a r y permanent absentees ... and even those who were nominally r e s i d e n t s u s u a l l y passed 7 h a l f the year i n Europe and spent t h e i r money there.' In the seventeenth and eighteenth c e n t u r i e s , l u c r a t i v e posts i n Jamaica were o f t e n held by absentees who farmed them out t o deputies who f u r t h e r farmed them out to sub-deputies. The c h i l d r e n of 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 returned. C h i l d r e n were provided w i t h a n n u i t i e s charged to the estates and had no f i r s t - h a n d connec-t i o n s w i t h the source of t h e i r income. Between 1625 and 1 7 9 2 , of 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 England and 133 i n Jamaica.9 Jamaican 4 e s t a t e s went i n almost every 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 of attorneys, thereby compounding the s i t u a t i o n . By the end of the nineteenth century, when the system was c o l l a p s i n g , a l a r g e number of indebted 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 who had no i n t e n t i o n of l i v i n g on the i s l a n d . One observer, 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 nine-tenths of the land under c u l t i v a t i o n before emanci-p 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 extent t o which England was regarded as home, the consequent o r i e n t a t i o n of the e n t i r e s o c i e t y towards England, and the temporary nature of the European Ts West Indian residence, a l l to the detriment of the c o l o n i e s which were pu r e l y a means to quick f o r t u n e s . These f a c t o r s n a t u r a l l y prevented the imparting of a s e t t l e d c haracter to the i s l a n d s . In a d d i t i o n , Jamaica, e s p e c i a l l y , was always drained of the people needed f o r l e a d e r s h i p . The sense of c u l t u r a l l o s s i s t h e r e f o r e sharper i n Jamaica than i n T r i n i d a d where there were Spanish, French and E n g l i s h s e t t l e r s who maintained an a c t i v e i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r c u l t u r e s . T h i s could account f o r the 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 the p o p u l a r i t y there of minor r e l i g i o u s s e c t s which presumably f i l l an emotional need, and f o r the extreme withdrawal from Jamaican s o c i e t y of the Ras T a f a r i a n s who regard E t h i o p i a as t h e i r t r u e home, Jamaica a k i n d of h e l l they 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 r e j e c t i o n . While the id e a of England e x i s t e d whole i n the minds 5 of the plantocracy, the idea of A f r i c a was t a r n i s h e d f o r the negroes. Although the 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 the c o n d i t i o n of the slaves and to f i l l an emotional v o i d i n t h e i r l i v e s , they a l s o share some of the blame f o r teaching the negro self-contempt by devaluing the A f r i c a n h e r i t a g e . They regarded the A f r i c a n c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n as a r e l i c of heathenism and t r i e d to suppress i t . Among the converted, s a i d one missionary, "The Hankering a f t e r the v a i n T r a d i t i o n s of t h e i r F o r e - f a t h e r s i s already considered as a f a l l i n g o f f i n t h a t Love t o the Lord Jesus and h i s D o c t r i n e s , which once prompted them to forsake a l l ungodliness and devote themselves t o God." 1 1 And yet i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that they s t r o n g l y r e i n f o r c e d the slav e system by s t r e s s i n g the v i r t u e s of obedience and submission without q u e s t i o n i n g the m o r a l i t y of the i n s t i t u t i o n i n the f i r s t p l a c e ; acceptance of 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 of sub-o r d i n a t i o n was the p r i c e they were prepared to pay. With the m i s s i o n a r i e s openly a n t a g o n i s t i c to the 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, or determined to destroy any signs of s o l i d a r i t y among the slaves by s p l i t t i n g up f a m i l i e s or t r i b e s that spoke the same language and had the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , w i t h the E n g l i s h o r i e n t a t i o n of the s o c i e t y and the dev a l u a t i o n of 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 the absence of moral and e t h i c a l standards and on the absence of values, and t h e r e f o r e made anything p o s i t i v e , u seless and meaningless, hence the complete breakdown of A f r i c a n t r i b a l forms, the f a m i l y u n i t , codes of 6 behavior and A f r i c a n forms of technology, economic l i f e and p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . East Indians, who made up the m a j o r i t y of the post-emancipation indentured l a b o u r e r s , were the most recent mass a d d i t i o n to the melting pot -- the l a s t boat a r r i v e d i n 1917 — and they clung t o the idea of I n d i a as the mother-land. Many s t i l l do. In roughly eighty years, 54&%000 Indians went to the West I n d i e s and s e t t l e d mainly i n Guyana and T r i n i d a d . They were i n i t i a l l y committed to a f i v e - y e a r term of indentured labour, at the end of which they were guaranteed a f r e e r e t u r n passage. They proved to be a t r a c t a b l e and d o c i l e labour f o r c e with a strong attachment f o r the land, but the e a r l i e s t ones regarded t h e i r p e r i o d of s e r v i c e as a temporary one and many took advantage of the f r e e r e t u r n passage. T h e i r strong i n i t i a l 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 to a number of reasons. One w r i t e r suggests t h a t , "Owing t o the l i m i t e d compounds of the human p e r s o n a l i t y , some men wither when they are uprooted ... there are human beings i n a l l s o c i -e t i e s who do not have the emotional and i n t e l l e c t u a l reserves t o adapt themselves 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 e x p l a n a t i o n i s that they r e s i s t e d a c c u l t u r a t i o n because they came from an ancient c u l t u r e , a h i g h l y organised s o c i e t y 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 caste system which governed every act of s o c i a l i n t e r c o u r s e and man»s place i n s o c i e t y . Secondly, r e l i g i o n was a way of l i f e to them, not an appendix to i t . 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 conservative one, and they 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 . In a d d i t i o n , the f r e e r e t u r n passage was undoubtedly a major reason why e a r l y Indian immigration had such a t r a n s i t o r y , impermanent nature. As long as the p o s s i b i l i t y of r e t u r n i n g to I n d i a e x i s t e d , the immigrant would not acquire s e t t l e d h a b i t s and there would be an almost complete r e t e n t i o n of t h e i r n a t i v e c u l t u r e . An e a r l y observer commented: These A s i a t i c s s t i l l adhere to t h e i r own p e c u l i a r h a b i t s and creeds; they even continue, w i t h r a r e exceptions, to wear t h e i r country costume, and but few have become converts to C h r i s t i a n i t y .... They are thus n a t u r a l l y l e d t o r e t a i n most of those h a b i t s which they expect to 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 n a t i v e l a n d . - ^ To another they looked l i k e "a t r i b e of 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 the Indian 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 Indians were disappointed t o f i n d out that he had not come to 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 they had hoped. In f a c t , as l a t e as 1908, out of a t o t a l of 2,448 who came to T r i n i d a d , 726 returned to I n d i a . 1 7 Indian immigration e v e n t u a l l y acquired a more s e t t l e d c h a r a c t e r . The t u r n i n g point was the 1860's when added incen-t i v e s to s t a y i n g were o f f e r e d by the p l a n t e r s who despaired of seeing them r e t u r n a f t e r they had f i n a l l y adjusted. Crown la n d was o f f e r e d t o those who wished to remain. By the l860*s they began to s e t t l e down i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l areas near the e s t a t e s . They acquired more s t a b l e h a b i t s and i n s t i t u t i o n s , r e v i v e d t h e i r s k i l l s and engaged i n a g r i c u l t u r e . But the nature of t h e i r adaptation 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 to which they 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 -planted whole, many of the i n s t i t u t i o n s w i t h which they were f a m i l i a r . "Here the Indians e s t a b l i s h e d themselves i n much the same way as i n I n d i a . They b u i l t the same type of houses, wore the same type of c l o t h e s , spoke the same language and wor-shipped the same Gods i n the same kinds of temples." In Area of Darkness, Naipaul captures w e l l the complete t r a n s f e r -ence the Indian community i n the West In d i e s made and the sub-sequent Wholeness* the idea of I n d i a represented: More than i n people, 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 or two ... i n innumerable brass ves-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 ruined harmonium; i n b r i g h t l y coloured p i c t u r e s of d e i t i e s on pink l o t u s or r a d i a n t against Himalayan snow; and i n a l l the paraphernalia of the. prayer-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 T r i n i d a d . 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 of s o c i e t y i n terms of t h i s study, i s the mulatto or coloured. T h e i r dilemma i s emblematic of the general West Indian one of l o o k i n g both ways, of being caught between t r a d i t i o n s . They were an intermediate c l a s s i n slave s o c i e t y and had more p r i v i l e g e s than 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 they became a t h r e a t to the whites because they had the b a s i s f o r the formation of a middle c l a s s , because they were on the numerical i n c r e a s e , and because they had e s t a b l i s h e d them-se l v e s f i n a n c i a l l y , many of them having been l e f t generous be-quests by white f a t h e r s . By the time of emancipation, they were w e l l o f f and ready to assume the r o l e of l e a d e r s h i p and f i l l the gap l e f t by the whites. They have always been c h a r a c t e r i s e d 9 (and stereotyped) by t h e i r r e j e c t i o n of t h e i r part-negro 20 ancestry 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 exerted the strongest hold on the Indian and E n g l i s h imagi-n a t i o n and e x i s t e d whole i n t h e i r minds. This gave a c e r t a i n t r a n s i e n c e to t h e i r West Indian l i f e . The coloureds were d i r e c t l y caught between A f r i c a and England and strove to be E n g l i s h , denying t h e i r connections w i t h A f r i c a . The negroes had contracted the biases and preferences of t h e i r masters but were t o t a l l y excluded from t h e i r world w h i l e at the same time A f r i c a was devalued i n t h e i r eyes. I n The Middle Passage, Naipaul quotes from T r o l l o p e who v i s i t e d the West Ind i e s i n 1860: But how strange i s the race of c r e o l e Negroes .... They have no country of t h e i r own, yet they have not h i t h e r t o any country of adoption. They have no language of t h e i r own, nor have they as yet any language of t h e i r adoption .... They have no idea of country, and no pride of race .... The West Indian negro knows nothing of A f r i c a except that 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, or walk w i t h them. He w i l l h a r d l y work beside them, and regards h i m s e l f as a creature immeasurably the s u p e r i o r of the newcomer. (M.P.,66) Slave s o c i e t y w i t h i t s p o l a r i t i e s of power on the one hand and t o t a l s u b j e c t i o n on the other, i t s d e v a l u a t i o n of l i f e and i t s e r o s i o n of d i g n i t y , reduced the slave to the s t a t u s of an o b j e c t . Naipaul's s e n s i t i v i t y to the f i g u r e of the p e r i -p h e r a l man can perhaps be t r a c e d to t h i s f a c t of West Indian h i s t o r y . Under the slave system, the place of the i n d i v i d u a l was determined by h i s s t a t u s ; the s t a t u s of the s l a v e was c h a r a c t e r i s e d by subordination and l a c k of r i g h t s . H is s o c i a l p o s i t i o n was determined by the f a c t that he was regarded (and designated), p r i m a r i l y as property. Clause Four of the Act of 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 continue t o be so and f u r t h e r be held and judged and taken to be goods and c h a t t e l s and ought to come t o the hands of Executors ... as other assets do." The slave system depended f o r i t s very existence on a d e n i a l of the humanness of the slave*, t h e r e f o r e to ensure i t s continuance, the s l a v e s were s t r i p p e d of l e g a l r i g h t s , robbed of s e l f -respect and made t o work l i k e animals. They were "a herd of the human species reduced to the most abject s t a t e of misery, considered, even by themselves, as an i n f e r i o r order of being 23 i n the s c a l e of c r e a t i o n . " J A sense of belonging t o a l a r g e r West Indian com-munity might have o f f s e t some of these group a t t i t u d e s and r e -l i e v e d the sl a v e * 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 there has never been a West Indian community. The general 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 t h a t 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 of 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 p r o x i m i t y . At the end of the eighteenth century, most of the West Indian 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 at once u n i t e d and d i v i d e d them. They were, almost without exception, i n s u l a r c o l o n i e s of European S t a t e s , and the m a j o r i t y of 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 very existence 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 these general f e a t u r e s of resemblance had l e d to the development of complex t i e s w i t h the European i m p e r i a l powers which completely over-shadowed i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s among the c o l o n i e s them-selv e s T h e i r p o l i t i c a l dependence on the '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 vested i n t e r e s t i n b u i l d i n g up protected markets and access to c a p i t a l resources there, by t h e i r need f o r m i l i t a r y protec-t i o n ... and by the h a b i t s of i s o l a t i o n and the l a c k of 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, that t h i s s t i l l a p p l i e s . As l a t e as August 1 , 1 9 7 3 , at the s i g n i n g of a "Caribbean Community Treaty", by the heads of Jamaica, 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 noted h i s t o r i a n and Prime M i n i s t e r of T r i n i d a d and Tobago remarked, " I t remains to be seen whether c e n t u r i e s of 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 of co-operation.!?^ C o l o n i a l i s m ^ being the e x p l o i t a t i o n of one u n i t f o r the advantage of another, i t was t o the advantage of B r i t a i n to p l a y one u n i t o f f against another, t o f o s t e r a s p i r i t of r i v a l r y and to create d i s u n i t y . The c o l o n i e s had no i n t r i n s i c value as such. They were valuable only i n the extent to which they 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 of the p o l i t i c a l , economic or s t r a t e g i c importance of each colony. ( E r i c W i l l i a m s has shown how the wealth from her West Indian c o l o n i e s financed B r i t a i n ' s I n d u s t r i a l Revolu-The small i s l a n d s , f o r example, were considered to be u s e f u l as pawns i n t r e a t i e s . Or, as was the case w i t h Tobago which no one wanted to develop or defend (nor d i d they want anyone else to), there was a tac i t agreement that the small or neutral islands should be waste lands.27 A s a r e s u l t , Tobago i s s t i l l undeveloped. As for the planters, they regarded the small islands as unwelcome competitors for labour and for the sugar market. It was therefore to the interest of both Home Governments and planters to strangle the small islands. Today, they are the poorest ones. This insular attitude prevails today in the inter-island deprecation. "Each island distrusts i t s neighbours, a rivalry that has i t s historical roots in the traditional 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 this 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 distressingly apparent since the collapse of the federal venture in 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 for the enrichment of Britain, 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 profitable finan-c 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 acceler-ated by emancipation in 1834. Lord Harris, governor of Trinidad, articulated the dilemma of West Indian society then as i t i s now. "A race has been freed but a society has not been formed."3^ The overwhelming question in the minds of the planters was whether or not the newly freed slaves would remain 13 on the p l a n t a t i o n . The question was decided l a r g e l y by the a l t e r n a t i v e s a v a i l a b l e . Where there was land they could c u l -t i v a t e , as i n T r i n i d a d and Guyana, they l e f t the estates i n l a r g e numbers. Where there was none, as i n Barbados, they stayed. Jamaica f a r e d badly. I t had been d e c l i n i n g since the 1780*s and the high r a t e of absenteeism w i t h the consequent d r a i n of c a p i t a l was d i s a s t r o u s f o r an already shaky economy. The post-emancipation years saw the beginning of the West Indian m o b i l i t y that was t o continue i n t o a diaspora. The extent of m i g r a t i o n from and w i t h i n the West I n d i e s i s an i n d i c a t i o n of the i n s t a b i l i t y of West Indian l i f e , and of the great sense of p l a c e l e s s n e s s and homelessness th a t i t has bred. The post-emancipation population 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 the mass emigration at the t u r n of the nineteenth century when the sugar i n d u s t r y was i n i t s death throns. In the 1880*s, when the West In d i a n economy was b u c k l i n g under the s t r a i n of debt and competition from the beet i n d u s t r y , there was chronic widespread unemployment, r e s u l t i n g i n the "emblematic beginning of the continuous West Indian emigration i n search of work."^ 1 Sewell describes the Jamaica of the i860*s: "Kingston looks what i t i s , a place where money has been made, but can be made no more. I t i s washed up and cast aside as u s e l e s s . " ^ Between 1904 t o 1920 the C e n t r a l American Mainland provided work on c o f f e e , sugar and banana p l a n t a t i o n s , Cuba on the sugar p l a n t a t i o n s . Panama a t t r a c t e d many Jamaicans. The end of t h i s d i s p e r s i o n came w i t h the world-wide economic depression at the end of the 1920's and 14 the s i t u a t i o n was f u r t h e r aggravated by the U.S. r e s t r i c t i o n s on immigration i n 1924• Barbados, which has always depended on emigration t o curb i t s p o p u l a t i o n , was s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d . The 1930?s saw a f l o w of immigrants r e t u r n i n g . In the 1950*3, Montserrat l o s t an estimated f i f t y per cent of i t s population i n a wave of s m a l l i s l a n d m i g r a t i o n to the United Kingdom.33 The diaspora continues unabated. To stay i n the West I n d i e s means, f o r most, t o e x i s t at a bare subsistence l e v e l ; to emigrate means to become a nomad, uprooted. Naipaul has d i s s e c t e d the 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, comfortable p l a t i -tudes, and f e e l i n g beneath the surface to the hidden tensions of a s o c i e t y that 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 nothing was created i n the West I n d i e s . (M.P.72) With the g r a n t i n g of Independence to most of the i s l a n d s , a new awareness has sprung up. The process of d e c o l o n i s a t i o n has begun. West Indians are coming to r e a l i s e that they have been l i v i n g i n a borrowed c u l t u r e and that they 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 t r u e s e l f , a f f i r m i t s heterogeneous r a c i a l past and h e r i t a g e and shed i t s white c u l t u r a l s k i n . The problem of i d e n t i t y t h a t i s being 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 to ask the very b a s i c question, "Who am I ? " A p l a s t i c type of i n d i v i d u a l had evolved under s l a v e r y , a type who was h i g h l y s u s c e p t i b l e to outside i n f l u e n c e s , not having a n a t i v e t r a d i t i o n t o draw upon. West Indian 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 to a n g l i c i z e -- t o p r i n t her own stamp on a l l her s u b j e c t s . " - ^ The West Indian i s a l s o a h y b r i d . Gordon Lewis d e s c r i b e s the phenomenon: C u l t u r a l i m p e r i a l i s m ... by seeking through educa-t i o n t o convert the West Indian person i n t o a coloured E n g l i s h gentleman produced the contem-porary spectacle of the West In 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 set w i t h i n an Af r o - A s i a n environment, caught between the dying A n g l o p h i l e world and the new world of Caribbean democracy and n a t i o n a l i s m seeking t o be born.35 This i s p r e c i s e l y the dilemma that Lamming i s t r y i n g t o r e s o l v e i n Season of Adventure. The Martiniquan-born psychol-o g i s t , Frantz Fanon, has pointed out the danger t o the psyche of t h i s c u l t u r a l i m p o s i t i o n — so thorough was the 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 the black West Indian has unconsciously a s s i m i l a t e d the p r e j u d i c e s , myths and f o l k l o r e of Europe so tha t the negro, black being a negative i n the European unconscious, i s i n combat w i t h h i s own image, a case of authentic s e l f -a l i e n a t i o n . ^ 6 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 the t i t l e of h i s book, Black S k i n , White Masks. The negro s e l f - d e p r e c a t i o n , h i s unsureness of h i s worth, and h i s self-contempt, i s seen i n the T r i n i d a d g i f t at s e l f -c a r r i c a t u r e . One of the greatest dangers s l a v e r y i n f l i c t e d on the negro was tha t i t taught him self-contempt; i t set up f o r him the i d e a l s of white c i v i l i z a t i o n and made him despise every other.3 7 The c o l o n i a l has to create a whole new i d e n t i t y . He has t o p i c k up the pieces of h i s h i s t o r y and make the f u t u r e whole. 16 Because i t i s a systematic negation of the other person and a f u r i o u s determination to deny the other people a l l a t t r i b u t e s of humanity, c o l o n i a l i s m f o r c e s the people i t dominates to ask themselves the question c o n s t a n t l y : " I n r e a l i t y , who am 1?"^° In s p i t e of a few s u r v i v a l s of the A f r i c a n t r a d i t i o n , 7 the negro has been thoroughly 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 , ex-cept, of course, f o r i s o l a t e d groups such as the Bush Negroes of Guyana and the negroes of H a i t i . Many of the t r a d i t i o n s and i n s t i t u t i o n s they brought w i t h them broke down under the s t r a i n of the slave system. Any advantages t h e i r numerical s u p e r i o r i t y might have given 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 that s o c i e t y . A c c u l t u r a t i o n has been defined as "those phenomena which r e s u l t when groups of i n d i v i -duals having d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s come i n t o continuous f i r s t - h a n d contact, w i t h subsequent changes i n the o r i g i n a l c u l t u r a l p a t t e r n s of e i t h e r or both groups."*1'0 This s o r t of d e f i n i t i o n i s , of course, l u d i c r o u s , when one a p p l i e s i t to a c o l o n i a l s i t u a t i o n . I t produced "a monstrous d i s t o r t i o n of human societ y . " ^ - 1 H e r s k o v i t s , i n The Myth of the Negro Past, observes t h a t a people that denies i t s past cannot escape being a prey to doubts of i t s value today and i t s p o t e n t i a l i t i e s f o r the future.**- 2 The awakening of i n t e r e s t i n the A f r i c a n past has s t a r t e d many on a search f o r r o o t s . I t has taken v a r i e d forms, a symbolic r e t u r n through the adoption of 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 those who have the means. A f r i c a now serves as an emotional matrix f o r those who f i n d t h a t they belong nowhere. East Indian a c c u l t u r a t i o n has been l i m i t e d . C e r t a i n 17 Indian i n s t i t u t i o n s were bound to disappear or be modified, the n a t u r a l r e s u l t of being t r a n s p l a n t e d to a Western s o c i e t y . The caste system has l a r g e l y l o s t i t s meaning to the m a j o r i t y and i s not a potent s o c i a l f o r c e . For obvious reasons, i t had l i t t l e chance of s u r v i v a l . In the f i r s t place, a l l the immi-grants were placed on an equal f o o t i n g by the mere f a c t of being immigrants. Throughout the journey, i t was impossible t o avoid touch p o l l u t i o n as brahmin and sudra rubbed shoulders. On a r r i v a l , everyone was aware that i t was simple to upgrade one's caste i n a new p l a c e . Most important, the Caribbean con-t e x t would have rendered f u l l r e t e n t i o n a r c h a i c , f o r they were equal i n the eyes of the r e s t of the p o p u l a t i o n . Moreover, the West Indian p o p u l a t i o n was n e i t h e r r e c e p t i v e or sympathetic t o the p r i n c i p l e s of the system. The extended f a m i l y u n i t and the Hindu and Muslim r e l i g i o n s have s u r v i v e d , as have the languages. The Indian community i s , i n many ways, more suspended than any other between two worlds, the 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 path between denying t h e i r new environment while l i v i n g i n i t . There are many l i v i n g today who came d i r e c t l y from I n d i a and the constant reminders of I n d i a around them make the t r a n s i t i o n more prolonged. There i s an element of e x i s t e n t i a l i s m inherent i n the West Indian c o n d i t i o n t h a t has been g e n e r a l l y recognised by i t s w r i t e r s . The philosophy 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 one of uprootedness — the severing of 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 p s y c h i c a l l y . The l o s s of r e l i g i o n 18 and the d e s p i r i t u a l i z a t i o n of nature 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 the i n d i v i d u a l and reduced him to an automaton, l e f t him wi t h a " d e s o l a t i n g sense of r o o t l e s s n e s s and v a c u i t y ; " ^ man has become a stranger i n a world which i s h o s t i l e to h i s d e s i r e s . In short, man i s uprooted. Thus w i t h the modern per i o d , man ... found h i m s e l f f o r the f i r s t time homeless; science ... presented man w i t h a universe that was n e u t r a l , a l i e n ... w i t h the l o s s of t h i s c o n t a i n i n g framework ( r e l i -gion) man became not only a dispossessed but a fragmentary being ... man's f e e l i n g of homelessness, of 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 the midst of a bu r e a u c r a t i z e d , impersonal 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 stranger to God, to nature; and t o the g i g a n t i c s o c i a l apparatus .... But the worst and f i n a l form of a l i e n a t i o n ... i s man's a l i e n a t i o n from h i s own s e l f . In a s o c i e t y that r e q u i r e s of man only that he perform compe-t 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 be-comes i d e n t i f i e d w i t h t h i s function.45 The divorce between man and h i s environment operates on s e v e r a l l e v e l s i n the Caribbean context. That environment i s regarded 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 created by the sweat of slaves who d i d not enjoy i t s advantages nor do now. The slav e him-s e l f was the archetype of today's f a c e l e s s man of the masses. He was u t t e r l y reduced to h i s f u n c t i o n and was r e q u i r e d to do, not t o be. He was an object "as goods and other c h a t t e l s . " Wilson H a r r i s p o i n t s t o the a b s u r d i t y of 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 of h i s existence i s t e s t i f i e d t o by the circumstances under which he came t o the West I n d i e s . West Indian h i s t o r y reads l i k e a grotesque s e r i e s of a c c i d e n t s ; the West Indian 19 hi m s e l f i s an accident. His l i f e has never 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 golden age to look back on. The ab-sence of 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 , s o c i a l l y and economically i s a perpetual r e a l i t y f o r him. L a s t l y , there i s the damage sl a v e r y d i d to the psyche, the 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 that 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 In d i a n l i t e r a t u r e - both the poetry and prose. Space does not permit the i n c l u s i o n of West Indian poetry i n t h i s study. A more extensive a n a l y s i s would obviously have to inc l u d e Brathwaite's e x c e l l e n t t r i l o g y and Walcott's poetry. Nevertheless, i t i s hoped that the prose alone w i l l s u f f i c e to give an i n d i c a t i o n of the pervasiveness of the theme of r o o t l e s s n e s s , and i t s comprehensiveness, f o r i t captures the essence of the West Indian c o n d i t i o n . FOOTNOTES V.S. Naipaul, The Middle Passage (London: Andre' Deutsch, 1962)., p. 190. " : o The Sociology of Slavery (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 of the West Indies (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1961), p. 67. ~ '• ^ Elsa Goveia, Slave Society i n the B r i t i s h Leeward  Islands Caribbean Series, No.8, ed Sidney W. Mintz (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1965), p. 111. ^ William Sewell, The Ordeal of Free Labour i n the  B r i t i s h West Indies (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd., 1968. Reprint of 2nd.ed., 1862), p. 192. 6 Ibid., p. 112. 7 Ibid., p. 112. d The Sociology of Slavery, p. 32. 9 Ibid., p. 35. 1 Q I b i d . , p. 37. "^Slave Society i n the B r i t i s h Leeward Islands, p. 3 0 1 . 1 2 I b i d . . p. 3 0 0 . "^Donald Woods, Trinidad i n Tr a n s i t i o n (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968),,. p. l l o \ "^Attributed to an old resident of Trinidad i n 1858, De V e r t e u i l , i n F.R. Gordon and Shir l e y C. Gordon, Sources of  West Indian History (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd.,1962), p. 26. 1 ^ T r i n i d a d i n Transition, p.133. - ^ E r i c Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and  Tobago (New York:. Frederick A. Praeger, 1964), p. 279. 20 21 ^Arthur a n d J u a n i t a N i e h o f f , East Indians i n the West  In 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 Anthropology, No. 6 (Wisconsin:..Milwaukee P u b l i c Museum, I960), p. 19. 1 £ " L OMorton K l a s s , East Indians i n T r i n i d a d : A Study of  C u l t u r a l Persistence (New.York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1961), p. 22. •^An Area of Darkness (Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 29. In h i s a n a l y s i s of Je S u i s M a r t i n i q u a i s e by Mayotte Capecia, Frantz Fanon demonstrates the_ s e l f - h a t r e d of the coloured woman and her overwhelming d e s i r e f o r a white man to the p o i n t of self-abasement. Black S k i n , White Masks, Trans. Charles Lam Mankmann (London: P a l l a d i n , 1970. O r i g i n a l l y p ublished i n France as Peau Noire, Masques Blancs, E d i t i o n s de S e u i l , 1952). 2 1 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 , pp.4 7 - 4 8 . 2 2 The Sociology of Slav e r y , p. 80. 2 3 s i 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. 137. 2 / f I b i d . ,p. 3 1 1 . 2-^Trinidad and Tobago High Commission Newsletter, 4 (27 J u l y , 1 9 7 3 ) , p. 2. C a p i t a l i s m and Slav e r y (New York: C a p r i c o r n Books, 1966). 27 'History of the People of T r i n i d a d and Tobago, p. 52. 28 Gordon Lewis, The Growth of the Modern B r i t i s h West  I n d i e s (London: Macgibbon.and.Kee, 1968), p. 119. 2 9 I b i d . , pp. 18-19. 3°In Slave 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.332. 31 The Making of the West I n d i e s , p. 241-32 The Ordeal of Free Labour i n the B r i t i s h West I n d i e s , p. 1 7 4 . 22 33 The Growth of the Modern B r i t i s h West Indies, p.119. -^Trinidad i n Transition, p. 292. ^^The Growth of the Modern B r i t i s h West Indies, p.19. 3 6 B l a c k Skin, White Masks, p. 12. 3 7The Middle Passage, p. 66. 3 8 F r a n t z Fanon, The Wretched Of The Earth, Trans. Constance Farrington (New: York: Grove /Press Inc., 1968), p. 250. F i r s t published by Francois Maspero, editeur, Paris, under the t i t l e , Les Damnes de l a Terre, 1961). 39 J ^ M e l v i l l e J. Kerskovits has done an exhaustive study of A f r i c a n Survivals in. The Myth Of The Negro Past (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1941) • ' '. ~ ^The Myth Of The Negro Past, p. 10. ^The Sociology of Slavery, p.9. ^ 2 T h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s quoted by Kerskovits i n The Myth  Of The Negro Past, p. 32. ^ W i l l i a m Barrett, I r r a t i o n a l Man (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books,1958), p. 30. 4 4Ibid-> P- 30. ^ I b i d . , pp. 30-31. 46 w i l s o n Harris, Tradition, the Writer and Society (London: New Beacon Publications, 1967), p. 33-CHAPTER I I A WEST INDIAN SETTING Patterson's The C h i l d r e n of Sisyphus, Naipaul's A House For Mr. Bisw a s 2 and Lamming's Season of Adventure-^ are set r e s p e c t i v e l y i n Jamaica, T r i n i d a d , and a f i c t i t i o u s West Indian i s l a n d , San C r i s t o b a l , t h a t i s ob v i o u s l y meant to be a composite of a l l . The characters are those f o r whom the middle passage journey has been f i n a l — at l e a s t i n the p h y s i c a l sense; and the n o v e l i s t s , by o s t e n s i b l y d e f i n i n g West Indian man and s o c i e t y , create the a n t i t h e s i s — fragmented, dispossessed i n d i v i d u a l s who are 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 of r e j e c t i o n and of not belonging i s strong i n Naipaul and Patterson, Naipaul's T u l s i s trapped i n a decaying Indian world while r e j e c t i n g the Western 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 Patterson's Ras T a f a r i a n s s i m i l a r l y caught between worlds i n t h e i r f r u s t r a t e d d e s i r e to be r e -p a t r i a t e d to E t h i o p i a . 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 Naipaul would see as a pe r i o d of darkness g i v i n g way to f u r t h e r darkness, Lamming o p t i m i s t i c a l l y en-t i t l e s "Season of Adventure", and i n h i s novel he attempts t o re s o l v e the West Indian c u l t u r a l paradox, i n Gordon Lewis' words, of "the A n g l i c i z e d c o l o n i a l set w i t h i n the Afro-Asian 23 24 c u l t u r a l environment, caught between the dying Anglophile world and the new world of Caribbean democracy and n a t i o n a l i s m w a i t i n g t o be b o r n . " 4 His characters are t h e r e f o r e trapped, as w e l l , between worlds. An i n t e r e s t i n g p i c t u r e of West In d i a n s o c i e t y emerges from the novels. 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 of the s o c i e t y , such t h a t the frame of reference, the context, cannot be drawn upon; i t has to be created. One sus-pects t h a t Lamming d i d not set out t o do t h i s i n t e n t i o n a l l y , t h a t he found h i m s e l f i n deep waters when he t r i e d to create h i s f i c t i t i o u s San C r i s t o b a l out of a l l the West Indian i s l a n d s . Despite numerous references to Lords, Ladies and S i r s , P r e s i -dents and V i c e - P r e s i d e n t s , we are never f i r m l y planted i n an organic, l i v i n g s o c i e t y . He u n w i t t i n g l y r e v e a l s the poverty of the West Indian t r a d i t i o n . John Hearn's 'Cayuna* i s a shade more convincing because h i s concern i s w i t h a middle c l a s s that i s f a m i l i a r from the pages of the E n g l i s h novel proper. Patterson's characters are a type that has become f a m i l i a r through the novels of Roger Mais. They are the slum dwe l l e r s of the Caribbean, and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that both n o v e l i s t s are f r a n k l y f a t a l i s t i c and both see the predicament of 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 Salkey, shares t h e i r view; i n The Adventures of C a t u l l u s K e l l y , the Jamaican, Erasmus, com-ments on "the smallness of the enclosed area of everyday l i v i n g , the nearness of i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s , the rawness of the r e p o r t s of disappointment and defeat ... and the i n t o l e r a b l e e x i s t e n t i a l l i f e . " ' ' I n Mais 1 f i r s t novel, The H i l l s Were J o y f u l Together, the i n h a b i t a n t s of 'the yard' (shacks c l u s t e r e d around a com-pound), are h o r r i b l y trapped i n a v i c i o u s chain of circum-stances. At the end of the novel, Surjue, one of the main cha r a c t e r s , makes an attempt t o escape from p r i s o n : Halfway up already. More than halfway up. In a moment h i s f i n g e r s would c l u t c h the edge of the w a l l . I t was a l l so easy he wanted to laugh .... His hand reached up and took a f i r m e r h o l d of the knot above .... He d i d not hear the sound of the 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 at the s i l e n t unequivocal s t a r s . (The H i l l s , 228) The tragedy i s compounded by our knowledge t h a t h i s wife has burnt h e r s e l f t o death at about the same time i n a f i t of i n -s a n i t y . The C h i l d r e n of Sisyphus i s Patterson's f i r s t n o v e l . Most of i t i s set i n a slum c a l l e d the Dungle, which i s occu-pied by various s o c i a l o u t c a s t s , notably the Ras T a f a r i a n s , a Jamaican c u l t i s t group. T h e i r leader i n the novel i s Brother Solomon. We leave the Dungle f o r a short w h i l e as we f o l l o w the t r a i l of Dinah, one of the c u l t i s t ' s women, who makes a determined e f f o r t to escape from i t , and i t i s Dinah who leads us back t o the Dungle when she crawls back a f t e r being stabbed by the j e a l o u s co-leader of another 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 prominently i n Jamaican novels. They are n o t i c e a b l e i n Jamaica by t h e i r long 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 behavior. They have no regard f o r Jamaica or i t s p r i v i l e g e d , whom they regard as the s i n f u l c h i l d r e n of Babylon. They wish, 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, land of 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 the E t h i o p i a n n a t i o n a l anthem and worship H a i l e S e l a s s i e . I n the nove l , they have c o l l e c t e d among themselves and sent some delegates t o E t h i o p i a t o arrange f o r t h e i r r e p a t r i a t i o n . News a r r i v e s t h a t t h e i r mission has been suc-c e s s f u l and that ships are on t h e i r way. They gather on the Jamaican shore s i n g i n g and r e j o i c i n g , t h e i r belongings packed. Only Brother Solomon knows th a t the mission has been a f a i l u r e , but he allows them t h i s one moment of happiness, and wi t h a triumphant f e e l i n g of having f o o l e d f a t e , he commits s u i c i d e . Patterson has set h i s novel w i t h i n the context of the myth of Sisyphus who was condemned by the gods t o c e a s e l e s s l y push a rock t o the top of a mountain i n Hades and begin again when i t r o l l e d back down. T h i s archetype, the 'absurd* hero condemned t o a monotonous and endless round of f u t i l e labour, g i v e s the novel i t s t i t l e . The context i s modern, but the p a r a l l e l i s c l e a r . L i k e Sisyphus, the c h i l d r e n of Sisyphus are condemned t o a r o o t l e s s , t r e a d m i l l existence from which they cannot escape. Patterson has i n t e n s i f i e d the a b s u r d i t y of the e x i s -t e n t i a l framework by s e t t i n g the novel i n the Dungle, which 27 becomes a symbol of the foundations on which t h e i r l i v e s are b u i l t . O r i g i n a l l y a swamp, the Dungle was b u i l t up a r t i f i -c i a l l y : An* I •member de f i r s ' time de donkey-cart 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 place come hard so dat we could walk *pon i t l i k e we doin* now. Me was one o* de f i r s * person to walk 'pon d i s land o f s h i t here, g a l . ( C h i l d r e n , 39) As a powerful symbol and a c o n t r o l l i n g motif, the Dungle focuses on the a b s u r d i t y at d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s . I t symbolises the r o o t l e s s n e s s and contingency of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e ; i t r e -duces to 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 impossible f o r i t s i n h a b i t a n t s to escape from the Dungle as i t i s f o r them to escape from themselves. The Dungle i s both w i t h i n and around them. The novel r e l e n t l e s s l y pursues the theme of the f u t i l i t y of escape. A l l the characters have t h e i r eyes f i r m l y f i x e d on l e a v i n g the Dungle. Holding on to t h e i r v a r i o u s f r a i l rudders, Dinah, her ambition, Mary, her mulatto daughter, Mabel, her guts and ambition, and the Ras T a f a r i a n s , t h e i r hope of r e p a t r i a t i o n , they go through the motions of l e a v i n g or pre-p a r i n g t o leave, but a l l end up where they s t a r t e d -- i n the Dungle. Mary i s c a r r i e d o f f insane and her daughter i s taken from her, Dunah runs back to i t to d i e , and the Ras T a f a r i a n s are l e f t on the Jamaican shore w a i t i n g f o r a ship t h a t w i l l never come, w a i t i n g f o r Godot. The absurd i s born of the con-f r o n t a t i o n between man and a universe that does not 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 world there can be no heroism, only S i s y p h i a n r e v o l t . At the end, Brother Solomon, through whose consciousness we see the absur-d i t y , f i x e s h i s eyes on the v o i d , on the f a r c e of the human comedy th a t the Ras T a f a r i a n s p l a y out on the sea shore and c r i e s out: Every wretched one of them i s an archetype of the clowrt-man, p l a y i n g t h e i r part on the comic stage so w e l l they are no longer conscious of p l a y i n g ... they have before them ... twelve hours of happiness. Who e l s e but the gods could enjoy such happiness? For the moment they are conquerors. For the moment they have cheated the dreary c i r c l e . (The C h i l d r e n , 202) The opening scene of the novel w i t h the three garbage-men on t h e i r way t o the Dungle w i t h r o t t i n g food i s Kafkaesque i n i t s evocation of g u i l t and condemnation. They s i t " l i k e condemned men being hauled by the asses to a f a t e unknown, un-t h i n k a b l e .... They were abandoned to a f a t e which seemed to t e r r i f y them, p a r t l y because they were p e r p e t u a l l y plagued w i t h doubts of i t s e x i s t e n c e , p a r t l y because they f e l t t hat i f indeed i t d i d e x i s t , then i n some b i z a r r e way they already knew what i t was." ( C h i l d r e n , 1 7 ) . The Dungle i s peopled by the dispossessed who have nowhere e l s e to go, t h e i r squatter l i f e emphasizing t h e i r r o o t -l e s s n e s s . T h e i r greatest ambition i s t o escape; t h e i r songs are songs of n o s t a l g i a and e x i l e , of r o o t l e s s n e s s and of not belonging. In t h e i r songs, the Ras T a f a r i a n s hear k i n g Rasta c a l l i n g them home to E t h i o p i a . T h e i r a l l e g i a n c e i s a passionate one t o a land they have never seen and are doomed never t o see. 29 Camus s a i d of 'absurd man', "His e x i l e i s without remedy since he i s deprived of the memory of a l o s t home or the hope of a promised land."? The Ras T a f a r i a n s do have t h i s memory and they 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 the worse. As h i s Brothers prepare to board the ships t h a t w i l l never a r r i v e , Brother Solomon searches f o r reason, f o r meaning behind the comic r e p e t i t i o n of t h e i r l i v e s , the dreary c i r c l e t h a t goes round and round, but comes face to f a c e , i n s t e a d , w i t h the f u t i l i t y of 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 there i s a hidden god, something r e a l , something meaningful .... Brother, there i s the complete comedy, f o r when the mirage vanishes you have not j u s t the agony of your own . t h i r s t s t i l l unquehched but the added agony of knowing th a t the mirage was always unreal ... to seek f o r God, t o seek f o r meaning, some essence, i s un-r e a l i t y twice times over. ( 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 the absurd d i s c o v e r y , "a c o n d i t i o n that r e s u l t s when man seeking happiness and reason confronts a meaningless universe, what Camus c a l l e d 'the un-reasonable s i l e n c e of the world.' " I t i s the man of consciousness who sees the a b s u r d i t y , f o r the act of t h i n k i n g i s an attempt to cope w i t h the environ-ment and thereby transform i t . 9 Solomon, and t o a l e s s e r ex-t e n t , Dinah, are the centres of consciousness i n the novel. The beginnings of Solomon's quest f o r meaning go back to 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 to provide the answers. "Where was he coming from? Where was he? Where was he going? ... What was the point of even asking what was the 30 p o i n t ? " (The C h i l d r e n , 63). I t has been s a i d that the e x i s -t e n t i a l i s t imagination seems p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate to a time when man has l o s t a l l f a m i l i a r props and seeks new ones even w h i l e he recognizes t h a t they may prove i n s u f f i c i e n t T h i s has p a r t i c u l a r reference t o the West I n d i e s where the o l d props were not indigenous i n the f i r s t p l a c e . Thus, Solomon dispenses w i t h the prop of C h r i s t i a n i t y and embraces the seemingly more meaningful Rasta c u l t . But the paradox of that 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 planted i n a heaven on earth ( E t h i o p i a ) , which i s t h e r e f o r e subject to 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 of the novel makes c l e a r . At the end of h i s quest, Brother Solomon comes to rea-' l i s e t h a t man i s not poised between the i n f i n i t e and the f i n i t e i n a c l a s s i c a l chain of being, but t h a t man i s i n f i n i t e l y f i n i t e . The e l u s i v e l i n e s of the " S i c V i t a e " come back to h i s mind and he completes the l a s t s e c t i o n of the sonnet: The wind blows out, the bubble d i e s ; The s p r i n g entombed i n autumn l i e s ; The dew d r i e s up, the s t a r i s shot. The f l i g h t i s past — and man f o r g o t . ( C h i l d r e n , 205) Nature has few romantic a s s o c i a t i o n s i n t h i s n o v e l . Instead, i t serves to confirm the characters* consciousness of t h e i r nothingness and t h e i r estrangement from nature i t s e l f . Both Dinah and Solomon see i n nature only an extension and r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r emptiness. Camus has s a i d , "With what i n t e n s i t y nature or a landscape can negate u s . " 1 1 I t i s s i g -n i f i c a n t t h a t they both describe the nothingness m e t a p h o r i c a l l y as a d e s e r t . To Brother Solomon, man's search f o r meaning i s a 31 mirage t h a t suddenly vanishes, l e a v i n g him stranded i n a barren desert. Thus, the desert becomes a metaphor f o r the a r i d i t y of 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 . I t has t h i s meaning a l s o f o r Dinah. At the height of her r e l i g i o u s conversion, when the " f u l l consciousness of h e r s e l f crashed i n on her," she i s gripped w i t h t e r r o r and she rushes to the window to gaze outside and f i n d some a f f i r m a t i o n of h e r s e l f i n nature. She sees only a parched, p l a i n piece of e a r t h , a r e f l e c t i o n of her own empty, a r i d l i f e : Her being became trapped i n i t s sear, dry nakedness. What was beyond the nothingness of the dusty patch? she wondered. Nothing but more barren nothingness. ( C h i l d r e n , 159) When, at the end, Brother Solomon sees the comic f u t i l i t y , he laughs the mocking laugh of a man who has looked on the v o i d . I n a l a s t act of defiance, he "mocks the vast blue 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 to commit s u i c i d e as a supreme a s s e r t i o n of reason i n face of the i r r a t i o n a l i t y . P a t t erson denies h i s character's S i s y p h i a n heroism. I n the c o n f r o n t a t i o n between man and the environment, one emerges v i c t o r . I n t h i s case, the environment triumphs. (But the act of w r i t i n g i s i t s e l f a form of d e f i a n c e ) . A l l the characters i n the novel are trapped. T h e i r 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 of the novel, s i m i l a r t o t h a t of A House For Mr. Biswas. Rachel i s one character who 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 of a b s u r d i t y . Her weapons are a c a u s t i c , s a r c a s t i c regard f o r human endeavour and an acceptance of the f u t i l i t y of r e v o l t . She h e r s e l f had twice t r i e d to escape but always had t o r e t u r n . " I s not wha* yu wan* fe do ... i s wha* yu *ave f e do." Where P a t t e r s o n permits no escape from the c l a u s t r o -phobic p r i s o n of the Dungle, Naipaul allows Mr. Biswas a l i m i t e d escape from the 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 enclave of the T u l s i s . Both authors depict a s e c t i o n of s o c i e t y that has made the middle passage but has not a r r i v e d , only Naipaul*s v i s i o n i s more i n c l u s i v e . I n Mr. Biswas we see the f i g u r e of the r o o t l e s s , p e r i p h e r a l man set against the 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 yet a v o i d . A House For Mr. Biswas i s perhaps the best known West In d i a n novel. Kenneth Ramchand suggests that i t i s "the West In d i a n 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 ^ Mr. Biswas i s an I n d i a n born of a poor high-caste f a m i l y . His f a t h e r i s drowned while he i s a boy and the f a m i l y i s s p l i t up. Mr. Biswas f a i l s at job a f t e r job, becoming i n quick succession, a p u n d i t - t r a i n e e , an apprentice i n a shop and a s i g n p a i n t e r . During t h i s time h i s a d d i c t i o n t o the novels of H a l l Caine and Marie C o r e l l i w i t h t h e i r s t o r i e s of romance i n temperate climes adds t o h i s f r u s t r a t i o n . His s i g n - p a i n t i n g leads him to the T u l s i s , a respected Hindu land-owning f a m i l y i n Arwacas who h i r e h i s s e r v i c e s . The T u l s i kingdom i s run by Mrs. T u l s i and her b r o t h e r - i n - l a w , Seth. Labour i s provided by the T u l s i sons-in-law i n r e t u r n f o r a place i n the communal household. Biswas makes a clumsy e f f o r t to a t t r a c t Shama, one of the T u l s i g i r l s and h i s love note 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 before Biswas knows what i s happening, he i s a T u l s i son-in-law. The T u l s i communalism, without which Tulsidom 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 begins h i s l i f e - l o n g war to r e s i s t i t and throw a spanner i n the works. His attempt t o preserve h i s i d e n t i t y i s symbol-i z e d by h i s determination to have h i s own house. His weapons f o r r e s i s t i n g Tulsidom are h i s sarcasm, h i s r e l i g i o u s u n b e l i e f and h i s d i s r e s p e c t f o r a l l that the T u l s i s h old dear. But there develops a love/hate r e l a t i o n s h i p between him and the T u l s i s , f o r w h i l e they 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 , they a l s o provide him w i t h a make-shift 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 the T u l s i s can no longer put up w i t h h i s a t t i t u d e and behavior, they set him up i n a shop at 'The Chase 1. The venture f a i l s and Biswas, Shama and t h e i r three c h i l d r e n , Anand, Sa v i and Myna, r e t u r n to the T u l s i s . He i s given another p o s i t i o n , as a sub-overseer on the T u l s i sugar-cane estate at Green Vale. Here Mr. Biswas makes the f i r s t of h i s attempts t o b u i l d a house. 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 the u n f i n i s h e d house, Biswas i s overcome and i s reduced t o a sobbing wreck. He r e t u r n s to the T u l s i s once more. He then moves to Port- 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 allowed some o u t l e t . Under pressure from Shama,who misses the communal household, he throws h i s l o t i n w i t h the T u l s i s once more when they 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 place 34 c a l l e d S h o r t h i l l s . Here he makes another aborted attempt to b u i l d a house, moves once more w i t h the T u l s i s when they aban-don 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 h i s uncle. The opening l i n e expresses the l a r g e r i r o n y of A House  For Mr. Biswas. A f t e r forty-two years, Mr. Mohun Biswas of no f i x e d address has f i n a l l y become Mr. Mohun Biswas of Sik k i m s t r e e t , S t . James, Port-o f - S p a i n , only to d i e f o u r years l a t e r . But h i s house, which i s as pr e c a r i o u s a facade on insecure foundations as the r e s t of h i s houses, nevertheless symbolises h i s one goal i n l i f e , to forge an i d e n t i t y amid the d i s i n t e -g r a t i n g rubble of the T u l s i world and the uncreated f e a t u r e s 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, at t h i s time, to be without i t : t o have d i e d among the T u l s i s , amid the squalor of that 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 without even attempting t o l a y c l a i m t o one's p o r t i o n of the ear t h ; to have l i v e d and d i e d as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated (House, 13) • "A home i s the accepted 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 psychic c o n t a i n e r i s t o be cast a d r i f t , to become a wanderer upon the face of the e a r t h . " ^ ^ S h u t t l e d back and f o r t h between a succession of houses and people, never wanted and never missed, Biswas becomes such a wanderer, without a home to c a l l h i s own f o r the greater part of h i s l i f e . A home gives order to the memory, preserves the past, gives one a context and an i d e n t i t y , and act s as a base 35 on which to ground one's s e l f . When Biswas f i n a l l y moves i n t o h i s own home w i t h h i s f a m i l y , the n a r r a t o r steps out from behind the mask: From now on t h e i r l i v e s would be ordered, t h e i r ' memories coherent. The mind, whi 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 of Hanuman House, The Chase, Green Vale, Shorth.ills•', the 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 : events would be telescoped, 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 touched ... and a fragment of the f o r g o t t e n experience 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 to h u r t , w i t h p a i n or joy, they would f a l l i n t o place and give back the past. (A House, 581) Naipaul's connection between the house, memory, and the past 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 of t h i s novel as an expression of the West Indian r o o t l e s s n e s s . To people l i k e Biswas who have never 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 past, has been a nightmarish h i s t o r y of an uprooting process. I n t h i s , Biswas can be seen as an archetype of the West Indian m o b i l i t y , the m o b i l i t y of the dispossessed. Hence Naipaul's i n s i s t e n c e on the connection between m o b i l i t y , the consequent d i s r u p t i o n of memory and a whole past. Naipaul l i n k s t h i s w i t h the l o s s of childhood. Biswas has l i v e d i n so many houses, most of which have vanished without a t r a c e or been destroyed, that i t i s as i f he never r e a l l y e x i s t e d , as i f p a r t s of h i s l i f e have been o b l i t -e rated, e s p e c i a l l y h i s childhood. (He i s c a l l e d Mr. Biswas even as a baby). The uprooting process begins when h i s f a t h e r d i e s . "For the next t h i r t y - f i v e years he was t o be a wanderer wi t h no place he could c a l l h i s own, w i t h no f a m i l y except that which 36 he was to attempt to create out of the e n g u l f i n g world of the T u l s i s " (A House, 4 0 ) . When he pays a v i s i t to the house where he was born, he f i n d s o i l d e r r i c k s i n i t s place. V i s i t i n g h i s mother one Christmas, he r e f l e c t s upon how many places he has l i v e d i n , and how l i t t l e he was missed, because he was always an appendage. " I n none of these places had he ever been more than a v i s i t o r , an u p s e t t e r of r o u t i n e " (A House, 1 3 2 ) . None of these places c a r r y the mark of h i s absence, and n e i t h e r do h i s w i f e and c h i l d r e n whenever he d e s e r t s them or they him. Because he has never had a home, h i s memory and consequently h i s childhood 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 brothers and s i s t e r who change from c h i l d r e n t o married a d u l t s overnight. R o l l e d back and f o r t h between houses, he has never r e a l l y known h i s c h i l d r e n . " I have missed t h e i r childhoods" (A House, 5 3 3 ) . The quest f o r a house there-f o r e becomes an embracing symbol o f the West Indian quest f o r a past, f o r c o n t i n u i t y of memory and f o r psychic wholeness. Mr. Biswas, l i k e West In d i a n man, i s t r y i n g to b u i l d a symbolic house against a s p l i n t e r e d and d i s r u p t e d past of s e r v i t u d e and d e p r i v a t i o n . Only by doing so can he order h i s l i f e , make h i s memory coherent and l e t i t " f a l l i n t o place and give back the past." I b e l i e v e that Naipaul means Biswas to be r e p r e s e n t a t i v e i n t h i s sense because although the East Indians d i d not ex-perience s l a v e r y , the metaphor governs the book. Sl a v e r y i s one of those i n g a t h e r i n g , c r e a t i v e met-aphors 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 which i n i t i a t e s and sus-t a i n s A House For Mr. B i s w a s . 1 4 37 Both W i l l i a m Walsh and Gordon Rohlehr have t r a c e d t h i s metaphor i n the novel. Rohlehr suggests t h a t Hanuman House i s a micro-cosm of the o l d slave s o c i e t y and that Mrs. T u l s i and Seth have f u l l y grasped the psychology of the slave system. Since i t i s important t o the psychology of the slave system that the im-pr e s s i o n be maintained that everyone j o i n s i t of h i s own f r e e w i l l ( s l a v e r y created the evidence of 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 the absurd course of events surrounding h i s ' c o u r t s h i p 1 and marriage. "We don't want t o f o r c e you to do anything. Are we f o r c i n g you?" (A House, 90). Mrs. T u l s i d i v i d e s power among the s i s t e r s and r u l e s by a system of checks and balances. By a l l o w i n g her daughters the i l l u s i o n of freedom and democratic 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 are, 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 the f i r s t to r e s i s t t h i s psychic emasculation and Govind f o l l o w s s u i t ) . Any s i g n of independence and i n d i v i d u a l i s m i s punished i n the c h i l d r e n and the non-conformist 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 are reduced to the same l e v e l of me d i o c r i t y . Biswas i s allowed to make those jokes which a f f i r m h i s s e l f -contempt and strengthen and j u s t i f y the stereotype others have of 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 of having h i s presence acknowledged. The T u l s i s p r a c t i s e absenteeism at the Chase shop. 1^ Walsh p o i n t s out that a l l the members of the T u l s i community c a r r y about them the mark of the s l a v e , the unnecessary person, and tha t a l l are occupied i n the urgent task t o get others t o acknowledge, so as to have i t v a l i d a t e d f o r themselves, t h e i r human n e c e s s i t y . Before Biswas even grows up, a l i t t l e unnecessary part of him, h i s s i x t h f i n g e r , f a l l s o f f and dies.17 S l a v e r y , 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 of human n e c e s s i t y ; being simply a f u n c t i o n and a t h i n g turned the v i c t i m from a subject i n t o an obj e c t . The Green Vale l a b o u r e r s c l e a r l y see the v i c t i m i n him and f l a u n t h i s a u t h o r i t y . 0 Biswas* great achievement, t h e r e f o r e , i s i n not becoming a T u l s i s l a v e , not dying "unnecessary and un-accommodated" (the t y p i c a l Naipaul technique of presenting the most p o s i t i v e achievement of h i s l i f e as a negative — being as not being). N a i p a u l 1 s rendering of the T u l s i world i s t h e r e f o r e v i t a l l y important. By showing them i n t h e i r c l o s e d worlds as pr i s o n e r s of the past, the household, not s o c i e t y , becomes the s o c i a l u n i t against which we see the i n d i v i d u a l s , and the 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 of slav e s o c i e t y . Mrs T u l s i and Seth provide f o r everybody's needs and wants. They, i n t u r n , provide the labour needed to run the regime. The f r e -quency of f l o g g i n g s at Hanuman House i s reminiscent of s l a v e r y . No one i s paid' i n the T u l s i establishment. Biswas i s never paid f o r h i s s i g n - p a i n t i n g ; i t i s regarded as h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the household. Just as s l a v e r y h e l d the seeds of i t s own d e s t r u c t i o n , so does the T u l s i set-up. The T u l s i s l i v e i n T r i n i d a d , but t h e i r whole being 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 connections w i t h I n d i a , and when Owad speaks d i s -p a r a g i n g l y of Indians from I n d i a , the s i s t e r s "grew grave as 39 they 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 representa-t i v e s of 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 themselves from s o c i e t y and c l u s t e r together f o r s e c u r i t y : Despite the s o l i d i t y of t h e i r establishment the T u l s i s had never considered themselves s e t t l e d In Arwacas or even T r i n i d a d . I t was no more than a stage i n the journey t h a t had begun when Pundit T u l s i l e f t I n d i a . Only the death of P u n d i t ' T u l s i had prevented them from going back to I n d i a ; and ever since they had t a l k e d , though l e s s o f t e n than the o l d men who gathered i n the arcade every eve-ning, of moving on, to I n d i a , Demerara, Surinam. (A House, 390) The T u l s i s i n t e r a c t only among themselves; r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l , 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 entangle-ments provide t h e i r only emotional props and give t h e i r l i f e meaning. Anything beyond t h e i r gates i s unimportant and f o r e i g n to a l l except the t h i r d generation. Biswas, on the other hand, s t r i k e s out on h i s own. The c l o s e d , cramped q u a l i t y of t h e i r world, the i n t e r n a l i s e d o r i e n t a t i o n , give an incestuous t a i n t to the f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e . C An e q u a l l y powerful rendering of the incestuous p l a n t e r f a m i l y turned i n on i t s e l f i s given i n Jean Rhys* Wide Sargasso Sea.)»The consequent demoralising i s apparent when the communal way of 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 psychic o r i e n t a t i o n towards I n d i a , are unable to c o n t r o l t h e i r environment p h y s i c a l l y or through language. As the novel progresses, and e s p e c i a l l y i n the S h o r t h i l l s episode, the i n s i d i o u s process of decay and de-s t r u c t i o n that they seem to generate from i n s i d e , the 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 , p r e c i p i -t a t e s the d i s s o l u t i o n of the communal system. They b o i l , f r y and curry a l l the pl a n t l i f e t h a t seems e d i b l e . Scheme a f t e r scheme i s hatched and abandoned. They ravage and plunder the l a n d . T h e i r l o s s of c o n t r o l i s a l s o suggested i n the l i n g u i s -t i c dilemma i n which they f i n d themselves. The f u n c t i o n of language being t o describe the universe and thereby c o n t r o l i t , the T u l s i s are faced w i t h the problem of 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 that they a l t e r n a t e g r o t e s T quely between the two languages. By speaking i n H i n d i they never come to terms f u l l y w i t h t h e i r environment and so remain l i n g u i s t i c a l l y r o o t l e s s . As part of h i s r e b e l l i o n , Biswas r e -fuses t o r e p l y i n H i n d i whenever a T u l s i addresses him i n H i n d i . They need the support of a.sympathetic Indian environ-ment i n order not t o seem a n a c h r o n i s t i c . B e r e f t of the com-f o r t i n g enclosure of Hanuman House and t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n i n Arwacas as a pious, Hindu, landowning f a m i l y , they become mere e x o t i c s i n P o r t - o f - S p a i n . T h e i r negative s t a t e of existence extends a l s o to t h e i r emotional make-up. They cannot show emotion except by negative means. At Christmas the s i s t e r s mask t h e i r excitement by frowns and complaints of f a t i g u e . Shama apologizes by being aggressive. Scenes of lov e between husband and w i f e or parents and c h i l d r e n are few and f a r between and u s u a l l y reserved f o r p r i v a t e moments. Biswas and Anand share a p a i n f u l r e l a t i o n s h i p , w i t h "exaggerated a u t h o r i t y " on the part of Biswas and "exag-41 g e r a t e d r e s p e c t " on Anand fs p a r t . " F o r Shama and her s i s t e r s and women l i k e them, ambition, i f the word c o u l d be used, was a s e r i e s o f n e g a t i v e s ; not to be unmarried, not to be c h i l d l e s s , not to be an u n d u t i f u l daughter, s i s t e r , w i f e , mother, widow" (A House, 160). In such a world of n e g a t i v e n e s s and c o l l e c t i v e n e s s where the mass swamps the i n d i v i d u a l , Biswas stands out alone and p a t h e t i c i n h i s e f f o r t s t o c r e a t e and preserve h i s i d e n -t i t y and i n d i v i d u a l i t y . "The theme of one man p i t t e d a g a i n s t a whole way of l i f e i s t r a g i c i n s c o p e . " 1 9 The T u l s i way of l i f e i s a blank, s o l i d h u lk which Biswas makes p a t h e t i c e f f o r t s t o dent. Where i t seeks to reduce a l l t o a communal m e l t i n g pot, he must h o l d on t o h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y ; where i t denies i n d i v i d u a l worth and d i g n i t y , he must a s s e r t h i s ; where i t seeks to c r e a t e a f a t a l dependance, he must r e s i s t i t and s t r i v e f o r independence, no matter how l o n e l y the road. The poignancy of h i s dilemma d e r i v e s , however, from the v o i d he f a c e s on a l l s i d e s , f o r he has no r e a l a l t e r n a t i v e and no v a l u e s with which to r e p l a c e the T u l s i world. He f a c e s a d i s i n t e -g r a t i n g I ndian enclave on one hand, and an unborn c o l o n i a l s o c i e t y where romance, adventure and heroism are to be read about, not experienced. H i s choice i s e s s e n t i a l l y an absurd one — between two n o t h i n g s . In such a s o c i e t y , there can be no heroes, o n l y a n t i -heroes of the picaresque or the e x i s t e n t i a l type. I t i s impor-t a n t to note t h a t both these a r c h e t y p a l f i g u r e s are f i g u r e s of r o o t l e s s n e s s , the wanderer. N a i p a u l has noted the T r i n i d a d i a n 42 a d m i r a t i o n f o r the p i c a r o o n . T r i n i d a d i a n s , he comments, l i k e the 'sharp c h a r a c t e r * who, l i k e the pi c a r o o n , s u r v i v e s and triumphs i n a pl a c e where i t i s f e l t t h a t a l l eminence i s 20 a r r i v e d at by crookedness; moreover, the p i c a r o o n or a n t i -hero i s doubly s u i t e d t o the 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 use Maurice Shroder*s terms, the ' d e f l a t i o n a r y * n o v e l where every youth i s not a hero, u n l i k e the * i n f l a t i o n a r y * or *romanesque* n o v e l , would be a more a u t h e n t i c Caribbean form. T h i s i s not t o imply t h a t N a i p a u l i s merely f o l l o w i n g s l a v i s h l y i n the European picaresque t r a d i t i o n , f o r the p e c u l i a r s o c i a l and h i s t o r i c a l c o n d i t i o n s which gave r i s e to the admir a t i o n f o r the p i c a r o o n are unique i n a s l a v e s o c i e t y . In such a s o c i e t y the f o l k t r a d i t i o n would n a t u r a l l y manifest a s t r o n g a d m i r a t i o n f o r the t r i c k s t e r hero who outwits the a u t h o r i t i e s . Thus we have the Uncle Remus s t o r i e s o f the American South and the Bre r Anansi s t o r i e s o f the West I n d i e s . N a i p a u l continues on the s u b j e c t o f the p i c a -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 , the mixed p o p u l a t i o n , the absence o f n a t i o n a l p r i d e and the c l o s e d c o l o n i a l system have to a remarkable degree r e - c r e a t e d the a t t i -tudes of the Spa n i s h - p i c a r o o n world. T h i s was an u g l y world, a j u n g l e , where the p i c a r o o n hero s t a r v e d u n l e s s he s t o l e , was beaten almost t o death when found out, and had had t h e r e f o r e t o get 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 many of the f e a t u r e s o f the pi c a r e s q u e hero — the e s s e n t i a l s i t u a t i o n o f the wanderer, the o u t s i d e r who belongs nowhere, h i s e p i s o d i c l i f e , the 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 view of s o c i e t y . I t i s a l s o u s e f u l to consider the novel i n terms of the e x i s t e n t i a l t r a d i t i o n . Perhaps the happiest compromise can be found i n the term 'neo-picaresque', a term given to some modern e x i s t e n t i a l quests. 2**' An anti-hero Biswas cer-t a i n l y i s . Whereas many picaresque n o v e l i s t s use the motif of the i l l e g i t i m a t e b i r t h of the hero to parody the mysterious '1 25 b i r t h of the t r a d i t i o n a l hero, ^ Naipaul goes a l l out and gives Biswas a mysterious b i r t h complete w i t h absurd mock-heroic prophecies. 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 the "prophecy" i n the most r i d i c u l o u s way. His b a s i l i s k look i s ominously h i n t e d a t ; he has to be viewed i n d i r e c t l y by h i s f a t h e r — i n a brass p l a t e f i l l e d w i t h c l e a r coconut o i l . As i t turns out, he cannot i n t i m i d a t e a f l y . His name h i n t s at d i v i n e favour; i t i s 'Mohun*, meaning 'Beloved of the gods'. He i s hounded by misfortune throughout h i s l i f e . I t i s s a i d that he w i l l become a l i a r , s p e n d t h r i f t and a l e c h e r . He i s an unconvincing l i a r , h i s romance w i t h Shama i s an absurd t r a i n of events over which he has no c o n t r o l , and l i f e - l o n g poverty prevents him 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 the one to pack up and go home to mother. A l t e r , w r i t i n g on the picaresque novel, comments, "The anti-hero f i n d s h i m s e l f dropped i n t o a world as s t o l i d l y i n d i f f e r e n t to h i s own existence as any absurd universe faced by the pro t a g o n i s t of an e x i s t e n t i a l n o v e l . " 2 ? This c l e a r l y i s Biswas' p o s i t i o n . He i s c o n t i n u a l l y t r y i n g to cope wi t h an 44 environment that i s a l i e n to h i s dreams and i n d i f f e r e n t to 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 novels, but only up to a p o i n t . L i k e them he i s poor and s t r u g g l i n g , but "The heroes had r i g i d ambitions and l i v e d i n c o u n t r i e s where ambitions could be pursued and had a meaning. He had no ambition, and i n t h i s hot l a n d , apart from opening a shop, or buying a raotorbus, what could he do? What could he invent?" (A House, 79). He has no innate d i g n i t y and none i s allowed him except at Tara's prayers when he has a temporary d i g n i t y as Brahmin f o r a day. Tulsidom t h r i v e s on i n d i f f e r e n c e to people as i n d i v i d u a l s . Biswas' most t y p i c a l mood i s that of the uprooted man — a n x i e t y . He i s c o n s t a n t l y overwhelmed by h i s dispen-s a b i l i t y and contingency. He i s at the mercy of the f l u c t u a -t i o n s of others' fortunes f o r most of h i s l i f e . Because of h i s consciousness of s e l f , he has a c a p a c i t y f o r being reduced to the utmost nakedness i n times of c r i s e s . One such moment i s at Green Vale 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. His f e a r of the darkness, h i s f e a r of people 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 time, making him f l u c t u a t e between nonentity and being: Who i s your f a t h e r ? You. Wrong. I am not your f a t h e r . God i s your f a t h e r . Oh. And.what about you? I am j u s t somebody. Nobody at a l l . I am j u s t a man you know. (A House, 279) 45 I t i s of course i r o n i c that while the T u l s i t h r e a t reduces him to t h i s , i t i s the T u l s i s who gi 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 to a f i n a l break from them. A f t e r h i s breakdown the nigh t of the storm, he i s taken to Hanuman House and there h i s shattered s e l f f i n d s some comfort. The very s o l i d i t y of Hanuman House, which 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 the next morning. The T u l s i way of l i f e i s a choking embrace of communal-ism and r e d u c t i v i t y , and Biswas* f e a r of t h i s f a c e l e s s mass that c l o s e s i n on him and threatens to snuff out what i s best i n him i s v i t a l l y l i n k e d to h i s quest f o r a house. Naipaul's handling of the T u l s i mass and the 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 of the techniques of s a t i r e . Since the s a t i r i s t assumes an i m p l i c i t moral standard or norm against which d e v i -a t i o n s of the grotesque or the absurd are to be measured, Naipaul's task i s doubly d i f f i c u l t when we consider h i s v i s i o n of the T r i n i d a d norm. What does h i s s o c i e t y accept as r a t i o n a l ? What i s i t s norm? As Miguel S t r e e t , 2 9 The Mys t i c Masseur,-^ 0 and The Suffrage of E l v i r a - ^ 1 make c l e a r , Naipaul 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 great t a l e n t at s e l f - c a r r i c a t u r e , and the 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 without t r a d i t i o n s , standards or i n f l e x i b l e morals. I t . i s a n a t i o n of buffoons and p r a c t i c a l j o k e r s , benignly t o l e r a n t towards the most extreme behavior. 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 grotesque. Naipaul t h e r e f o r e r e j e c t s both the 'norm' and d e v i a t i o n s from i t . 46 T h i s accounts f o r h i s emotional d i s t a n c e from the 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 the q u a l i t y of h i s s a t i r e , f o r the greater the emotional distance between the s a t i r i s t and the object of h i s s a t i r e , the more detached he i s , "the more w i l l the swarm of minuscule characters f a l l i n t o the neat i n t e l l e c t u a l p a t t e r n imposed by the mind of the s a t i r i s t . ^ 2 Hanuman House has a l l the q u a l i t i e s of the s a t i r i c scene. I t i s d i s o r d e r l y , crowded, packed to the po i n t of b u r s t i n g w i t h miscellaneous people and t h i n g s ; the faces are grotesque. The scene where Mr. Biswas i s being questioned about h i s love note t o Sharma i s Bo s c h - l i k e i n i t s d e t a i l s --curious c h i l d r e n peeping at him and being dragged away by ringed hands, faces of women and c h i l d r e n peeping out from the k i t c h e n door-way. Hanuman House, i t s e l f a grotesque s t r u c t u r e w i t h statues of the monkey-god Hanuman erected at the corners of the r o o f , i s packed w i t h people caught i n t h e i r animal f u n c t i o n s — the e a t e r s , the squelchers, and people r i d d l e d w i t h the weak-nesses of the 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 precarious i d e a l that i s always i n danger of s l i p p i n g i n t o the darkness. And yet, i t i s a t r i b u t e to Naipaul that he maintains a g e n i a l Chaucerian tone throughout. M a l i c e and d e r i s i o n are absent. Lamming 1s Season of Adventure i s l e s s moulded by an a r t i s t i c v i s i o n as by a s o c i a l consciousness, and a d e s i r e to propose s o l u t i o n s to West Indian problems. I n the novel, the coloured g i r l F o l a's backward glance i n t o her personal and r a c i a l past p r e c i p i t a t e s a young nation's search f o r i t s o r i g i n s and an assessment of i t s dual c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e , so tha t both move forward i n an a r t i s t i c climax to the sound of s t e e l drums - - a t once A f r i c a n and West Indian. The novel r e -volves around an i n t r i c a t e network of paradoxes — personal, r a c i a l , n a t i o n a l and c u l t u r a l — and such i s the precarious s e c u r i t y and foundation of San C r i s t o b a l , that an i n d i v i d u a l ' s quest i s enough to b r i n g the whole s t r u c t u r e tumbling down. From i t s ashes, a second r e p u b l i c , an amalgam of the two h i t h -erto 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. In F o l a i s concentrated the dilemma of the coloured who has turned h i s back on h i s A f r i c a n ancestry and h e r i t a g e ; an added t w i s t i s given to her symbolic p o s i t i o n of belonging to two worlds by the f a c t that we do not know i f her f a t h e r i s negro or white (her mother had r e l a t i o n s w i t h both a negro and a white the same day and does not know which one f a t h e r e d F o l a ) . I n t h i s way, Lamming t r i e s to capture the insepara-b i l i t y of the d i f f e r e n t elements of the West Indian h e r i t a g e . F o l a ' s awakening of consciousness i s t r i g g e r e d by her 33 v i s i t to a t o n e l l e , an A f r i c a n serpent c u l t that has sur-vived i n San C r i s t o b a l , and her consequent r e a l i s a t i o n of how in t i m a t e her r e l a t i o n s h i p i s w i t h A f r i c a . Her quest f o r the tr u e s e l f takes the form of a passionate search f o r her f a t h e r i t e n t a i l s r e j e c t i n g her s t e p - f a t h e r and her E n g l i s h l i f e s t y l and coming i n t o i n t i m a t e contact w i t h the black masses. She e n l i s t s the a i d of a b l a c k a r t i s t , C h i k i , and together they 4 8 create a p o r t r a i t of her f a t h e r . The murder of a high o f f i c i a l plunges the i s l a n d i n a mass search f o r h i s murderer, whom Fo l a d e c l a r e s to be her 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 posters and the i s l a n d i s at once engaged i n a search i n t o i t s own past. The newly-acquired Independence does not s u r v i v e the c r i s i s and at the end, the new l e a d e r , Dr. Baako, o u t l i n e s the cause of i t s f a i l u r e and proposes how they are to appropriate t h e i r t r a d i t i o n s meaningfully. The ' t o n e l l e ' we witness i n the opening scene of the novel i s a West A f r i c a n serpent c u l t that was brought by slaves to the West I n d i e s . I t i s a ceremony f o r the r e s u r r e c t i o n of the dead, during which the dead come back to speak about t h e i r past r e l a t i o n s w i t h the l i v i n g and the l i v i n g come t o hear "whether there may be any guide that may help them towards reforming t h e i r present c o n d i t i o n . " ^ 4 In the t o n e l l e , past, present and f u t u r e a l l come together; i t i s at once rooted i n the past and a k i n d of prophecy. As Kenneth Ramchand po 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 of the dead, i t lends i t s e l f s y m b o l i c a l l y to the theme of the n o v e l : The middle-class West Indian's d e n i a l of the masses, and h i s shame of A f r i c a are seen as o b s t a c l e s t o the f u l f i l l m e n t of the person, and the i n a u t h e n t i c existence of the u n f u l f i l l e d person i s a k i n d of death. F o l a i s imagined as such a dead person, and the c r e a t i v e task of the novel i s to probe t h i s c o n d i t i o n and to f e e l _ f o r the problems and p o s s i b i l i t i e s of r e - b i r t h . To deny one's past i s to be s p i r i t u a l l y dead, to be f o r e v e r "a stranger w i t h i n one's own f o r g o t t e n gates." 49 As a p r i v i l e g e d coloured g i r l , F o l a has been taught a l l the refinements of her c l a s s i n San C r i s t o b a l , which means a European upbringing. This process of c u l t u r a l impos-i t i o n and the d e n i a l of her negro ancestry cuts F o l a o f f from her past and the i m p l i c a t i o n i s that the coloured m i d d l e - c l a s s i s s p l i t between the authentic and the 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 the s e l f that has a sense of i t s A f r i c a n past, t h a t 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 the dry, 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 the o l d c l i c h e s ) . Powell, a negro w i t h a p a t h o l o g i c a l hatred of coloureds, de-s c r i b e s the s p l i t : Look at her (Fola) good ... education 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 the r e s t she l e a r n f a s t how to t a l k two ways .... She got open-air 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 great w i t h the stranger man. Grammar an* clause ... 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 the same r a t - t r a p noise. Then she t a l k r e a l .... I s how them a l l i s . (Sea-son, 21) F o l a i s taken to the t o n e l l e by her European teacher, C h a r i o t , who recognises her a f f i n i t i e s w i t h the 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 hi m s e l f a s e l f - e x i l e who has come to San C r i s t o b a l to seek adventure, having 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 duty to f o r c e F o l a to glance backwards at her past. " C h a r i o t was sure there was some hidden p a r a l l e l of f e e l i n g between the g i r l ... and the coarse exuberant faces of the crowd which had suddenly grown h y s t e r i c a l i n the t o n e l l e . S o c i a l r e f i n e -50 ment had become F o l a f s n a t u r a l atmosphere, yet she had kept the raw, u n b r i d l e d c e r t a i n t y of i n s t i n c t which had tossed those women through the dance around the bamboo pole" (Season, 2 4 ) . The atmosphere of the t o n e l l e makes an a s s a u l t on Fola's senses and shocks her i n t o the r e a l i s a t i o n that she shares t h i s past w i t h the black crowd. Her r e l a t i o n to the t o n e l l e i s "personal and near", and so begins her journey of r e t u r n to her A f r i c a n past, a past that i s "personal and near" because i t r e c a l l s the departure of those s l a v e s who had brought the serpent c u l t w i t h them. She commits h e r s e l f to unearthing t h a t side of h e r s e l f that i s obscured under education and up-b r i n g i n g , the side of her that responds i n s t i n c t i v e l y to the rhythm of the s t e e l drums. The events at the t o n e l l e that night have p a r t i c u l a r reference to her. One of the dead that r e t u r n s to speak at the t o n e l l e i s a boy who was deserted by h i s mother whi l e he was a l i v e . He had spent h i s l i f e searching f o r her i n v a i n . Crim, one of the negro peasants at the t o n e l l e , comments on the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s : I s the bi 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 to give you l i f e ? Which man you can c a l l f a t h e r , however i t happen,, which woman you can c a l l mother whatever her past p o s i t i o n ? I s the biggest n a t ' r a l t h i n g . (Season, 47) T h i s has a two - f o l d reference to F o l a . In the f i r s t place, " i t i s against a l l custom f o r the g u i l t y t o stay away" from a t o n e l l e , and so i t i s e n t i r e l y appropriate t h a t F o l a , who has 51 denied her past, l i k e the mother who has denied her son, should be at the t o n e l l e . Secondly, i t makes F o l a r e a l i s e the incompleteness and unnaturalness of her e x i s t e n c e , f o r she doesn't know who her f a t h e r i s . The two quests t h e r e f o r e become one. She makes i t c l e a r to her s t e p - f a t h e r t h a t she doesn't regard him as her f a t h e r . She s t a r t s on a " h i s t o r y of needs; a season of adventure" and her quest takes her to C h i k i the a r t i s t . 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 paralysed by the c o n f l i c t of h i s dual h e r i t a g e , the C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n , a n d the African/West Indian one. His p a i n t i n g s move from C h r i s t i a n themes, the miraculous t r a n s f o r -mation of water i n t o wine at Canna and the resurrection of Lazarus, to a v i s i o n of h i s own f a i l i n g i n s p i r a t i o n , a c r i p p l e d hand plunging 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 to capture sound i n h i s p a i n t i n g s ; he views t h i s as an a r t i s t i c f a i l u r e . These paradoxes are r e s o l v e d t e m p o r a r i l y at the end and h i s p a i n t i n g s come to 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 Gort, who i s p l a y i n g the drum dug up from the grave of Jack 0*Lantern, march towards Freedom Square. There i s the miraculous tr a n s f o r m a t i o n of drums i n t o music and the c a p t u r i n g of sound, the f u s i o n of C h r i s t i a n and African/West Indian t r a d i t i o n s i n the hymns tha t are played on the drums, and the r e s u r r e c t i o n of Jack 0*Lantern's drum from the grave. 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 and the two t r a d i t i o n s are r e c o n c i l e d t e m p o r a r i l y . When F o l a and C h i k i create her 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 the mur-derer of a high o f f i c i a l , the personal 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. " I t might have been your f a t h e r m i s s i n ' the way t h a t face haunt every man w i t h l o o k i n and s e a r c h i n . " This i s as i t should be, s i n c e Fola's f a t h e r i s a mysterious combination of black and white, and the search becomes, by i m p l i c a t i o n , a n a t i o n a l backward glance at the past, posing the fundamental West Indian question of i d e n t i t y : Who am I ? Lamming s e l e c t s the d i s t i n c t i v e West Indian sound of the s t e e l drums as the b a s i s f o r a s o l u t i o n to the c u l t u r a l dichotomy. The music i t s e l f i s a motif i n the n o v e l , sometimes near, sometimes d i s t a n t , but seldom absent. As Kenneth Ramchand po i n t s out, Season of Adventure i s the f i r s t l i t e r a r y c e l e b r a -t i o n of the s t e e l band.-^ The drums are portrayed throughout the novel as the r e p o s i t o r y of the peasant consciousness, speaking a language t h a t i s more immediate t o the m a j o r i t y than the Standard E n g l i s h of the middle c l a s s . They are r e f e r r e d to s e v e r a l times as " t a l k i n g drums", and Powell, 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 of the f a i l u r e of words to come — and whose tongue t r i p s over disconnected s y l -l a b l e s , responds i n s t i n c t i v e l y to the drums. He can hear Gort's drum c a l l him l i k e a human v o i c e . Gort experiences a s i m i l a r d i v o r c e between language and l i f e . "When words d i d not connect w i t h what they were doing they knew i t was a warning t r o u b l e was near" (Season, 5 9 ) . Language i s very important i n San C r i s t o b a l ' s higher c i r c l e s . The m i d d l e - c l a s s place great em-53 phasis on e l o c u t i o n and t r y to outlaw the drums and the t o n e l l e as signs of backwardness. When the c r i s i s , p r e c i p i -t a t e d by the murder, toppl e s the Republic, Dr. Baako proposes t h a t , s i n c e language was the cause of the f a i l u r e of the f i r s t R epublic, they must f i n d a language th a t was no l e s s immediate than the language of the drums. In other words, the i n s t i n c t i v e c o n t r o l that the p l a y e r s have over t h e i r drums should be t h e i r model i n the a p p r o p r i a t i o n of t h e i r c u l t u r a l past. The Second Republic and the West Indian n a t i o n , Lamming i s urging, must not only take a backward glance at'--'its o r i g i n s , i t must use the personal r e l a t i o n of the Drum Boys to t h e i r drums as a model f o r the c r e a t i o n of a language, and f o r the meaningful and r e l e v a n t a p p r o p r i a t i o n of t h e i r double c u l t u r a l heritage.-*' FOOTNOTES The Children of Sisyphus (London: New Authors Limited, 1969). Subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text and w i l l be c i t e d as 'Children 1. 2 A House For Mr. Biswas (Middlesex: Penguin, 1963. F i r s t published 1961).. Subsequent references w i l l appear i n the text and w i l l be c i t e d as *A House*. ^Season of Adventure (London: Michael Joseph, 1965). Subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n . w i l l appear i n the text and w i l l be cited as *Season*. ^The Growth of The Modern B r i t i s h West Indies, p. 19. The Adventures of Catullus Kelly (London: Hutchinson, 1969), p. 193. ^In The Three Novels of Roger Mais (London: Jonathan Cape, 1966), p. 288. ' -7 I n The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, trans. J u s t i n 0*Brien (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958. F i r s t published 1942), p. 6. Frederick Karl and Leo Hamalian, The E x i s t e n t i a l  Imagination (New York: Fawcett, 1965), p. lT^ ^ I r r a t i o n a l Man, pp. 17-18. -^The E x i s t e n t i a l Imagination, p. 31-1 1The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, p. 1 4 . 12 In The West Indian Novel and i t s Background (London: Faber and Faber, 1970), . p. 148. 1 3 I r r a t i o n a l Man, pp. 21-22. • W i l l i a m Walsh, A Manifold Voice (London: Chatto and Windus, 1970), p. 71. 54 55 15 Gordon Rohlehr, "Character and R e b e l l i o n i n A House  For Mr. Biswas," New World 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 source of most of the observations i n t h i s paragraph up t o t h i s p o i n t . M a n i f o l d Voice, p. 7 1 . Walsh tr a c e s the theme of s l a v e r y i n Naipaul's e a r l i e r works as. w e l l . 1 7 I b i d . , p. 72. 1 8 I b i d . , p. 7 5 . 1 < 7 >Gordon Rohlehr, " 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 Naipaul's A House For Mr. Biswas" Caribbean  Q u a r t e r l y , 1 0 . 1 (March 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 5 . 20 The Middle Passage, p. 72. 2 1 I b i d . , p. 4 1 . In h i s essay "The Novel As A Genre" from Murray Davis, ed., The Novel: Modern Essays i n C r i t i c i s m (New Jersey: P r e n t i c e H a l l , 1 9 6 9 ) , p.. 5 1 . ~ 2 3 T h e Middle Passage, p. 7 3 . 0 1 Robert A l t e r , Rogue's Progress: Studies i n the  Picaresque Novel (Massachusetts: Harvard Univ. Press, 1 9 6 4 ) , p. v i i . 2 5 I b i d . , p. 1 1 0 . p. 66. 26 "Character and R e b e l l i o n i n A House For Mr. Biswas," 27 'Rogue's Progress, p. 5 2 % o b e r t C. E l l i o t t , The Power of S a t i r e (New Jersey: P r i n c e t o n Univ. Press, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 266. -2 < 7 >Miguel S t r e e t (London: Andre Deutsch, 1 9 5 9 ) . 3°The Mystic Masseur (London: Andre Deutsch, 1957) 56 3 1 T h e Suffrage of E l v i r a (London: Andre Deutsch, 1958) -^Rogue's Progress, p. 1 4 . 3 3 A ceremony described i n The Pleasures of E x i l e (London: Michael Joseph, I 9 6 0 ) , pp . . 9-lQ seems to be the b a s i s of the t o n e l l e . " This Ceremony of the Souls i s regarded by the H a i t i a n peasant as a solemn communion; f o r he hears, at f i r s t hand, the s e c r e t s of the Dead. The c e l e b r a n t s are mainly r e l a t i v e s of the deceased who, ever since t h e i r death, have been locked i n water. I t i s the duty of the Dead to 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 report of t h e i r past r e l a t i o n s w i t h the l i v i n g .... I t i s the duty of the Dead t o speak, since t h e i r r e l e a s e from that pur-gatory of Water cannot be r e a l i s e d u n t i l they have f u l f i l l e d the c o n t r a c t which t h i s ceremony symbolises .... The l i v i n g demand t o hear whether there i s any need f o r f o r g i v e n e s s , f o r redemption; whether, i n f a c t , there may be any guide which may help them towards reforming t h e i r present c o n d i t i o n . D i f -f e r e n t as they may be i n t h e i r present s t a t e of e x i s t e n c e , those a l i v e and those now Dead — t h e i r ambitions p o i n t to 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 Future. 01 The s i m i l a r i t y of the ceremony described i n The  Pleasures of E x i l e and the t o n e l l e , and the symbolic i m p l i c a -t i o n s both hold, would warrant our assuming t h a t they are the same. 3 5 The West Indian Novel and I t s Background, p. 1 4 3 . 3 6 I b i d . , p. 1 3 6 . 3 7 I b i d . , pp. 1 3 7 - 1 3 8 . £"7 CHAPTER I I I THE IMMIGRANT Emigration i s an extension of the West Indian ex-perience; f o r the m a j o r i t y of West Indian w r i t e r s , i t i s as much a part of t h e i r experience as the i s l a n d s they l e f t . Salkey's The Adventures of C a t u l l u s K e l l y 1 i s prefaced by an e x t r a c t from 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 quoting at l e n g t h . Every country has a stor e of c o l l e c t i v e memories; I mean the memories which combine c e r t a i n places w i t h c e r t a i n experiences which seem p a r t i c u l a r l y symbolic of the c u l t u r e and h i s t o r y of that country, and are meaningful, 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 not have l i v e d i n that k i n d of place or had that k i n d of experience. West Indians i n h a b i t c e r t a i n c o l l e c t i v e memo-r i e s . The f i r s t i s the peasant and v i l l a g e memory .... The second i s the i n c r e d i b l e jumble and scurry of l i f e i n the downtown s e c t i o n of any of the bigger towns .... The t h i r d i s not of the West I n d i e s at a l l . I t i s the memory of the 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 or W10; i t i s the sad, b i t t e r - s w e e t memory of emigration; f o r some of us, i t i s now the sharpest and most meaningful c o l l e c t i v e reminiscence of a l l . These c o l l e c t i v e memories are part of what •being a West Indian* means f o r us now; there i s , i n each of them, the key t o a p a r t i c u l a r l y important look i n our h i s t o r y , our way of 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 subject of West Indian l i t e r a t u r e , apart from l i f e i n the West I n d i e s , i s the emigrant l i v i n g away from the West I n d i e s , cut o f f from whatever r o o t s he d i d have. Even i n novels set i n the West I n d i e s , the f i g u r e of the emigre" i s a f a m i l i a r one at the end. I t f o l l o w s t h a t 57 58 the West Indian r o o t l e s s n e s s t h a t has been the subject of the previous chapter i s exacerbated i n the immigrant novels when the support of a f a m i l i a r environment i s withdrawn. Whether the novels are set i n England, as are most, notably by Selvon, Salkey, Lamming and B r a i t h w a i t e , or i n Canada, where the Barbadian, A u s t i n Clarke 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 , they share the concerns 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 being t h a t i n the 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 the form-l e s s n e s s of s o c i e t y , w h i l e i n the novels set i n England, i n d i -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 out-l i n e s of a s o c i e t y that i s r i c h i n t r a d i t i o n , has evolved a 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 . E x c l u s i o n , r a t h e r than r e j e c t i o n , i s more dominant i n the immigrant novels. 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 s i t u a -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 dimension to the themes discussed i n the previous chapter. In a d d i t i o n to the f a m i l i a r themes of i d e n t i t y , a l i e n a t i o n , the t h r e a t t o the psyche and the f a i l u r e of language, the immigrant novels explore c u l t u r a l d e p r i v a t i o n (as opposed to c u l t u r a l d u a l i t y ) , they focus 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 nor p h y s i c a l environment, explore h i s overwhelming f e e l i n g of l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n , examine the fragmentation or break-down of p e r s o n a l i t y r e s u l t i n g from the contact between the immigrant who has l i t t l e i n n e r reserves and an a l i e n , h o s t i l e country, and d e p i c t the t o t a l l a c k of communication between the two. 59 These novels g e n e r a l l y document the f a t e of immi-grants i n the new country, f i l l i n g i n such background informa-t i o n as t h e i r reasons f o r emigrating and t h e i r e xpectations, so t h a t we can determine the extent t o which the new environ-ment f i t s t h e i r preconceptions. More o f t e n than not, they make no meaningful impact on t h e i r environment and are l a r g e l y a f r a i d of and puzzled by the b u s t l e and i m p e r s o n a l i t y of the l i f e t h a t s w i r l s around them. The dominant image they leave on the mind i s that of so many pieces of 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 , going backward and forward, never anchoring themselves, but o c c a s i o n a l l y being washed up. The v i o l e n c e t h a t broods under the surface of A u s t i n Clarke's The Meeting 2 3 Point explodes i n Lamming 1s The Emigrants, r e f l e c t i n g the complete d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of p e r s o n a l i t y and breakdown of morals. Few of the emigrants r e t u r n , although at some point they have a l u c i d perception of themselves and t h e i r f l o a t i n g e x i s t e n c e . Without the support of t h e i r environment or of a meaningful r o l e i n i t , they become almost a part of 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 they are most f a m i l i a r . In the immigrant novels, form and content are more synchronised than i n novels set i n the West I n d i e s , w i t h the notable exception of A House For Mr. Biswas w i t h i t s l e i s u r e l y , e p i s o d i c s t r u c t u r e . The e p i s o d i c nature of the immigrant novels and the tendency to p l o t l e s s n e s s , i n f a c t the fragmen-t a t i o n of p l o t and language, r e i n f o r c e s the theme of r o o t l e s s -60 ness. T h i s can account f o r the success of Selvon's immigrant novels. The Lonely Londoners 4 i s the most e p i s o d i c of the three novels under d i s c u s s i o n ; i t i s b u i l t purely around i n c i d e n t and there i s no p l o t . H is long unpunctuated panegyric to summer ( i n d i a l e c t ) i s a r t i s t i c a l l y s u c c e s s f u l i n terms of the s t r u c t u r e of the no v e l . Salkey*s urban, r o o t l e s s idiom i n The Adventures of C a t u l l u s K e l l y , the ping-pong q u a l i t y of most of the dialogues, w i t h disconnected words batted back and f o r t h , complements C a t u l l u s 1 r o o t l e s s n e s s and demonstrates h i s l i n g u i s t i c s c h i z o p h r e n i a . F i n a l l y , the i n c o n c l u s i v e endings of many of these novels, notably The Emigrants, The Lonely Londoners, The Housing Lark^ and The Meeting P o i n t m i r r o r the dead-end roads the characters f o l l o w . The Emigrants, 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 ambitious attempt t o c h r o n i c l e the e n t i r e aspect of t h i s modern middle passage. The novel begins w i t h the a c t u a l voyage from the West I n d i e s to England. We f o l l o w the s h i p from i s l a n d t o i s l a n d as i t p i c k s up passengers. I n t h e i r conversations on board we see t h e i r p a i n f u l attempts to f i n d u n i t y i n a concept of West Indianism, as i f they sense the danger of i n d i v i d u a l f o r a y s i n t o England. Then the novel t r a c e s the fragmentation of the i n d i v i d u a l s and of the group i n England. I n The Emigrants Lamming cuts us a d r i f t from any mooring.... r e a l i z a t i o n of an i d e n t i t y as West Indians i s f a r t h e r away than ever; and t h i s n i g h t -mare England, a l l jagged f l a s h e s and fragments, seems.to deny the very existence of any recognizable human i d e n t i t y at a l l .... The sep a r a t i o n , the absence of love 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 than a West Indian c o n d i t i o n . Everyone i s a d r i f t ; only some new dark f i g u r e s , f o r m e r l y locked i n t h e i r i s l a n d s , have entered the current.6 61 The quest motif i s e n t i r e l y appropriate to these novels, f o r England i s i n many ways an extension of the West Indian s e l f . The West Indian has been shaped by the respec-t i v e Home c o u n t r i e s more than he r e a l i s e s . Naipaul comments on the extent t o which the West Indian i d e n t i f i e s w i t h England: I t i s not f u l l y r e a l i s e d how completely the 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 . . . . For the West Indian i n t e l l e c t u a l , speaking no other language but. E n g l i s h , educated i n the E n g l i s h way, the e x p e r i -ence of England i s u s u a l l y traumatic. The founda-t i o n s of h i s l i f e are removed. He has to look f o r new l o y a l t i e s . 7 Lamming, i n The Pleasures of E x i l e , has made a s i m i l a r s t a t e -ment on the powerful hold that the ' i d e a 1 of England has on the West In d i a n mind. 8 The f i d e a f of I n d i a f i l l s t h i s emo-t i o n a l need f o r the East I n d i a n . Fanon shows how a p p l i c a b l e i t i s to the 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 France. "The A n t i l l e a n who goes to France p i c t u r e s t h i s journey as the f i n a l stage of 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 Lonely Londoners: The changing of the seasons, the c o l d s l i c i n g winds, the f a l l i n g l e a v e s , s u n l i g h t on green grass, snow on the la 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, but to have s a i d , " I walked on Waterloo Bridge," " I rendezvoused at Charing Cross," " P i c c a d i l l y C i r c u s i s my pl a y -ground," t o say these t h i n g s , t o have l i v e d these t h i n g s , t o have l i v e d i n the great c i t y of London, centre of the world ... to w r i t e a casual l e t t e r home beginning: "Last 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 of venturing i n t o the known/ unknown seat of the empire can i n v e s t the immigrant w i t h a f a l s e sense of s e c u r i t y . The average immigrant probably knows 62 more about England than about the West Indies. Conrad once wrote, "The adventurer into the depths would do well to have roots in a human community."10 Real inner security can exist only when the person i s capable of realizing his real self and of being rooted in and belonging to his environment. In his new environment the immigrant becomes the outsider. Camus has said that the mind's deepest desire i s for c l a r i t y and famil-i a r i t y ; the impenetrable world of the immigrant denies contact and communication at any but the most superficial level. These are not pioneers, but exiles. Because of the nature of the experience they are dealing with, the three novels under discussion have more in common than those dealt with in Chapter One. Their characters are predominantly negro (Lamming*s are coloureds and negroes, Naipaul's are Indians), their concern i s with individual or a loose group experience (Lamming*s i s national, Naipaul*s i s racial ) , and their characters are immigrants in predominantly white societies. The feeling of loneliness and of not belong-ing i s more obvious in Clarke and Selvon whose characters are also at the bottom of the 'socio-economic* ladder. The most striking thing about them i s their love/hate relationship with their employers or adopted country, their very ambivalence indicating the extent of their dependence and insecurity. The Lonely Londoners i s as directionless as the lives of the men i t draws into i t s orbit. The characters are West Indian with one Nigerian, Cap, "the wandering Nigerian l i v i n g off his wits and women" who i s as rootless as they are. The 63 novel i s b u i l t around the k i n d of e c c e n t r i c s one a s s o c i a t e s w i t h N a i p a u l , e s p e c i a l l y the Miguel S t r e e t type. Moses, one of the o l d e r immigrants and the centre of consciousness i n the novel, i s common to a l l . They gather i n h i s room on Sunday mornings to *old t a l k * . As Gerald Moore has observed, the dominant landscape i n t h i s novel i s the narrow f u r n i s h e d 11 room. The immigrants have very l i t t l e contact w i t h the E n g l i s h and tend to c l u s t e r together. This i s one way t o defend themselves against uprootedness, by s t a y i n g i n touch w i t h the f a m i l i a r — the d i a l e c t , t h e i r countrymen, the 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 of imprisoning themselves and l i v i n g i n the past. By s t u d i o u s l y a v o i d i n g the 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 that are con-t i n u a l l y f o r c e d on them, they r e t a i n the West Indian wine, women and song a t t i t u d e t o l i f e . Moses, a veteran Londoner, i s the only one i n the group t o assess 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 of w i l l t h at leaves h i s c o n d i t i o n e s s e n t i a l l y unchanged year a f t e r year. I n the r e a c t i o n s of a newcomer, Galahad, we see the strong emotional attachment t o London, the c o l o n i a l preconcep-t i o n s that weather h i s a c t u a l experiences. The immigrants have t h i s a b i l i t y t o separate the England they have known s i n c e c h i l d -hood, the England of t h e i r imagination, w i t h the a c t u a l place, i n a way f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t Naipaul cannot, when he v i s i t s I n d i a . The l o n e l y Londoners* a f f e c t i o n a t e references to "the ol d B r i t * n " and "the great c i t y of London, centre of the world," are genuine i n s p i t e of London*s i n d i f f e r e n c e to them. Gerald 64 Moore comments on i t : By w r i t i n g throughout i n a carefully-composed T r i n i d a d d i a l e c t , Selvon i s able to impose a d i s t i n c t i v e rhythm upon the l i f e of the c i t y as experienced by h i s c h a r a c t e r s . We see i t s moods and seasons through the a l i e n but a f f e c t i o n a t e eyes of those f o r whom i t remains through every-t h i n g an e x c i t i n g place t o be. The f e e l i n g begins with the sheer sensation of being there, i n London, •centre of the world,* the goal of many years scrimping, saving and dreaming .... The most memorable passage i s Selvon*s long anthem to the coming of summer, tha t moment which always post-pones h i s departure f o r another and another year. LHe quotes part of itT].... So Selvon g i v e s a t w i s t t o the wheel and s e t s the seasons spinning, though i t comes to r e s t on summer again and again. ^ However, London i s not only i n d i f f e r e n t , but antago-n i s t i c t o them, and i f there i s any message at a l l , i t seems to be t h a t the West Indians are out of place i n London.^ i n a New Statesman review, Maurice Richardson expressed i t suc-c i n c t l y . " I n summer they enjoy a short b u t t e r f l y p e r i o d . " 1 4 They remind one of the c h a r a c t e r s i n Miguel S t r e e t i n t h e i r t r a n s i e n c e , the way they f l i t i n and out of the scene, so that 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 contact, or r a t h e r t h e i r l a c k of contact, w i t h t h e i r environment can be expressed by a passage from The  Emigrants. "England was simply a world which we had moved about by chance. I t was there l i k e nature, d r i f t i n g vaguely beyond our reach" (Em, 237). T h i s aimless, f l o a t i n g , d r i f t i n g existence seems to worry no one but Moses who has l i v e d i n * B r i t * n * f o r ten years, long enough f o r him to have carved out a niche f o r h i m s e l f , 65 but the 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 years i n London p i l e up one on top of the other, and he g e t t i n g no place i n a hurry, and the years going by, and the thought make him f r i g h t e n sometimes" (L.L., 109). When Galahad swears never t o leave, Moses " s i g h a long s i g h l i k e a man who l i v e l i f e and see nothing at a l l i n i t " (L.L., 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 captured at the end when the boys gather 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 are 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 of t h e i r c o n d i t i o n . Under the bravado that has c h a r a c t e r i s e d t h e i r behavior and t h e i r e x p l o i t s , one sees the great emptiness and the bewilderment of men who don't r e a l l y understand, and who have never penetrated, the world they have found themselves i n . The f a m i l i a r West Indian g r e e t i n g , "What happening?" now poses a fundamental question. "Everybody asking what happening but nobody l i k e they know what happening" (L.L., 165). In t h i s l a s t scene together, Selvon imprisons 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 only f o r the moment: H a r r i s , whose main concern i s to prove to the E n g l i s h t h a t he i s c i v i l i z e d — a black Englishman — i s l o o k i n g at h i s watch anx i o u s l y and saying t h a t he has an important engagement; Galahad, who l i k e s to pretend t h a t he i s i n command of any s i t u -a t i o n , i s l o o k i n g cocky; B i g C i t y , who once played w i t h the orphanage band i s f i d d l i n g w i t h the r a d i o , and Five-Past-Twelve, who never misses a dance, wants t o know i f anybody i s going t o lime i n the evening. L a t e r , Moses stands on the banks of the Thames, f i g h t i n g 66 h i s usual b a t t l e : to go home or not to go home. Sometimes he t h i n k he see some s o r t of 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 that happen to him was experience that make him a b e t t e r man .... Under the 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 the episode, the what-happening, the summer-is-hearts, he could see a great aimlessness, a great r e s t l e s s , swaying movement th a t l e a v i n g you standing i n the same spot. As i f a f o r l o r n shadow of doom f a l l on a l l the spades i n the country. As i f he could see the black faces bobbing up and down i n the m i l l i o n s of white, 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 the crowd, bewildered, hopeless. As i f , on the surface, t h i n g s don't look so bad, but when you go down a l i t t l e , you bounce up a k i n d of misery and pathos and a f r i g h t e n i n g — what? .... As i f the boys laughing, but they only laughing because they f r a i d to cry, they only laughing because t o t h i n k so much about everything would be a b i g calamity ... (L.L., 170) Coulthard r a i s e s the question of whether t h i s has overtones of a general e x i s t e n t i a l i s t anguish, or whether the aimlessness, the r e s t l e s s swaying apply j u s t t o the West Indian d i s o r i e n t e d i n a white world which r e j e c t s him and t o which he cannot adapt 15 h i m s e l f . The i n c o n c l u s i v e ending suggests t h a t there w i l l be many more such probings beneath the l a u g h t e r , the b a l l a d s and the episodes, but th a t the Lonely Londoners w i l l remain trapped i n a p r i s o n that i s p a r t l y of t h e i r own making. A u s t i n Clarke i s the foremost West Indian w r i t e r on the American continent today. His f i r s t two novels were set i n Barbados. The Meeting P o i n t , h i s t h i r d , i s about Barbadians i n Toronto and i s not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t from other immigrant novels. The main character i s Bernice Leach, a domestic who works f o r a Toronto Jewish couple, the Burrmanns. Bernice's c l o s e s t f r i e n d , Dots, i s a l s o a domestic. Both women are l o n e l y 67 and f r u s t r a t e d , even Dots, whose husband, Boysie, married her only i n order to get immigrant s t a t u s . E s t e l l e , Bernice's s i s t e r , comes up f o r a h o l i d a y and stays w i t h Bernice at her employers*. U n l i k e Bernice, E s t e l l e i s proud of her b l a c k -ness and not a f r a i d t o enter the white world. She has an a f f a i r w i t h Sam Burrmann which ends i n d i s a s t e r when he d i s -claims r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her pregnancy and she has to have an a b o r t i o n which sends her to the h o s p i t a l e v e n t u a l l y . Ber-n i c e , bewildered at the t r a i n of events, r e t u r n s t o her apart-ment, and l o o k i n g out the window, witnesses the a s s a u l t of a Barbadian f r i e n d by a policeman whose g i r l he had been s l e e p i n g w i t h . Stunned, she c a l l s Dots, and as Dots c h a t t e r s on and on, Bernice "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 ' -- t o words — which are meaningless beside her knowledge of 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 to the t i t l e of the novel i n h i s a r t i c l e , "The West Indian Novel i n North America": The t i t l e of the work i s i t s e l f i r o n i c , f o r the novel d i s p e l s , r a t h e r than confirms, the o p t i m i s -t i c connotations of the f a m i l i a r phrase. '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 of h o s t i l e a t t i t u d e s : the black s e n s i t i v i t y of Bernice and her f r i e n d s meeting the coldness and antipathy of Canadian s o c i e t y . And there i s a l s o the personal c o n f l i c t w i t h i n each immigrant. ' C l a r k e ' s f i r s t n o v e l , The S u r v i v o r s of the Crossing set out t o show th 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 Meeting Point takes the s u r v i v o r s on another journey, t h i s time to Canada, where i t becomes obvious t h a t the 68 emigrants have exchanged one k i n d of s l a v e r y and e x i l e f o r another. This 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 of the  Crossing where Jackson, a Barbadian peasant, emigrates to Canada i n hopes of a b e t t e r l i f e only to d i s c o v e r that "Up here i n t h i s country i s the same s l a v e r y as what I run from back i n the i s l a n d . " There are many Bernices who can come to Canada only as domestics, an i r o n i c p a r a l l e l to the circumstances under which t h e i r ancestors made the slave journey. And Clarke plays on t h i s . Bernice "always saw h e r s e l f as a servant; a s o r t of t w e n t i e t h century s l a v e . I t was mainly the amount of hard work which reminded her of her s t a t u s . And a l s o , the small wages" (M.P., 5). During the course of the novel we are informed t h a t B r i g i t t e , a German domestic,gets three times 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 , then, that 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 of Clarke's negroes i n Barbados, i s that of the s l a v e . The grim point t h a t Clarke makes i n h i s novels i s t h a t p h y s i c a l or 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 possible. Bernice and Dots are p a t h e t i c a l l y unable to r i d themselves of t h e i r s e r v i l e , cowering a t t i t u d e s to t h e i r employers. The bravado they whip up i n t h e i r absence q u i c k l y fades i n t o the •Yes, Ma'am* r o u t i n e . I t i s demonstrated i n a p a r t i c u l a r l y p a i n f u l scene when Bernice i s r e l a t i n g to E s t e l l e , Dots and Boysie, an i n c i d e n t i n which she was reprimanding f i v e - y e a r o l d Ruthie f o r peeping up her l e g s . Her audience c a p t i v e , expecting 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 , Bernice r e l a t e s : I turned round, and I say, "but Miss Ruthie ..." "Miss Ruthie, my f a t arse!" Dots screamed. She was almost h y s t e r i c a l . "Miss Ruthie, h e l l ! You 69 should have slapped her arse t i l l i t i s s t i l l black-and-blue. Miss Ruthie? Miss Ruthie?" ... "Look, i t i s high time, you forget a l l t h i s s h i t •bout Miss Ruthie and Miss Serene outta your head, hear? Miss Ruthie, my. backside! C a l l the l i t t l e monster by her r e a l name, g a l ! " (M.P., 62) And the shame and h u m i l i a t i o n i s mirrored i n everyone fs eyes as they censure her s i l e n t l y , b i t t e r l y . Yet Dots (Miss Ruthie, my f a t arse) addresses Agatha, a white g i r l , as, "Miss Agaffa, dear" (M.P., 8 9 ) . The theme of the f u t i l i t y or i m p o s s i b i l i t y of escape tha t Patterson and Naipaul explore i s a l s o t r e a t e d by C l a r k e . "The novel s e t s out to i n d i c a t e that the attempt to escape i s f u t i l e . The f r u s t r a t i o n s of poverty and ignorance are given up f o r the more t e r r i f y i n g f r u s t r a t i o n s of l o n e l i n e s s and d i s -c r i m i n a t i o n . " 1 9 Boysie i s trapped i n a l o v e l e s s marriage of convenience, E s t e l l e by her attempt to use Sam Burrmann, Bernice i n a cl o s e d mind, an incomprehensible world and the c o n t r a c t i n g w a l l s of 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 characters l i v e the same limbo existence i n t h e i r environment as do the Lonely Londoners, only t h e i r i s o -l a t i o n i s more profound. The f e e l one gets, i n Selvon, of a vague world d r i f t i n g beyond reach i s t o t a l l y absent i n C l a r k e , the absence of 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 to the c l a u s -trophobia t h a t the novel generates. Although the dominant lan d -scape i n Selvon i s the narrow f u r n i s h e d room, the Londoners do emerge i n summer. B e r n i c e f s l i f e continues to be centred around her r a d i o , her room and the k i t c h e n . S e l v o n f s j o y f u l c e l e b r a -t i o n of summer r e l i e v e s some of the bleakness of the immigrants^ 70 l i v e s . Bernice hates a l l the seasons — the coldness of wint e r , the u n r e l e n t i n g whiteness of snow, the uncomfortable heat of summer. Clarke u t i l i s e s the ready-made symbol of the snow to i n d i c a t e the d i s p a r i t y between the West Indian temper-ament and the a l i e n landscape. To Bernice, "Mrs. Burrmann not only symbolized the snow; she symbolized, a l s o , the uneasiness and inconvenience of the snow" (M.P., 7 ) . In time, the snow becomes the symbol of the s t e r i l i t y and unnaturalness of her l i f e . " T his i s our l i f e , c h i l d ... i t i s a l i f e o 1 snow and whiteness" (M.P., 7 ) . Bernice i s incapable of responding to the n a t u r a l rhythms of her new environment. C l a r k e f s c h a racters never belong; they remain a l i e n s , completely cut o f f from the mainstream of l i f e . The a t t a c h -ment and l o y a l t y to England t h a t makes l i f e bearable and sometimes even e x c i t i n g f o r Selvon's immigrants does not e x i s t f o r C l a r k e ' s . "This country could never be home, g a l . A l l the black people here, 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 fo r e i g n - b o r n black people, or l o c a l - b o r n Canadian black people, we are only a b i d i n g through the tender mercies ... o' God, the white man and the l a n d l o r d .... Any time, g a l , any time these three Gods f e e l l i k e i t , bram! they k i c k - i n our behinds j u s t l i k e they do down i n M i s s i s s i p p i " (M.P., 193). T h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e i r employers i s a curious blend of l o v e and hate t h a t r e v e a l s the i n s e c u r i t y of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e ; t h e i r ambivalence and emotional v a c i l l a t i o n s i n d i -cate the i n s e c u r i t y and impermanence that c h a r a c t e r i s e s the deracine'. I t prompts an outburst from the normally dense Boysie: I t does r e a l l y pain my arse to hear how you. both you and Bernice, does say such good t h i n g s fbout Mrs. Burrmann and Mrs. Hunter one minute, and gorblummuh! the next moment, both o* you saying 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 lady, Mrs. Hunter i s a whore! (M.P., 63) T h e i r ambivalence extends, a l s o to t h e i r a t t i t u d e towards-the m a t e r i a l i s t i c side of Canadian l i f e . They deplore i t r i g h t -eously one moment; the next, they are embracing i t wholeheart-edly. By showing t h a t the r i c h Jews who represent Canadian m a t e r i a l i s t i c values l e a d empty, u n f u l f i l l i n g l i v e s , Clarke p o i n t s out the dangers of the Barbadian domestics s t e r i l i z i n g t h e i r own l i v e s i n t h e i r preoccupation w i t h a growing bank on account and the p h y s i c a l comforts of Canadian l i f e . The same s t a s i s t h a t a f f l i c t s the l o n e l y Londoners r e t a r d the Barbadians, They change but they do not develop. With the exception of E s t e l l e , they never face the c r i s i s of s e l f - a p p r a i s a l 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, i n p a r t i c u l a r , c o n t i n u a l l y g ives i n t o a metaphysical blindness t h a t f a i l s her i n the end. A consummate h y p o c r i t e throughout, she remains a hollow character 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 her i n a b i l i t y t o k i c k f r e e of the dubious s e c u r i t y of the immigrant group. L i k e S e l v o n 1 s c h a r a c t e r s , they seek and need the cohesion of the immigrant group as p r o t e c t i o n against the f r u s t r a t i o n s of 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 only r e g u l a r 72 ' s o c i a l 1 o u t l e t . The church i s on Shaw s t r e e t , an immigrant s t r e e t . I t was a community of immigrants: immigrants who were not Anglo-Saxon. L i k e her, these immigrants had suddenly r e a l i z e d they were l o s t i n a f o r e i g n l a n d . And l i k e her, and her West Indian f r i e n d s , they came together l i k e seaweed on.pieces of d r i f t i n g wood, i n a sea wi t h a current that went no way. (M.P., 101) The immigrant s t r e e t i s the one place where they f e e l human and are able t o blend i n w i t h t h e i r surroundings. Dots had once s a i d of t h i s s t r e e t : "This i s the only 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 languages, and nobody doesn't stop t a l k i n g the moment I walk by ... nobody don't look at you w i t h wonder and scorn" (M.P., 101). Bernice adds, " I don't f e e l that I am e i t h e r a black person, or a white person. Not on t h i s s t r e e t . T h i s i s l i k e back home i n Barbados." Yet, i t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s that t r a p s them i n the past. A l l t h e i r t a l k a f t e r church i s cen-t r e d on 'back home*. When i t i s centred on the present, i t c o n s i s t s of 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 of t h e i r mis-t r e s s e s or g o s s i p i n g about other West Indians. Bernice i s a f a m i l i a r f i g u r e i n Clarke*s f i c t i o n . She i s the type of negro who i s most deeply scarred by s l a v e r y . In her we see the apathy and s e l f - h a t e of the s l a v e . I t i s the theme of a short s t o r y by Clarke e n t i t l e d "Four S t a t i o n s i n H is C i r c l e . " 2 1 The protagonist 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 black Barbadian who becomes obsessed by h i s d e s i r e f o r the symbols of the s t a t u s quo, i n p a r t i c u l a r , a house i n an e x c l u s i v e r e s i d e n t i a l area. In h i s p a t h o l o g i c a l hatred of other black 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 see a foreshadowing of the i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s of The Meeting P o i n t , "the t e n s i o n between nascent blackness on the one hand, and the pp o l d s e l f - h a t e or apathy, on the other."^^ The i r o n y of h i s quest f o r whiteness comes at the end when he acquires h i s dream house, only to be c o n t i n u a l l y mistaken f o r the gardener by h i s neighbours. Before coming under the i n f l u e n c e of the Black Muslim paper, Bernice resents being r e f e r r e d t o as b l a c k , uses a bleaching cream guaranteed to make one w h i t e r , and switches t e m p o r a r i l y from her 'black 1 church to a predominantly 'white* one. She has such a great c a p a c i t y f o r s e l f - d e l u s i o n , that although she i s kept f i r m l y i n her place at Forest H i l l s and reminded that she i s a domestic there and not a housewife, she can b l i t h e l y say on occasions, " I am glad as h e l l that I come here, 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 other black people who march f o r t h e i r r i g h t s . She and E s t e l l e are out one day when a group of marching blacks pass by w i t h placards reading •Canada I s Not Alabama* and 'End Race Prejudice Now'. Bernice i s choked w i t h embarassment and anger at the impertinence of t h i s "bunch o' black people walking 'bout the p l a c e . " A l l you seeing these days i s a l o t o' s t u p i d black people marching ... praying, k n e e l i n g down a l l over the 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 niggers i n Canada! W e l l , they don't know how l u c k y they are! (M.P., 220) When E s t e l l e proclaims her s o l i d a r i t y w i t h t h e i r cause, Bernice •corrects* her: 74 But t h i s i s Canada, dear, not America. You and me, we i s West Indians, not American negroes. We are not i n that.mess. Leave that damn f o o l i s h n e s s to them, you hear? (M.P., 220) To Bernice, a West Indian and a 'nigger* i n Canada are two d i f f e r e n t s p e c i e s . Her s e l f - h a t e i s p a r a l l e l e d , of course, by that of the Jews, revealed i n t h e i r Jewish p a r t y jokes and f i v e - y e a r o l d Serene's taunt to her playmate, "You're j u s t a lousy l i t t l e Jew l i k e a l l of us" (M.P., 20). The r e c u r r i n g theme i n Cla r k e , that the sla 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 , or economically, adds a v a l u a b l e dimension t o the West In d i a n experience abroad as the S u r v i v o r s of the Crossing make yet another c r o s s i n g t o f u r t h e r s l a v e r y . Salkey's novel i s more complex and i n t e r e s t i n g f o r a number of reasons, c h i e f l y , i t s avoidance of that t r a p that many West Indian novels f a l l i n t o — the novel as s o c i o l o g y as 23 bore. J H i s hero i s C a t u l l u s K e l l y , a black 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 that enables him to move w i t h a c e r t a i n ease about h i s London world, p e n e t r a t i n g d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of s o c i e t y and maintaining, at a l l times, h i s •c o o l t h ' . 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 disarming o b j e c t i v i t y t h a t sees him through the usual ' r a c i a l ' s i t u a t i o n s w i t h f l y i n g c o l o u r s . I t must be s a i d , to h i s c r e d i t , that Salkey avoids the r u n - o f - t h e - m i l l immigrant encounters 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 of s u r v i v a l , i f only i n h i s methodological approach t o London, what he c a l l s h i s 'two-way Weltanschauung.' But, 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 the peasant type t h a t Lamming so admires. Yet, C a t u l l u s , i n s p i t e of 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 year of d r i f t i n g about London, and when l a s t we hear of him, he i s committed t o a mental asylum. Kenneth Ramchand described C a t u l l u s * year i n England as an Odyssey. The novel i s l o o s e l y e p i s o d i c w i t h a very strong quest motif. C a t u l l u s * quest i s two-fold. He wants to f i n d the e l u s i v e A e t h e l s t a n Gordon-Venning, author of a r a c i s t book, The Shape of S k u l l s to Come. He i s a l s o t r y i n g t o c l a r i f y h i s concept of negritude, which he w i l l , i n t u r n , be able to r e a l i s e at a personal l e v e l , "the d i g n i t y of an A f r i c o i d " , and at a u n i v e r s a l l e v e l , a Pan-African brotherhood. C a t u l l u s * own fragmented p e r s o n a l i t y i s mirrored i n the fragmentation and d i s p e r s i o n of the negro race, 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 the s o l i d a r i t y and u n i t y of a l l negroes, he i s , i n a sense, seeking psychic wholeness. His f a i l u r e to i n t e r e s t the negroes he meets i n the i d e a of black s o l i d a r i t y i s part of a l a r g e r personal f a i l u r e t h a t breaks him. His attempt t o c l a r i f y and r e a l i s e the concept of negritude (wholeness), i s l i n k e d to h i s two-way Weltanschauung. I n Black S k i n , White Masks, Fanon has made an important observa-t i o n concerning the v i o l e n c e c o l o n i z a t i o n does to the Weltan-schauung of the c o l o n i z e d : As long as the black man i s among h i s own, he w i l l have no occasion, except i n minor i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s , t o experience h i s being through others .... In the Weltanschauung of a c o l o n i z e d people there i s an i m p u r i t y , a f l a w .... For not only must the black man be black; he must be black i n r e l a t i o n t o the 76 white man .... Overnight the Negro has been given two frames of reference w i t h i n which he has had to place h i m s e l f . 2 4 Salkey r i g h t l y i n t e r p r e t s t h i s as a schizophrenic s p l i t , i n that one has t o co n s t a n t l y come t o terms w i t h experience w i t h i n two frames of reference. C a t u l l u s ' two-way Weltanschauung i s h i s Kingston d i a -l e c t mood and h i s Standard E n g l i s h mood, between which he a l t e r n a t e s . Salkey d e f i n e s i t f u r t h e r as " h i s way of r e a l -i s i n g h i s Jamaican dreams i n London by l o o k i n g at people, ideas ,and t h i n g s , and naming them i n terms of 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 of Standard E n g l i s h : I n short, C a t u l l u s ' personal two-way p h i l o s o p h i c a l survey of and outlook on h i s former c o l o n i a l - i m p e r i a l world, through language" (C.K., 121). But l i f e has a way of f o x i n g C a t u l l u s . H i s two-way Weltan-schauung, which was " h i s s t y l e of l i v i n g sanely away from home, guarding against f l i g h t s of paranoia and schi z o p h r e n i a , making hi m s e l f acceptable to h i s own moral code and accepting and absorbing the traumata of the new country" i s i r o n i c a l l y a schizophrenic way of d e a l i n g w i t h r e a l i t y . I t i s t h e r e f o r e 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 him by h i s past, d r i v e s him mad. By co n s c i o u s l y l i v i n g the West Indian c u l t u r a l -l i n g u i s t i c s p l i t , h i s Weltanschauung, which he saw as a way of u t i l i s i n g the t o t a l i t y of the West Indian experience but which 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 p e r s o n a l i t y d i s i n t e g r a t e s . The schizophrenic s p l i t i s the dominant image i n t h i s 77 novel (as i t i s a l s o i n Other Leopards) as compared w i t h the symbolism of d r i f t w o o d i n the two previous novels. C a t u l l u s * l i n g u i s t i c s chizophrenia i s merely one m a n i f e s t a t i o n of that l a r g e r schizophrenic West Indian i n h e r i t a n c e which paralyses 25 the i n d i v i d u a l . I n Other Leopards, 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 trapped between the two halves of t h e i r i n h e r i t a n c e , unable to go forwards, backwards, or break out and l i b e r a t e the s e l f . I n a symbolic scene, C a t u l l u s comes upon a f e l l o w boarder, D u l c i e , doing a nude s e l f - p o r t r a i t . With t y p i c a l f a r s i g h t e d n e s s he q u i c k l y undresses and l i e s by her side and she p a i n t s him i n . The r e s u l t i s a p o r t r a i t of the s p l i t s e l f — two halves, two c o l o u r s . Lamming uses the symbol i n Season of Adventure. C a t u l l u s * two-way Weltanschauung f o r c e s him i n t o another e x i s t e n t i a l r o l e , t h a t of the a c t o r , when h i s contacts w i t h the white world 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 Indians he i s h i s n a t u r a l s e l f ; w i t h others, he assumes masks of 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 . In h i s f i r s t encounter w i t h a p r o s t i t u t e , "He hunched h i s shoulders and shrugged l i k e Bogart, and remembered to smile afterwards l i k e Rock Hudson" (C.K., 1 5 ) . 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 before the handker-c 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 the i m p l i c a t i o n s of 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 fantasy, an unsureness of h i m s e l f , and emotional d i s t a n c i n g . 7a C a t u l l u s 1 sexual prowess has prompted some i n c r e d i b l e comments from reviewers. He does indeed have f a n t a s t i c l u c k , but the point i s p r e c i s e l y t h a t : Only i n the sexual 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 here,though, he i s merely f u l f i l l i n g the r o l e mapped out f o r him by the Gordbn-Vennings of t h i s world: The sexual permissiveness which 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 shackles him to the o l d r a c i s t sexual myth.26 R o l e - p l a y i n g takes on i t s deepest resonances 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 * already p r e c a r i o u s grasp on l i f e . At one point i n h i s v a r i e d career, he i s h i r e d by the owner of a B i s t r o , "The Onomatopoeia" to be the Atmosphere-Man. The b i s t r o i t s e l f i s "decorated w i t h every conceivable motif-a s s o c i a t i o n of the name and sound of the word c o f f e e " (C.K., 96). The Atmosphere-Man was both coffee-machine attendant and pro-v i d e r of Atmosphere. As the l a t t e r , C a t u l l u s i s given the name *Beano*, r e q u i r e d to wear Atmosphere s h i r t s — Monday's, f o r example, was white w i t h l a r g e blue cups of s p i l l i n g expresso, r e q u i r e d to wear a blank Zombiesque look and g e n e r a l l y zombie around. The Zombie look gives C a t u l l u s the 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 part of the co f f e e - m o t i f , i n short, a t h i n g . Patrons t r e a t him as part of the scenery and t a l k r i g h t through him; he f e e l s undermined and threatened by the Atmosphere s h i r t s ; M a r t i n Selby, owner of the b i s t r o , r e f e r s to him as "my c r e a t i o n " . I n t h i s way, Salkey s k i l f u l l y and i m a g i n a t i v e l y suggests the s t a t e t o which the slav e was reduced and creates a mounting 79 sense of the s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n that threatens 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 touch w i t h r e a l i t y and l o s i n g h i s iden-t i t y ; h i s schizophrenic s p l i t becomes more pronounced w i t h the human h a l f f i g h t i n g the zombie h a l f f o r possession of C a t u l l u s . The imbalance becomes n o t i c e a b l e to two r e g u l a r s who engage C a t u l l u s i n conversation and are puzzled by the a l t e r n a t i o n i n h i s f a c i a l expression between animation and blankness: " I don't r e a l l y know how to put i t . " She paused. " H a l f and h a l f , I t h i n k . " M a r t i n was immediately 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 h a l f ? " They e x p l a i n . Martin*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 . In f a c t i t oughtn't to've been h a l f - a n d - h a l f at 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 Atmosphere-Man, and what you've been puzzled 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 very n i c e l y made. C a t u l l u s i s n ' t what he i s . One day, he makes anagrams w i t h h i s Atmosphere name, Beano. 'One B.A.», »A Bone', '0 Bane', 'Be an 0». "He was determined not t o be an 0." As he f l u c t u a t e s between being and nothingness h i s a n x i e t y mounts. The New Statesman reviewer p o i n t s out that C a t u l l u s ' angst i s Salkey's main p r e o c c u p a t i o n . 2 7 Heidegger considers a n x i e t y (Angst) to be the fundamental human mood, when the here-and-now of our existence a r i s e s before us 28 i n a l l i t s p r e c a r i o u s and porous contingency. C a t u l l u s ' r e t u r n to Jamaica only increases h i s anxiety. I n n e i t h e r environment does C a t u l l u s belong 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 reads i n p a r t , " I can't honestly say t h a t your country 80 needs you." England needs him even l e s s ; h i s s t a t u s i s that of an o u t s i d e r and he i s aware of 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 accused him of t a s t i n g the surface of London l i f e .... He coaxed himself i n t o b e l i e v i n g i n the d e l i g h t of being outside everything he touched and saw around him. He was not alone. There were m i l l i o n s of others who were a l s o outside everything. Many people were l o o k i n g on, touching and seeing at a d i s t a n c e . They owned nothing. They were r i p e f o r a l i e n a t i o n .... I t had been the same i n New York .... But he d i d not mind being outside i n America. 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 equation was more than m a r g i n a l l y d i f f e r e n t ; the margin was a chasm. (C.K., 110) The chasm that separates the black West Indian from the v i t a l core of England i s given the same urgency i n Salkey as i s given i n Jean Rhys to the chasm that separates the white West Indian from England. England has been home to both the West Indian white and the 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 of the a l i e n a t e d Englishman, but the comparison breaks down at a c e r t a i n p o i n t . Olga, the 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 at home, a component p a r t , however a l i e n a t e d , however embattled .... She wasn't unprotected" (C.K., 163) . As an o u t s i d e r he has no c l a i m on people or t h i n g s . They are u s u f r u c t s . "He searched f o r what was t r u l y h i s i n Kingston; he sensed the r i g h t and ownership of others 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). His consciousness of h i s a l i e n a t i o n , h i s f e a r of 'being an 0 ' and h i s i n c r e a s i n g severance from r e a l i t y begin t o take t h e i r t o l l on C a t u l l u s . In an e f f o r t to ground h i s e x i s t e n c e , he takes t o touching the surfaces of t h i n g s he passes — t r e e s , the 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 contact w i t h the p h y s i c a l world w i l l prevent him from s l i p p i n g i n t o the v o i d . Back i n Jamaica, he preaches about "the v i r t u e s of touching the surfaces of s o c i e t y , of l a y i n g hands on the warm bonnets of c a r s , prodding the ooze of overheated asphalt on the s t r e e t s , brushing the blades of grass on the u n i v e r s i t y campus, and f i n a l l y he gate-crashed a garden pa r t y at King's House and touched the Governor-General's w i f e on her h i p s and t h i g h s " (C.K., 195). When Erasmus hears the news of 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 the " d i a -b o l i c a l " mixture of Jamaica and England. The two worlds, Salkey seems to be saying, are too d i s p a r a t e to permit any attempt to bridge them. 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 reference to the white West Indi a n . Taken together, t h e r e f o r e , the theme of the i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y of the West I n d i e s and England breaks through the b a r r i e r s of race. These themes are r e i n f o r c e d throughout the novel by the " r o o t l e s s idiom" that Salkey employs. I t only serves to distance C a t u l l u s from the l i f e around him and deny r e a l com-munication. Any random page w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the number of one word sentences there are. The book i s f i n e l y balanced between the comic and the t r a g i c and i s both imaginative and o r i g i n a l . Salkey makes no overt appeals 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 from the reader. Because i t i s the only immigrant novel i n t h i s group that ends w i t h the protag o n i s t r e t u r n i n g , the 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. His d r i f t i n g , wandering mode of existence continues and he f i n a l l y ends h i wandering i n a mental asylum. FOOTNOTES •'•References t o t h i s book w i l l appear i n the t e x t under the c i t a t i o n , 'C.K.' 2 The Meeting Point (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1 9 6 7 ) . Subsequent references 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 *M.P.1 3The Emigrants (London: Michael Joseph, 1 9 6 4 ) . Sub-sequent references 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 the c i t a t i o n , *The Em.* *The Lonely Londoners (New York: S t . Mart i n ' s Press, 1 9 5 6 ) . Subsequent references 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 . Gerald Moore, The Chosen Tongue: E n g l i s h W r i t i n g i n the T r o p i c a l World (London: Longmans, Green and Co. L t d . , 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 41 • 7Tn a review of George Lamming*s Of Age And Innocence, New Statesman, Dec. 6 , 1 9 5 8 , p. 8 2 7 . 8 The Pleasures of E x i l e , p. 2 5 . Lamming c i t e s , as an example, the astonishment of immigrants on f i r s t seeing E n g l i s h -men doing manual labour. They simply d i d not a s s o c i a t e the two. 9 B I a c k S k i n , White Masks, p. 1 0 9 . 1 Q I r r a t i o n a l Man, p. 180. llrThe Chosen Tongue, p. 1 0 2 . 1 2 I b i d . , p. 1 0 4 . 1 3G.R. Coulthard, Race and Colour i n Caribbean L i t e r a -t u r e (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1 9 6 2 ) , p. 111 . 1 Z f I n h i s review, New Statesman, Dec. 2 9 , 1 9 5 6 , p.846. 15 ^Race and Colour i n Caribbean L i t e r a t u r e , p. 1 11 . 83 84 l6W.H. New, "The Novel i n E n g l i s h . " Canadian L i t e r a -t u r e , 41 (19.69),. p. 125- , 1 7 L l o y d Brown, "The West I n d i a n Novel i n North America: 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. 18 • The S u r v i v o r s o f the C r o s s i n g (Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1964), p. 96. "^Anthony B o x h i l l , r ev. of the n o v e l s o f A u s t i n C l a r k e , The F i d d l e h e a d , 75 ( S p r i n g , 1968), p. 71. 2 Q I b i d . , p. 71. 21 In the c o l l e c t i o n of sh o r t s t o r i e s , When he was f r e e  and young and he used t o wear s i l k s (Toronto: Anansi, 1971), p. 51. pp "The West I n d i a n Novel i n North America," p. 96. 23 " T h i s i s the t i t l e o f a review a r t i c l e "The Novel as S o c i o l o g y as Bore," John Hearne, Caribbean Q u a r t e r l y , 18,4 (Dec. 1972), p. 7o. Hearne c r i t i c i z e s Orlando P a t t e r s o n ' s Die The Long Day (New York: W i l l i a m Morrow and Co. Inc., 1972). as a " c o l l e c t i o n of s o c i o l o g i s t ' s notes put i n t o the mouths and a c t i o n s of imaginary c h a r a c t e r s . " 2 % L a c k S k i n , White Masks, pp. 77-78. 25 Dennis W i l l i a m s , London: New Authors L t d . , No.8, 1963. P f. " I n Between," rev., Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, 20 March, 1969, p. 192. 2 7 " F a t h o m l e s s Moments," r e v . by David Haworth, 14 Feb. 1969, p. 230. 2 ^ I r r a t i o n a l Man, p. 197. CHAPTER IV THE AFRO/ASI AN/EUROPEAN SEARCH FOR ORIGINS The West I n d i a n s modern Afro/Asian/European journey-back to the a n c e s t r a l homeland i n search of the past ( h i s o r i g i n s ) , t h a t w i l l provide the key to h i s present 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 the most f i n a l journey t h a t can be made. F a i l u r e t o f i n d one's place i n the 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 completing the c i r c l e of the middle pas-sage, r e t r a c i n g the steps of one's ancestors t o a r e a l i t y that has become b l u r r e d and obscured by time and ignorance. For those whose ancestors l e f t u n w i l l i n g l y i t may represent the safe womb from which they have been e x p e l l e d . I t may have been p a r t l y mythologised and i d e a l i s e d as home; i t may have been shrouded i n darkness; i t may have been desecrated; but i t i s s t i l l f e l t to hold the secret of one's p e r s o n a l i t y and to promise an end to the long e x i l e . N a i p a u l , of East I n d i a n descent, Jean Rhys, E n g l i s h , and Dennis W i l l i a m s , of A f r i c a n descent, are among the West Indians who have attempted t o bridge the middle passage. N a i -paul 's An Area of Darkness 1 i s o s t e n s i b l y an account of h i s p year i n I n d i a ; i n W i l l i a m s ' Other Leopards, the..hero, Froad, founders i n h i s attempt t o come to terms w i t h h i m s e l f , A f r i c a and the past; and Voyage I n The Dark^ and Wide Sargasso S e a 4 85 86 by Jean Rhys together create a composite p i c t u r e of the chasm that e x i s t s between the white West Indian and England, the 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 i n t o 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 worlds and times -- past and present; a l l f o u r move towards a common end, the f a i l u r e of the West Indian to e s t a b l i s h a meaningful connection w i t h the a n c e s t r a l world and the haunting i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y of t h i s world. The common symbolic s t r e s s e s i n the books emphasize the authors* concerns w i t h t h e i r characters whose l i v e s have been broken i n two by the c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the past. (For the sake of convenience, Naipaul w i l l be r e f e r r e d to as a charac-t e r ) . The s t r e s s on darkness, obvious enough i n the mere t i t l e s Voyage I n The Dark and Area of Darkness conveys an idea of the i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y of these worlds. W i l l i a m s * s t r e s s on •whole* and * h a l f * and Naipaul*s on *whole* r e f l e c t the ch a r a c t e r s * need to remain (Naipaul) or become (Williams) whole, and p r o t e c t themselves from the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the s e l f . S i g n i f i c a n t use i s made of the image of r e b i r t h to suggest the aborted attempt t o be born again. In Voyage I n The  Dark, Anna, who has j u s t come from the West I n d i e s , d escribes her sensations on being i n England. I t was "almost l i k e being born again" (Voyage, 7 ) . But the hope and promise i m p l i e d i n t h i s image i s savaged at the end when she d r i f t s i n t o a l i f e of 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 begins the book i s soured i n t o an image of death. In Other  Leopards, Froad*s c r i s i s of i d e n t i t y reduces 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 connection w i t h t h i s . I n the 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 . Gerald Moore i n t e r p r e t s i t as "undisguised imagery of anal r e - e n t r y t o the womb of i n f a n c y , which, added to the image of sexual withdrawal, vomit and u r i n a t i o n that has preceded i t , marks the completion of Froad fs withdrawal from m a t u r i t y . " ^ His i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s born out at the end of the n o v e l . Froad has stabbed h i s white s u p e r i o r and runs i n t o the bush to h i d e . I n a b i z a r r e scene, he b u r i e s h i s vomit-covered 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. F i n a l l y , he climbs up a t r e e . Moore sees t h i s as "a r e t r e a t t o the embryo."^ Naipaul's v i s i t to I n d i a ends i n a k i n d of death. One of h i s c l o s i n g comments i s , " I t was a journey that ought not t o have been made; i t had broken my l i f e i n two" (Area, 2 6 5 ) . The s i t u a t i o n s of the characters are 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 than the groups of novels p r e v i o u s l y discussed, f o r they are making a conscious attempt to bridge the g u l f between two worlds, i n v o l v i n g the danger of being f o r e v e r suspended between them. This i s , i n f a c t , the p o s i t i o n of Rhys 1 heroines and W i l l i a m s • hero at the end: Froad up a t r e e , h i s p h y s i c a l being 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 at sea, having l o s t t h e i r way somewhere on the journey, unable to get ashore. I t i s a testimony to the oneness of the experience these w r i t e r s record, that they a r r i v e at a common co n c l u s i o n 88 d e s p i t e the 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 point should a l s o be made that the a b o r t i v e quest f o r o r i g i n s i s given a u n i v e r s a l dimension. The white West Indian's r e -l a t i o n to England i s o s t e n s i b l y the l e a s t problematic. 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 him i n touch w i t h the f a m i l i a r . I t i s a h e r i t a g e of which he has never been made to f e e l ashamed. And he has probably been most able t o maintain 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 Indian has r e t a i n e d h i s r a c i a l p r i d e and maintained 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 is recent a r r i v a l i n the West I n d i e s has probably 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 Africa,may have represented home to him. Lamming analyses the West Indian's f e a r and misgivings on approaching A f r i c a : H is r e l a t i o n t o that continent i s more personal and more problematic ... he has not ... been i n t r o -duced to i t through h i s t o r y .... He knows i t through 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 of tha t continent as a world beyond human i n t e r v e n t i o n . ' With the new r a c i a l consciousness, one f i n d s that novels set i n A f r i c a by West Indians who have never been to A f r i c a are 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 the s i m i l a r i t y of experiences be-tween h i s hero, Adam Questus i n The Scholar Man, and Froad. Both become estranged from A f r i c a , as opposed to the i d e a l i z e d p i c t u r e of A f r i c a t h a t one gets i n V i c Reid's The Leopard. 8  Other Leopards probes the dilemma of a West Indian negro, Froad, who attempts to re s o l v e the c o n f l i c t of h i s dual 89 Afro-European h e r i t a g e and of h i s two s e l v e s , symbolized by h i s two names, L i o n e l and Lobo, i n a newly-independent A f r i c a n State which i s as i n t e r n a l l y r i v e n as he. L i o n e l i s an archeo-l o g i c a l draughtsman. I n h i s d e s i r e to r e a l i s e h i s A f r i c a n s e l f , he f l u c t u a t e s between commitment and 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 claims made on him and the d i f f e r e n t r o l e s imposed on him. He has n e i t h e r the inner reserves to r e s i s t these claims nor the s t r e n g t h t o create h i s own i d e n t i t y . In t h i s s t a t e of v a c i l l a -t i o n , or r a t h e r of c r e a t i v e p a r a l y s i s and impotence, belonging to n e i t h e r the A f r i c a n nor European world, h e s i t a t i n g between two women, Catherine, who i s Welsh, and Eve, who i s black and •elemental*, he becomes s u s c e p t i b l e to the pressures a p p l i e d by Hughie, h i s white s u p e r i o r who hammers i n t o him h i s A f r i c a n l a c k of a sense of time, of h i s t o r y and of the past. T h e i r q u a r r e l centres around an important a r c h e o l o g i c a l s i t e at Meroe whose o r i g i n i s debated. Hughie challenges him to prove that i t i s A f r i c a n . L i o n e l i s goaded i n t o the quest and becomes i n t i m a t e l y i n v o l v e d . I n the pyramid of the Queen, Amanashikete, he hopes to f i n d something i n the A f r i c a n past t h a t he can 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 own. Instead, the towering 2,000 year o l d statue of the Queen who was undoubtedly A f r i c a n , proves to be an embodiment of c r u e l t y , hate and grossness, and a m i r r o r image of h i s own emptiness. There are p r i s o n e r s t i e d to her l e f t hand and w i t h her r i g h t she i s f l o g g i n g s l a v e s , "She was a spreading desert ... 90 I wished f o r the words to a s s a u l t those stone ears w i t h some c l a i m of my very own, mine, me! But time passed, wind blew, sand s e t t l e d , gloom deepened, and I could t h i n k of nothing; nothing at a l l " (O.L., 155). H i s t o r i c a l knowledge b r i n g s no r e -o -l e a s e , and the past having f a i l e d him, Froad fragments n i g h t -marl s h l y . The e n t i r e novel i s s t r u c t u r e d around tensions, and by u s i n g t h i s device, 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 Froad*s e s s e n t i a l p o s i t i o n , that of a man always caught between opposing f o r c e s . His name, Froad, has overtones of Fraud, of i n n e r hollowness. His two f i r s t names, L i o n e l and Lobo, are an i n d i c a -t i o n of h i s s p l i t s e l f , both names, l i k e h i s dual h e r i t a g e , p u l l i n g him apart. L i o n e l i s the name he was c h r i s t e n e d w i t h and represents the European side of him; Lobo, the name h i s s i s -t e r used t o c a l l him, suggests h i s A f r i c a n ancestry. I am a man, you see, plagued by these 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 , the who I was, d e a l i n g w i t h Lobo, the 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 along, ever since 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 of a n c e s t r a l times t h a t I was sure q u i e t l y slumbered behind the 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 being and becoming can be defined as consciousness; Froad*s consciousness i s both h i s b l e s s i n g and h i s curse. The reviewer i n Black Orpheus d e s c r i b e s the novel as "a moving, though tormenting a n a l y s i s of a man who cannot solve 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 every step, c a l c u l a t e s every utterance, analyses 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 and does not a l l o w h i m s e l f to simply l i v e and l e t h i s i d e n t i t y take care of i t s e l f . " 1 0 This extreme conscious-ness of s e l f a f f e c t s the very language of the book. I t never f l o w s . " I t j e r k s , q u i v e r s , v i b r a t e s nervously a l o n g . " 1 1 As L i o n e l r e a l i s e s , the step from L i o n e l to Lobo i m p l i e s commitment; i t i n v o l v e s grounding h i s e x i s t e n c e . He d e s c r i b e s h i s p o s i t i o n at the beginning as t h a t of "The Uncommitted A f r i c a n " , " t h a t not enviable s t a t e of being, the 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 " (O.L.,20). Froad's p a r a l y -s i s stems from h i s middle-of-the road p o s i t i o n . He both f e a r s and d e s i r e s involvements and a l l e g i a n c e s . His 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 r e l i g i o u s i n d i f f e r e n c e make him the t a r g e t of r i v a l c l a ims, each of which sees him as a symbol. Of those who pressure him out of h i s passive s t a t e of i n e r t i a and uncommittedness, Hughie i s the most d e s t r u c t i v e because he f o r c e s him to confront h i s past. His aim i s to determine whether the M e r o i t i c c i v i l i z a t i o n was A f r i c a n , and i f so, what prevented i t from c r e a t i n g a powerful c u l t u r e . The only 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 nine-teenth century European s c h o l a r c a l l e d Lespius, and Hughie sees Froad's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as two-fold, f i r s t , to s e t t l e the ques-t i o n of o r i g i n , and secondly, to become the a u t h o r i t y on the s u b j e c t . Froad r e p o r t s t h e i r one-way conversation: ...... h i s carry-on 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 to race and region (which was sacred and o b l i g a t o r y i n face of e v e r y t h i n g ) , as w e l l as h i s general r e s p o n s i b i l i t y (to himself) to take possession of some b i t of the f u t u r e f o r the sake of the f u t u r e ,1 can't t h i n k of anyone more capable than your-s e l f ... knowledge of Greco-Roman, Egypto-Roman forms ... A f r i c a n background i n t o the bargain, you see. T h i s business of 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 the l i f e - f o r c e i n M e r o i t i c Art ... debunking o l d Lespius you've got s t u f f t o l i v e on there f o r years. (O.L., 105-107) But Froad i s incapable of l i v i n g i n the past or f u t u r e . He l i v e s only i n i n s t a n t s and t r a f f i c s only w i t h the immediate. He has no d e s i r e to take possession of the f u t u r e f o r the sake of the f u t u r e , and here i s where h i s mind and Hughie*s c l a s h . Hughie has a sense of the past wh i l e Froad does not because he has not had a past. Coming across a drawing of Queen Amanishakete i n Lespius, Froad i s at once struck by i t s remarkable s i m i l a r i t y t o Eve, the A f r i c a n g i r l . I t captures h i s imagination and when he sees the statue of the Queen i n the M e r o i t i c museum, " I knew that t h i s image of Eve, t h i s p e r s i s t e n t female, would never leave me as long as I l i v e d " (O.L., 134-135). But merely f e e l i n g i t i n h i s bones i s not enough f o r Hughie who deals w i t h f a c t s and evidence, 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 him to prove the A f r i c a n o r i g i n of the Queen^ to prove her existence and hence, h i s own exi 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 to prove t h a t , I know i t ...." "But you*ve got t o prove i t , my dear man . ..." (O.L., 135) I n t h i s way Froad*s f a t e becomes bound up w i t h the A f r i c a n past; he i s f o r c e d t o step out of h i s i n s t a n t s and l i v e i n the wider c i r c l e of time — past, present and f u t u r e . Froad i s a l s o sought by both the 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 the value of h i s propa-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 of A f r i c a n n a t i o n a l i s m and wants Froad, "as a Western Negro", "a f o r e i g n e r " , and "a man of c o l o u r " to 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, of r a c i a l adaptation: j u s t what we foresee f o r the Southerners out here; your people having evolved 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 of  freedom, Mr. Froad, t h a t ' s what's important to us. You see why no one e l s e but you can help? A f r i c a n s , as I've s a i d , worship p e r s o n a l i t i e s ; they need such a model. With your help we plan to s e l l them the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of environment; you know, l i k e your own people have understood i t among Europeans the l a s t three hundred years. (O.L., 57) Leaving aside the obvious i r o n i e s of t h i s piece, i t i s worth no t i n g t h a t Mohammed sees Froad as a model and sees h i s poten-t i a l as a symbol, which 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 c u l t i s based on. S i m i l a r l y , the C h r i s t i a n s want him t o w r i t e a r t i c l e s f o r them and get the C h r i s t i a n message across. The Ch i e f ex-p l a i n s to the Bishop, "he i s the only uncommitted person ... 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 " (O.L., 64). These two claims add new dimensions to h i s r e l a t i o n to the past. Both groups want him to s e l l out on the A f r i c a n s . He i s d i r e c t l y confronted w i t h another aspect of h i s A f r i c a n past, the f a c t of sl a v e r y , and i s faced w i t h the same choice h i s ancestor faced. Froad, whom the C h r i s t i a n s and Muslims see as a sym-b o l , i s more of a symbol than they r e a l i s e . The d i v i s i o n i n h i s s e l f i s mirrored i n the brokenness of h i s environment. There are very few cha r a c t e r s i n the novel who can boast as does the A f r i c a n he meets at a Press Conference, " I am the 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 . I've never been s o l d , never been a s l a v e . I've got 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! 1* (O.L., 74). Froad, d e t r i b a l i z e d and c l e f t , can only remain s i l e n t at t h i s d e c l a r a t i o n of wholeness. Eve s c o f f s at h i s t a l k about being A f r i c a n . " A l l t h i s f u s s about being A f r i c a n only because you're r e a l l y white .... You come to me h a l f man" (O.L., 175). His desperate wish to be-long and h i s search f o r an A f r i c a n past he can cla i m , are undermined by h i s f e e l i n g of a l i e n a t i o n and that s e l f c o n s c i o u s -ness that c h a r a c t e r i s e s e v e r y t h i n g he does. An A f r i c a n p l a y i n g on a p r i m i t i v e instrument l o o k s at him and Froad immediately assumes t h a t the man can see i n t o him: I t must have been t h i s he recognized, the mark of the s l a v e , the e x p a t r i a t e A f r i c a n , the d i s t o r t e d blue-copy, the misplaced person, the sham. He was c o i l i n g a l l around me l i k e a man-eating snake ... de a l i n g w i t h the a l i e n i n me, the fake 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 , the slave-brand. (O.L., 178) But the A f r i c a n s are 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 of our mothers' l e g s by Crescent, by Cross." And the f i c t i t i o u s s e t t i n g of the novel , Jokhara, i s an o b j e c t i v e c o r e l a t i v e of the broken, c l e f t , nature of a l l the charact e r s . I t i s i n the Sudanic b e l t of A f r i c a , "Not q u i t e sub-Sahara, but then not q u i t e desert; not E q u a t o r i a l b l a c k , not Mediter-ranean white. Mulatto. Sudanic mulatto ... Ochre, Semi-scrub. Not desert, not sown" (O.L., 19). The desert becomes the key symbol of the West Indian c o n d i t i o n . I t i s the d i v i d i n g l i n e between Europe and A f r i c a , belonging t o n e i t h e r , a k i n d of mulatto caught between two 95 opposing t r a d i t i o n s and peoples, p e r p e t u a l l y l o o k i n g both ways. I t stands there, empty and a r i d . The symbolism of the novel 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 , halves, c i r c l e s and wholeness, u n d e r l y i n g Froad ?s s t r i v i n g s t o be made whole. E a r l y i n the novel , almost a l l these words occur i n a short d e s c r i p t i o n of a woman c l e a r i n g away the b o t t l e s l e f t by the 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 sets up the motif: And Becks beer, too, drunk where they had sat i n a c i r c l e . . . . She broke the c i r c l e one by one .... Back i n the centre she broke the c i r c l e once again, backed through the backs of c i r c l e d men .... Then the room was s p l i t : h a l f against the w a l l , h a l f h a l f ( s i c ) c i r c l e d . She gathered the g l a s s e s , broke the c i r c l e one by one.... She c i r c l e d the t a b l e dry and backed i t out.... I broke the c i r c l e of rubber bedded i n beneath the l i d . (O.L., 28-29) Catherine, d e s c r i b i n g how she would draw Froad's por-t r a i t , says, " I ' d simply draw a ra t h e r t h i c k , p e r f e c t l y round, c i r c l e — one col o u r — w i t h a t i n y gap l e f t i n the circumfer-ence to b r i n g time i n t o the t h i n g ; i n t e r n a l time, e x t e r n a l time" (O.L., 133). The hollow i n the centre i s , of course, occupied by Froad (Fraud). Hughie, by f o r c i n g the quest on him, smashes h i s c i r c l e and plunges him i n t o i n t e r n a l and e x t e r n a l time, so that when he confronts the c r u e l statue and d i s c o v e r s that there was "no Mother of Time" only " v e s s e l s ; whole or broken, f u l l or empty" he confronts 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 statue, and when Hughie begins to preach at him again, "Ideas are simply wasted on people l i k e you ..... You won't ever 96 cease to be d r i v e n " he stabs Hughie and f l e e s . "Lonely Froad on t r i a l i n a desert f o r e s t . " The desert i s a f i t t i n g place f o r h i s t r i a l f o r i t i s both around and w i t h i n him. I t c a l l s to mind the imaginary a r t i c l e he had planned t o w r i t e f o r Mohammed e n t i t l e d , "A Eunuch i n the Desert", the g i s t of which would read, "The man was an A f r i c a n ... and he was a Eunuch" (O.L., 88). To W i l l i a m s , the desert i s profoundly expressive of the West Indian c o n d i t i o n . I t i s an uncreating d i v i d e , an embodiment of s p i r i t u a l drouth, a s t a t i c and intermediate c o n d i t i o n from which there i s no apparent escape. Between Europe and A f r i c a there i s t h i s desert. How f i t t i n g ! Between the white and the black t h i s mulatto d i v i d e . You cannot cross i t , whoever you are, and remain the same. You change. You become, i n a way, y o u r s e l f mulatto -- l o o k i n g both ways. (O.L., 209) Froad*s p l i g h t i s resolved by the a n n i h i l a t i o n of h i s p h y s i c a l being. A f t e r he removes a l l t r a c e s of h i m s e l f by burying h i s c l o t h e s , covering h i s t r a c k s , i n s u l a t i n g h i m s e l f w i t h c l a y and ensuring t h a t he casts no shadows, he climbs up a t r e e . "Now having removed my body and the l a s t t r a c e s of i t , I am without a context c l e a r . Going up t h i s t r e e ... I am i n a darkness, nowhere at a l l , I am nothing, nowhere. This i s something gained" (O.L., 221) . The c o n t r a d i c t i o n at the end i s p u z z l i n g . Froad reduces h i m s e l f to nothing, the quest f o r mere being i s reduced to an i n t e l l e c t u a l context f o r n e i t h e r 13 world can accommodate him, J yet t h i s negative s t a t e i s viewed as a p o s i t i v e achievement. Kenneth places h i s f i n g e r on the heart of the matter 97 when he says: By the end of Other Leopards the need e i t h e r f o r r o o t s or f o r s p i r i t u a l transcendence has been con-c r e t e l y e s t a b l i s h e d , but the c e n t r a l c h aracter has achieved n e i t h e r .... The a g i t a t e d sentences act out the obsessive nature of Froad's d e s i r e f o r es-cape and a n n i h i l a t i o n , but the negative s a t i s f a c -t i o n of o u t w i t t i n g Hughie makes i t impossible f o r us to imagine t h a t the climax represents a s p i r i t u a l or p h i l o s o p h i c a l triumph.1**" Not only i s Froad denied mere p h y s i c a l being, but he i s denied a place i n e i t h e r world (he i s up a tree) and i s d r i v e n i n t o h i m s e l f . The end makes sense only i n the l i g h t of what we have known Froad to be throughout the novel -- a shattered man who i s at 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 of An Area of Darkness to t h i s study i s th a t i t i s a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l , a personal statement of the theme of p l a c e l e s s n e s s which runs through t h i s author's work, and a co n f i r m a t i o n of h i s view of the West Indian as a r o o t l e s s i n d i -v i d u a l whose h i s t o r y i s a h i s t o r y of nothingness. "Naipaul sees the whole of West Indian h i s t o r y as a huge h i a t u s , a gap i n time,bounded at e i t h e r end by the middle passage .... The whole of the West Indian experience has been a long journey, i n time and i n space, and a p o i n t l e s s one." 1^ In The Middle Passage, a man whom he meets as he t r a v e l s through Surinam, symbolizes 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 middle passage — 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 an u n r e a l landscape, from which there i s no escape. The Indian community that he w r i t e s about seems, i n p a r t i c u l a r , to have never a r r i v e d ; i t i s as i f i t i s suspended i n a perpetual journey between the con-t i n e n t s . 1 ^ 9 8 In h i s l a t e r novels, as the scene s h i f t s from the r e g i o n a l t o the u n i v e r s a l , embracing the two continents i n I n A Free S t a t e , 1 7 i t becomes obvious that p l a c e l e s s n e s s i n Naipaul i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of 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, the a b s u r d i t y of 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 Naipaul e n t i t l e d "Without A Place," Ian Hamilton, commenting on In A Free S t a t e , remarked: I f e e l t h a t the book o f f e r s a much grander, much more t o t a l , v i s i o n of p l a c e l e s s n e s s , than you*ve o f f e r e d before. There i s h a r d l y a n a t i o n t h a t i s not represented somewhere: there are Indians, A f r i c a n s , Americans, but there are a l s o Danes, Germans, Chinese, Swedes and so on and they are a l l of them on the move, they are a l l uprooted, " i n a f r e e s t a t e " . In other words, the predicament, the l o s t n e s s , i s one we a l l share 9 To which Naipaul r e p l i e d , " A b s o l u t e l y . You see, one of the t h i n g s t h a t s t r u c k me, i s t h a t ... even when people make the most f a n t a s t i c assumptions about t h e i r place i n the world, they s t i l l have these enormous personal problems." 2 0 Naipaul*s world i s one of homeless, nomadic men; he becomes one such i n An Area of Darkness. His p a t h o l o g i c a l f e a r of T r i n i d a d , h i s intense consciousness there of being an a l i e n , and h i s a n t i p a t h y to so many aspects of West Indian l i f e , made i t impossible f o r him t o regard i t as home. When he went to London at the age of eighteen, i t seemed t h a t he had at l a s t found h i s p l a c e , h i s centre. He was at l e a s t given the k i n d of r e c o g n i t i o n he would not have been accorded i n T r i n i d a d , "a 99 place where the s t o r i e s were never s t o r i e s of success but of f a i l u r e ... where a r e c u r r i n g word of abuse was •conceited*, an expression of the resentment f e l t of anyone who possessed unusual s k i l l s . Such s k i l l s were not re q u i r e d by a s o c i e t y which produced nothing, never had to prove i t s worth, and was never c a l l e d upon to be e f f i c i e n t .... Generosity — the ad-m i r a t i o n of equal f o r equal ... was a q u a l i t y I knew only from books and found only i n E n g l a n d . " 2 1 But England does not provide Naipaul w i t h h i s niche. "London i s my metropolitan centre, i t i s my commercial centre, and yet I know that i t i s a kin d of limbo and th a t I am a refugee i n the sense t h a t I am always p e r i p h e r a l . " 2 2 One r e c a l l s the powerful f i g u r e of the p e r i p h e r a l , unaccommodated man i n Naipaul's f i c t i o n . He goes i n t o the subject of 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 Area of- Darkness where i t i s worth quoting i n f u l l : I had come to London. I t had become the centre of my world and I had worked hard t o come to i t . And I was l o s t . London was not the centre of my world. I had been misled; but there was nowhere e l s e t o go. I t was a good place f o r g e t t i n g l o s t i n .... Here I became no more than an i n h a b i t a n t of a b i g c i t y , robbed of l o y a l t i e s , time passing, t a k i n g me away from what I was, throwing me more and more i n t o my-s e l f , f i g h t i n g to keep my balance and to keep a l i v e the thought of the c l e a r world beyond the b r i c k and asphalt ... a l l m y t h i c a l lands faded, and i n the b i g c i t y I was confined to a sm a l l e r world than I had ever known. I became my f l a t , my desk, my name. (Area, 42) The reference t o 'mythical lands' i s t o I n d i a , h o l d i n g out the 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 pla c e . From an e a r l y a r t i c l e he wrote i n 1958, i t i s c l e a r that he hoped to e x o r c i s e h i s sense of plac e l e s s n e s s by going 100 t o 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 w i t h 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 to give h i s l i f e meaning. "My disappointment w i t h the th e a t r e symbolizes the barrenness of my l i f e i n London,.... Unless I am able to r e -f r e s h myself by t r a v e l — to T r i n i d a d , to I n d i a — I f e a r that l i v i n g here w i l l e v e n t u a l l y l e a d to my own s t e r i l i t y ; and I may have to look f o r another j o b . " 2 ^ He was able t o v i s i t I n d i a roughly f o u r years a f t e r making t h i s statement. The New Statesman reviewer suggests: ... he went t o I n d i a t o d i s c o v e r the r e a l i t y t h a t l a y behind the dying hearsay of h i s f a m i l y . Root-l e s s , he hoped — as many a returned emigre does — to f i n d a l o s t s e l f . Perhaps h i s own melancholy sense of negation - - n o t i c e a b l e i n h i s novels --would be exorcised.^4-His 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 . I n order to 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 understand the unique r e l a t i o n s h i p he had w i t h I n d i a . I t was the country from which h i s Brahmin grand-f a t h e r had come and had never f o r g o t t e n . The orthodox Hindu f a m i l y abounding w i t h pundits had r e t a i n e d many f e a t u r e s of Indi a n l i f e ; f o r the o l d e r generation, those who were d i r e c t l y from I n d i a or the f i r s t generation born 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 Naipaul 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, i t s r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l and i t s taboos. I n d i a had i n a s p e c i a l way been the background of my childhood. I t was a country from which my grand-f a t h e r came, a country never p h y s i c a l l y described and t h e r e f o r e never r e a l .... I t was a country sus-pended i n time I t remained a s p e c i a l , i s o l a t e d area of ground. (Area,27) 101 To me as a child 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 light was the area of my experience, in time and place. (Area, 30) India had acquired the status of myth. Its outlines were blurred in darkness, but i t was a comforting presence that counteracted the alienness they f e l t in Trinidad: For in the India of my childhood, the land which in my imagination was an extension, separate from the alienness by which we ourselves were surrounded, of ray grandmotherfs house, there was no alien presence. (Area, 187) India not only counteracted the alienness they f e l t , but i t embodies wholeness in their imagination: Into this alienness we daily ventured, and at length we were absorbed into i t . But we knew there had been change, gain, loss. We knew that something which was once whole and had been washed away. What was whole was the idea of India. (Area, 187-But the real India that Naipaul v i s i t s , proves to be i t s e l f alien and threatens his own wholeness. He i s struck again and again by the stunted specimens of humanity that he sees around him; their wasted bodies suggesting an evolution downwards triggers his instinct for self-preservation and wholeness: The physique of Europe had melted away f i r s t into that of Africa 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 brutality 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 in India." 102 His second i l l u s i o n , about I n d i a being •home* i n the a l i e n n e s s of I n d i a i s exposed when he can f i n d nothing 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 myself 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 myself f o r these, but i n i t s very extremes, the country was a l i e n .... The landscape was harsh and wrong. I could not r e l a t e i t to myself.... In a l l the s t r i k i n g d e t a i l of I n d i a there was nothing which I could l i n k w i t h my own experience of I n d i a i n ... T r i n i d a d . (Area, 140-141) The myth and the r e a l i t y never meet. I n d i a remains inacces-s i b l e . I n the epigram t o the f i r s t chapter, Naipaul had quoted from Darwin. The chapter i t s e l f i s e n t i t l e d "A Resting-Place For The Imagination". The epigram goes: These Antipodes c a l l to one's mind o l d r e c o l l e c -t i o n s of c h i l d i s h wonder. Only the other day I looked forward 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 our journey homewards; but 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 the imagination, are l i k e shadows, which a man moving onwards can-not catch. -Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle The p a r a l l e l i s apt. 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 imagination, a mythical l a n d , proves t o be as e l u s i v e as a shadow: w i t h him, w i t h i n him and around him but never f u l l y grasped. For the heroines of Jean Rhys, the England w i t h which they have been acquainted i n t h e i r imagination becomes a meta-p h o r i c a l w a l l that e i t h e r l o c k s them out or threatens t o crush them (Voyage I n The Dark), or imprisons them (Wide Sargasso Sea). N a i p a u l 1 s i n a b i l i t y to come t o terms w i t h h i s three worlds, 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 confirms h i s p o s i t i o n as a deracine'. He has explored t h i s a r t i s t i c a l l y i n h i s novels as w e l l . David Ormerod i n t e r p r e t s Biswas 1 f r u s t r a t e d 103 attempts to b u i l d his own house as the i n a b i l i t y of the a r t i s t to come to terms with his own society, the house as an arte-f a c t being the attempt to t r a n s l a t e into concrete, tangible form, the creative impulse. 2^ There i s a basic s i m i l a r i t y between the things Naipaul deplores i n West Indian and Indian society that sug-gests the violence of h i s r e j e c t i o n of both places. I t i s as i f he sees a l l the West Indian f u t i l i t y and nothingness magni-f i e d on a gigantic scale i n India. While the West Indian has no history, the Indian has no sense of history — t h i s explains why India has always been dominated by foreign conquerors: she never learns the lessons of h i s t o r y . And while the West Indies created nothing, creation i n India "hints at the imminence of interruption and destruction" (Area, 205). After a year i n India, from Bombay to Kashmir where he spends some months and seems most l i k e l y to send down roots, f i n a l l y h i s v i s i t to h i s ancestral v i l l a g e i n Uttar Pradesh, Naipaul comes nowhere nearer to f u l f i l l m e n t . His e x i l e i s now a permanent one f o r there i s nowhere else to go. India remains outside of his experience, " c l o s i n g up again, as fa s t as I withdrew from i t , i n t o a land of myth .... In a year I had not learned acceptance. I had learned my separateness from India, and was content to be a c o l o n i a l , without a past, without an-cestors" (Area, 250). Very much the Brahmin i n h i s s e n s i b i l i -t i e s , he severs himself from what was and i s an extension of himself. His r e j e c t i o n of India i s tinged with a certain d e l i b e r -ateness and one needs to ask why. His ambivalent fe e l i n g s f o r 104 India, evident i n his violent 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 his v i s i t to the v i l l a g e ) and acceptance (which makes the Kashmir section so enjoyable), create the central tension of the book. "From the beginning of his t r a -vels he experienced the tension between belonging and not be-longing, 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 ^ He w i l l not surrender to India; when he does surrender to Aziz and the other employees at the Liward Hotel (Flush System), h i s agonizing uncertainty of 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 the journey through India i s i n a very r e a l sense a journey into himself. As his v i s i t confirms, he has been shaped to an incal c u l a b l e extent by Indian attitudes and philosophies. The India of An Area of  Darkness i s within N a i p a u l , 2 7 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 that area which was to me the area of darkness, something of darkness remains, i n those a t t i -tudes, those ways of thinking and seeing, which are no longer mine" (Area, 3 0 ) . While that darkness was within him, i t was a part of the s e l f , a part of the c o l l e c t i v e memory that he had to consciously and p a i n f u l l y exorcise. The area of darkness, l i k e the desert i n Other Leopards, i s both within and around him, and much of h i s seeming callousness and withdrawal i s the re s u l t of de l i b e r a t e l y looking at an Eastern world with Western Eyes. His admiration f o r Ghandi i s based, to a large extent, on the l a t t e r ^ s i m i l a r c o l o n i a l v i s i o n . 105 Exactly what are the areas of darkness that Naipaul had to illumine? In the f i r s t place, India opened his eyes to that dark side of his s e l f which held that every man i s an i s l a n d . In h i s 1958 a r t i c l e he wrote: But a f t e r eight years here I f i n d that I have, without e f f o r t , achieved the Buddhist i d e a l of non-attachment. I am never disturbed by national or international issues. I do not sign p e t i t i o n s . I do not vote. I do not march. And I never cease to f e e l that t h i s lack of interest i s a l l - wrong. I want to be involved, 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 seeing t h i s attitude mag-n i f i e d m i l l i o n s of times. The vehemence with which he condemns the Indian withdrawal and denial, the c o l l e c t i v e blindness, and the disregard f o r r e a l i t y founded on a philosophy that l i f e i s an i l l u s i o n , arises from the recognition that these attitudes were once h i s . India almost succeeds i n adding i t s negation to hi s : I t was only now, as my experience of India defined i t s e l f more properly against my own homelessness, that I saw how close i n the past year I had been to the t o t a l Indian negation, how much i t had be-come the basis of my thought and f e e l i n g . (Area, 266) I t explains why so much of h i s contact with India i s tinged with fear, why he constantly alternates between a l i e n a t i o n and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , why he i s often on the brink of f u l l commu-nion but turns away at the l a s t moment, wanting but a f r a i d to face the unknown. He fears that by immersing himself i n the destructive element he may himself be destroyed. Int e r e s t i n g l y enough, he i s overcome by fear when he v i s i t s both Trinidad and India. As the ship neared Trinidad, 106 which he v i s i t e d i n I960, "I began to f e e l a l l my old fear of Trinidad. I did not want to stay. I had l e f t the security of the ship and had no assurance that I would ever leave the i s l a n d again." 29 His fear i s of being possessed by the land-scape and imprisoned, of not being able to leave a f t e r he has escaped.30 His fear of India becomes almost a phobia when he becomes part of the Indian crowd f o r the f i r s t time. So great i s h i s i n s t i n c t f o r self-preservation that he buys dark-glasses i n order to impose himself and establish h i s separateness. His horror of the Indian reductive tendency and the Indian form-lessness i s obvious i n A House For Mr. Biswas. As the year draws to i t s close, and with i t h i s hope of f i n d i n g "what i t i s that connects him ... with t h i s sprawling, 31 defecating, inchoate India of today,"^ Naipaul makes a l a s t attempt to claim India. The V i l l a g e of the Dubes i s his strong-est l i n k with India; i t i s the v i l l a g e from which h i s grand-father had come. He goes i n a mixed frame of mind, more a f r a i d than anything else. He s t e e l s himself, and i n a brutal scene where there i s a t o t a l breakdown i n communication, Naipaul re-linquishes h i s l a s t hold on India. His r e j e c t i o n i s as deliberate as when he makes a pilgrimage to the Cave of Amarnath, made holy by the symbol of Lord Shiva that supposedly appears i n the form of an ice phallus, and turns away a f t e r reaching the mouth of the cave. As a boy he had had no taste f o r Hindu r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l so that side of India was closed to him. But the joy of the returning pilgrims 107 i s not f o r him. " I wished I was of t h e i r s p i r i t . I wished t h a t something of t h e i r joy awaited me at the end" (Area, 1 6 7 ) . A f t e r the two-day journey, they a r r i v e b e f o r e the cave i n the r e c e s s e s of which the p h a l l u s supposedly forms, so t h a t the p i l g r i m s have t o reach i t by way of a steep ramp. He climbs up on the ramp, then climbs down, the p i l g r i m a g e over but never r e a l l y begun. " I t was a journey t h a t ought not t o have been made; i t had broken my l i f e i n two" (Area, 2 6 5 ) , he w r i t e s i n the l a s t 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 , " F l i g h t " . As Walsh has observed, i n t h i s book, i t i s the s u b j e c t and not the 32 o b j e c t which i s more important. And yet they are both one. Back i n London, he cannot r i d h i m s e l f of h i s f e e l i n g of empti-ness and o f b e i n g p h y s i c a l l y l o s t . He i s haunted by the sus-p i c i o n t h a t somewhere t h e r e i s the key t o h i s e x i s t e n c e , i f o n l y he can f i n d i t . In t h i s s t a t e of d i s o r i e n t a t i o n , he has a dream: An oblong of s t i f f new c l o t h l a y b e f o r e me, and I had the knowledge t h a t i f o n l y out of t h i s I c o u l d cut a s m a l l e r oblong of 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 would b e g i n to u n r a v e l of i t s e l f , and the u n r a v e l l i n g would spread from the c l o t h t o the t a b l e t o the house t o a l l matter, u n t i l the whole t r i c k was undone. Those were the words t h a t were w i t h me as I f l a t t e n e d the c l o t h and s t u d i e d i t f o r the c l u e s which I knew e x i s t e d , which 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 , but which I knew I never would. (Area, 266) I f we are to judge from the i n t e n s i t y with which the theme of r o o t l e s s n e s s i s e x p l o r e d i n h i s subsequent books, i t i s obvious t h a t l i f e never u n f o l d s and y i e l d s the magical key t o h i s own house. 108 Jean Rhys writes about the European equivalent to the kind of experience Naipaul and Williams probe. I t w i l l be necessary to give a b r i e f account of both the novels under discussion at the outset, since they w i l l be discussed together. I t should be easy to d i s t i n g u i s h the separate references i f i t i s borne i n mind that Wide Sargasso Sea was inspired by Bronte's Wuthering Heights and i s the story of Bronte's Bertha Mason, Rochester's wife, as seen through the compassionate eyes of Jean Rhys. The heroine i s Antoinette, whose mother was he r s e l f i n -sane and whose brother, Pierre, was an i d i o t . Most of the novel i s set i n the West Indies. We are transported to England when Antoinette i s taken, insane, to Thornfield, by her husband. Voyage In The Dark describes the fortunes of a West Indian white, Anna, i n England, as she goes from chorus g i r l to pros-t i t u t e a f t e r a disastrous a f f a i r with an older man, Walter. We must consider both novels since, set as they are, one i n England, the other i n the West Indies, neither world inseparable from the other, they give a composite picture of the chasm that exists between the white West Indian and h i s an-cestors. Secondly, the extent to which Anna's rootless exis-tence i s conditioned by Rhys' knowledge and experience of West Indian l i f e i s c l e a r l y demonstrated with reference to Wide  Sargasso Sea. The point also needs to be made that Rhys has an unmistakable claim to being a West Indian writer by her concern, exhibited i n a l l her novels, with a theme that l a r g e l y pre-occupies West Indian w r i t i n g — the nomadic, wandering character who l i v e s suspended between two worlds, alienated from society 109 and d i s o r i e n t e d by the environment. I n her e a r l y novels, her world " i s the world of modern, urban Europe; her people are the people 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 of urban s o c i e t y — f a c e l e s s , nomadic characters 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 other world which i s a permanent f e a t u r e of modern urban l i f e i n 33 E u r o p e . T h e West Indian s e t t i n g of Wide Sargasso Sea con-s o l i d a t e s t h i s theme; and the theme of 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 order to make an a r t i s t i c s t a t e -ment about West Indian s o c i e t y and about an aspect of the West Indian experience. 3**' The encounter between Ant o i n e t t e and Rochester repre-sents, i n minuscule, the encounter between two worlds that are i n s p i r i t a l i e n to each other, the f a t e f u l encounter demon-s t r a t i n g the t r a g i c f a t e t h a t awaits any attempt to bridge t h i s chasm by emotional involvement i n the other world. 35 Voyage In  The Dark demonstrates t h i s on a l e s s e r s c a l e . By choosing the post-Emancipation era as the s e t t i n g of Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys catches the white s o c i e t y at i t s most vulnerable w i t h the s o c i a l balance suddenly upset and nowhere to 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 ide a of England would n a t u r a l l y have exerted a more powerful h o l d on the white imagination at t h a t time. I t i s t h e r e f o r e a l l the more i r o n i c that A n t o i n e t t e , who i s a stranger i n her West Indian s e t t i n g , goes to England insane and v i r t u a l l y a s l a v e , a l l freedom taken away from her, and there becomes even more estranged from her s e t t i n g . She remains locked away i n the 110 a t t i c of 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 that she i s r e a l l y i n England. S u r e l y the ship got l o s t on i t s way. This cardboard world they have landed on couldn't be England. I f only she could see behind the cardboard! They t e l l me I am i n England but I don't b e l i e v e them. We l o s t our way to England. When? Where? I don't remember, but we l o s t i t . Was i t that evening ... when he found me t a l k i n g t o the young man who brought me my food? I ... asked him to help me ... I smashed the glasses and p l a t e s against the p o r t h o l e . I hoped i t would break and the sea would come i n .... And then I s l e p t . When I awoke i t was a d i f f e r e n t sea. -Colder. I t was t h a t n i g h t , I t h i n k , that we changed course and l o s t our way.to England. This cardboard house where I walk at night i s not England. (W.S.S., 181) The image of being l o s t at sea i s e x a c t l y the image used i n Voyage I n The Dark. The t i t l e i t s e l f makes use of the journey motif. I n a r e c u r r e n t dream that Anna has, she i s on a ship s a i l i n g c l o s e to an i s l a n d which has E n g l i s h t r e e s (The ambig-u i t y suggests t h a t the i s l a n d could be e i t h e r England or her West Indian i s l a n d ) . Try as she might t o get ashore, she i s unable to do so. "The dream rose i n t o a climax of meaning-l e s s n e s s , f a t i g u e and powerlessness .... I t was funny how, a f t e r t h a t , I kept on dreaming about the sea" (V.D., 164-165). The image evoked here, as i n Wide Sargasso Sea, i s both o r i g i n a l and powerful. Both women are i n a perpetual journey between the West I n d i e s and England, s a i l i n g back and f o r t h , unable to get ashore e i t h e r world and anchor themselves. The t i t l e of Wide Sargasso Sea i s r i c h i n i t s i m p l i c a -t i o n s . Wally Look L a i p o i n t s out one of the l e v e l s on which i t operates: "... p h y s i c a l l y s i t u a t e d between the West I n d i e s and I l l England, the Sargasso Sea becomes a symbolic d i v i d i n g l i n e between two whole worlds 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 worlds that they are never able to meet each other i n any fundamental sense." 3^ The Sargasso Sea al s o symbolizes the dangers that await those who make the treacherous passage. T h i r d l y , i t i s a n a t u r a l image f o r the e x i s t e n t i a l chasm that l i e s between the two worlds. Although A n t o i n e t t e belongs t o the West Indian environ-ment more than any of the other white 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 post-Emancipation era, as p r e v i o u s l y mentioned, was a time when the whites suddenly found themselves uprooted. I n a d d i t i o n , the i s l a n d s were already on the road to r u i n . Rhys captures the insiduous process of d e r e l i c t i o n and decay t h a t set i n b r i l l i a n t l y i n her d e s c r i p t i o n of C o u l i b r i E s tate where A n t o i n e t t e and her mother l i v e v i r t u a l l y marooned. The s u b t l e s t touch l i e s i n Rhys* d e s c r i p t i o n s of nature i n a l l i t s wildness ready to take over at any time and reduce every-t h i n g t o the p r i m i t i v e . The suggestion that nature i s b a r e l y held i n check, p a r a l l e l s s u b t l y , the l a t e n t madness of the Creole h e i r e s s e s of the i s l a n d s , t r a g i c products of an inbred, decadent s o c i e t y i n i t s death throes. The women are presented as r e j e c t e d creatures 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. A n t o i n e t t e i s h e r s e l f r e j e c t e d c o n s t a n t l y by her mother who pushes her away whenever she t r i e s t o show her l o v e . Both women are i n t u r n jeered at by the negroes who scorn them because they are poor whites, and 112 c a l l them 'white cockroaches', and by the wealthy whites who p r o j e c t on them t h e i r own f e a r of f i n a n c i a l d i s a s t e r and c a l l them 'white n i g g e r s ' . Mason and Rochester, t h e i r only hopes of escape, abandon them, so that t h e i r contact w i t h the white world aggravates 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 h a l f -negro, her involvement w i t h the negro world more profound than that w i t h the white world. With her childhood f r i e n d , T i a , she has a love-hate r e l a t i o n s h i p that confuses 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 t h a t destroys C o u l i b r i represents the death of a l l Antoinette has ever 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 spots T i a i n the crowd and runs to her: ... she was a l l that was l e f t of my l i f e as i t had been. We had eaten the same food, s l e p t side by s i d e , bathed i n the same r i v e r . As I ran, 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 her. Not t o leave C o u l i b r i .... When.I was c l o s e I saw the jagged stone i n her hand but I d i d not.see her throw i t . I d i d not f e e l i t e i t h e r . . . . I looked at her and I saw. her face cruunple up as she began to c r y . We s t a r e d at each other, blood on my f a c e , t e a r s on hers. I t was as i f I saw myself. 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 to enter a part of her West Indian world i s aborted. When, at the end, the mad A n t o i n e t t e has a dream of her subsequent burning of T h o r n f i e l d H a l l and s u i c i d e , v i s i o n s of her West In d i a n l i f e pass before..,her. "As she stands be-f o r e the s p e c t a c l e of her l i f e — both worlds, both areas of experience, T h o r n f i e l d and C o u l i b r i ablaze i n flames — the 113 a l t e r n a t i v e suddenly appears t o her i n her dream."-?' She sees T i a beckoning to her from below, on the 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. But, as Wally Look L a i observes, the r e a l T i a stoned and r e j e c t e d her; the T i a t h a t beckons t o her i n v i t i n g l y i s an i l l u s i o n . 3 8 Rhys t h e r e f o r e r e j e c t s t h i s a l t e r n a t i v e . Bertha Mason's burning of T h o r n f i e l d H a l l i s presented as the demented act of a mad woman i n Jane Eyre. I n Wide  Sargasso 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 solve an e x i s t e n t i a l dilemma. 3 9 By f i l t e r i n g the m a t e r i a l through the consciousness of An t o i n e t t e the act becomes understandable w i t h i n the context of the i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t t hat A n t o i n e t t e has been through. The burning and s u i c i d e are not a c t s of d e s t r u c t i o n but of p r e s e r v a t i o n from an existence which had become a form of death. A n t o i n e t t e 1 s f a t e i s never to belong. She i s taunted by the songs of the negroes: "White cockroach, go away, Nobody want you." Anna, her E n g l i s h counterpart, i s not wanted i n England e i t h e r . Her room-mate shouts at her, "... and always going on about being t i r e d and i t s being dark and co l d .... What d'you want to stay here f o r , i f you don't l i k e i t ? Who wants you here, anyway? Why don't you c l e a r out?" (V.D., 1 4 5 ) . Unhappy and unwanted as they are, n e i t h e r woman has any a l t e r -n a t i v e . When An t o i n e t t e hears the f a m i l i a r 'white cockroach' r e f r a i n on t h e i r honeymoon, she exclaims b i t t e r l y t o Rochester, " I t was a song about a white cockroach. That's me .... And I've heard E n g l i s h women c a l l us white niggers. So between you I 114 o f t e n wonder who I am and where i s my country and where do I belong ..." (W.S.S.,102). The l a s t l i n e i s the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the West Indian 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 confined to any group or race. I t i s the n a t u r a l c r y of those who have no claims. Rochester, who hates and envies her apparent a b i l i t y to understand 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 to him, confesses to her that he f e e l s that the place i s h i s enemy and on her s i d e , but A n t o i n e t t e d i s p e l s t h i s i l l u s i o n . I t i s not f o r you and not f o r me. I t has nothing to do w i t h e i t h e r of us. This i s why you are a f r a i d of i t ; because i t i s something e l s e . I found that out long ago .... I loved i t because I had nothing 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 of t e n . (W.S.S.,130) Next to Naipaul'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 landscape, t h i s must rank as one of the more powerful expressions of the West Indian's a l i e n a t i o n from h i s environment and the t o t a l i n d i f f e r e n c e of t h i s environment to h i s happiness. What seems to be An t o i n e t t e ' s rapport w i t h her world, i s i n r e a l i t y an e x i s t e n t i a l awareness of her p o s i t i o n i n i t as a stranger and an acceptance of that c o n d i t i o n . o f es-trangement from both the environment and God. I n the r e a c t i o n s of Rochester who i s r e c e n t l y a r r i v e d from England, we can assess the impact of the w i l d environment, of which A n t o i n e t t e i s a p a r t , on the E n g l i s h s e n s i b i l i t y . I t s excess of c o l o u r , of s m e l l , i t s very extremes, j a r on him. Yet he cannot help but f e e l that i t has a secret t h a t he cannot penetrate. He keeps t h i n k i n g , " I want what i t hides." A n t o i n -e t t e , locked up i n T h o r n f i e l d , a l s o t r i e s to see behind the 115 cardboard, but n e i t h e r can gain access t o the other's world. Rhys uses the symbol of the w a l l to symbolize t h i s i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y . I n Wide Sargasso Sea the symbol i s l i n k e d to A n t o i n e t t e ' s dreams t o evoke the t e r r i f y i n g sense of being trapped. I n a l l , A ntoinette has three dreams, each of which i s a premonition of the d i r e c t i o n i n which her l i f e i s headed at the t i m e . 4 0 The f i r s t i s at C o u l i b r i when she i s a c h i l d . I n the dream she i s walking 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 to move (W.S.S., 27). She comforts h e r s e l f afterwards by t h i n k i n g to h e r s e l f , " I am safe .... There i s the t r e e of l i f e i n the garden and the w a l l green w i t h moss. The b a r r i e r of the c l i f f s and the high mountains. And the b a r r i e r of the sea. I am safe. I am safe from strangers" (W.S.S., 27). The w a l l , the c l i f f s and the mountains, though b a r r i e r s , are p r o t e c t i v e symbols i n her mind at t h i s p o i n t . The stranger i s o b v i o u s l y Rochester. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Rochester, on f i r s t seeing the w i l d landscape, f e e l s threatened and menaced by the h i l l s , the mountains, and the sea: The road climbed upward. On one side the w a l l of green, on the other a steep drop t o the r a v i n e below. We p u l l e d up and looked at the h i l l s , the mountains and the blue-green sea ... I understood why the po r t e r had c a l l e d i t a w i l d place. Not only 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 her second dream, t h i s time at the convent where she spends her adolescent years a f t e r the burning of C o u l i b r i , she has l e f t the house at C o u l i b r i and i s walking towards the 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 : Again I have l e f t the house at C o u l i b r i ... and I am walking towards the f o r e s t . I am wearing a long dress and t h i n s l i p p e r s . . . . f o l l o w i n g the 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 myself .... Now we have reached the f o r e s t .... "Here?" He t u r n s and looks at me, h i s face b l a c k - w i t h •-. hatred .... He smiles s l y l y . "Not here, not yet , " he says and I f o l l o w him weeping .... We are no longer i n the f o r e s t but i n an enclosed 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 steps l e a d i n g upwards. I t i s too dark to see the w a l l or the steps but I know they are here .... (W.S.S., 60) The dream undoubtedly p r e f i g u r e s her journey from the West I n d i e s (the f o r e s t ) , t o T h o r n f i e l d and England (the enclosed garden surrounded by a stone w a l l ) where she i s l o c k e d away. I n her t h i r d dream, t h i s time at T h o r n f i e l d , when her l i f e f l a s h e s before her, the world of C o u l i b r i and the world of T h o r n f i e l d , the t r u t h dawns on her. " I know now that the f l i g h t of s t a i r s l e d t o t h i s room" (W.S.S.,187). I n Voyage I n The Dark, the w a l l s do not imprison Anna, but they e i t h e r shut her out or t h r e a t e n to crush her. E a r l y i n the novel, her c l a u s t r o p h o b i c existence b r i n g s t o mind one day, " t h a t s t o r y about the w a l l s of a room g e t t i n g s m a l l e r and s m a l l e r u n t i l they crush 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 erected between her and the England she wishes to touch. As she seeks i n v a i n to enter the E n g l i s h world and get behind the e x t e r i o r of people and t h i n g s , the f e l t l i f e , the b a r r i e r s of communication begin t o close i n on her. "The damned way they look at you, and t h e i r damned 117 v o i c e s , l i k e high, smooth, unclimbable 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 her of the image she had always had of England subconsciously, as a c h i l d . The E n g l i s h b i s c u i t s that were s o l d on the 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 the s i g n i f i c a n t t h i n g i n the p i c t u r e was the "high, dark w a l l " behind her. Underneath the p i c t u r e was 'written: The past i s dear The f u t u r e c l e a r But best of a l l , the present. But i t was the w a l l that stood out most i n her mind. "And that used t o be my idea of what England was l i k e . And i t i s l i k e t h a t , too, I thought" (V.D . , 1 4 9 ) . Between the white West Ind i a n and h i s o r i g i n s , there e x i s t s t h i s d i v i d e , be i t a w a l l or a sea, th a t makes r e t u r n impossible. Wide Sargasso Sea explores the i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y of the two worlds through the f i g u r e s of Antoinette and Rochester. Voyage In The Dark explores t h i s same i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y by the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the two worlds of Anna, the West Indian one composed of 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 throughout. Throughout the dark voyage of the s o u l , the memory of her West Indian home remains a symbol of l i g h t i n the darkness of England, a haven of warmth and sunshine i n the c o l d , and a r i o t o u s a s s a u l t on the senses i n the bland E n g l i s h world. With her v i v i d memories of the world she has l e f t behind, a world t h a t she knows i s gone f o r ever, and her s e n s i t i v e response t o the c o l d , dark, u n f r i e n d l y 118 E n g l i s h world which b r i s t l e s w i t h b a r r i e r s , Anna comes to r e a l i s e that these two halves of her l i f e can never meet. The question Rhys poses i n both novels 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 Rochester nor A n t o i n e t t e can comprehend the other's world. For each, the world of the other i s l i k e some mysterious and i n a c c e s s i b l e dream. The f o l l o w i n g dialogue between them i l l u s t r a t e s t h e i r d i f f e r e n t s e n s i b i l i t i e s : " 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 of my f r i e n d s who married an Englishman wrote and t o l d me so. She s a i d t h i s place London i s l i k e a c o l d dark dream sometimes. I want to 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 your b e a u t i f u l i s l a n d seems to 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 of people, 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 worlds and the s e n s i b i l i t i e s born of them are presented as so d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed that they are l i k e two halves which can never come together. To Anna, "Sometimes i t was as i f I were back there and as i f England were a dream. At other times England was the r e a l t h i n g and out there was a dream, but I could never f i t them together" (V.D.,8). This mental d i s p l a c e -ment prevents Anna from coming to terms f u l l y w i t h the E n g l i s h world and w i t h her acquaintances. Maudie, her f r i e n d , i s i n -credulous 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 .... Whoever heard of anybody who d i d n ' t l i k e London?" Walter h i m s e l f p r e f e r s c o l d p l a c e s . "The t r o p i c s would be a l t o g e t h e r too l u s h f o r me, I t h i n k . " 119 Anna Ts problem of r e c o n c i l i n g these two worlds i s i t s e l f compounded by her a t t r a c t i o n to the negroes and the way of l i f e they represent to her. "Being black i s warm and gay, being white i s c o l d and sad" (V.D.,31). T h i s i m p l i e s s e l f -a l i e n a t i o n a l s o . Although she has a warm f r i e n d s h i p w i t h Francine, the black servant, she knows that Francine d i s l i k e s her because she i s white, "and ... I would never be able to e x p l a i n to her t h a t I hated being white" (V.D.,72). The ques-t i o n of i d e n t i t y i s t h e r e f o r e fundamental to both novels. Roch-e s t e r , i n an attempt to r e f a s h i o n A n t o i n e t t e ' s i d e n t i t y t o s u i t h i s own conception of her, c a l l s her by her mother's name, Bertha, thus d e s t r o y i n g her r e a l s e l f and t a i n t i n g her r e l a t i o n -ship w i t h her mother.*4'1 I t w i l l be remembered that A n t o i n e t t e ' s mother had become insane s h o r t l y a f t e r C o u l i b r i burnt. Rochester c o n s c i o u s l y imposes t h i s burden on her. Walter makes a s i m i l a r attempt t o r e d e f i n e Anna's i d e n t i t y to s u i t h i s e t h i c s and values. Anna p r e f e r s to l i v e i n the present and does not p a r t i c u -l a r l y care about ' g e t t i n g on i n the world', but Walter cannot conceive of t h i s k i n d of e x i s t e n c e . "Vincent says he doesn't see why you shouldn't get on and I don't see why you shouldn't e i t h e r . I b e l i e v e i t would be a good idea f o r you to have s i n g i n g lessons ... 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 Naipaul's. One can r e f e r to 'the t y p i c a l Naipaul f i g u r e ' the same way as one can r e f e r t o 'the t y p i c a l Rhys f i g u r e * . Everything they w r i t e i s a reworking of the same theme and the same f i g u r e and t h i s gives 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 120 Indian novels. I f the 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 Indian novel o f t e n means a heavy c o a t i n g of 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 to separate 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 yet both Naipaul and Rhys have a sense of West Indian h i s t o r y . The d i f f e r e n c e i s th a t t h e i r a r t i s t i c v i s i o n grows out of 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 not only West Indian man, but a l l man. Rhys, and Naipaul p o i n t t o the u n i v e r s a l i t y of the con-d i t i o n of r o o t l e s s n e s s and i n d i c a t e one way of maintaining a l a r g e r p e r s p e c t i v e . Wilson H a r r i s p o i n t s i n yet another d i r e c t i o n — the embracing of t h i s c o n d i t i o n and transcending 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 through a v i s i o n of u n i t y . He challenges the West In d i a n i n s u l a r v i s i o n of 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 — the u n i t y of man wi t h man and man w i t h environment. The fundamental question behind h i s a r t i s t i c pre-mise i s how to r e c o n c i l e the broken p a r t s of 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 considers to be two West Indian p o s i t i v e s -- the people themselves and the environment. He f i n d s remarkable i n the West Indian "a sense of s u b t l e l i n k s , the s e r i e s of s u b t l e and nebulous l i n k s which are l a t e n t w i t h i n him, the l a t e n t ground of o l d and new person-a l i t i e s . " ^ An e n t i r e l y a u t h e n t i c concept i n view of the mul-t i p l i c i t y and r i c h n e s s of c u l t u r e s i n the West I n d i e s . H a r r i s works t h i s out i n h i s novels by l i b e r a t i n g the persona from those 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 s t a -t i c a l l y i n West Indian novels. Kenneth Ramchand de 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 of the West Indian novel. Instead of c r e a t i n g characters whose p o s i t i o n i n g on one side or other of the region'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 those c o n f l i c t s and does v i o l e n c e to the make-up of 'the person', the West In d i a n n o v e l i s t should set out to ' 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 person and throughout s o c i e t y , of the p a r t s of a h e r i t a g e of broken c u l t u r e s . ^ 3 In Palace of the Peacock, f o r i n s t a n c e , which works on one l e v e l as a re-enactment of the E l Dorado quest and could 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 of 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 of Europeans, Indians 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 dying together i n a common grave out of which they had sprung again from the same s o u l and womb as i t were."1*1* In the l a r g e r context of H a r r i s ' work, i t can be expressed i n t h i s l i n e from The Whole Armour, "the r a l l y i n g of a l l t h e i r f o r c e s i n t o an incestuous persona and image and a l l i a n c e — 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 history."* 1'^ The vastness of the Guyanese i n t e r i o r , i t s great heart-lan d , f e r t i l i s e s H a r r i s ' imagination and gives s o l i d i t y to t h a t other v i s i o n of u n i t y — man and landscape -- i n which both are engaged i n a constant d i a l e c t i c , "a drama of consciousness shared by animate/inanimate f e a t u r e s . " ^ But, although H a r r i s a n t i c i p a t e s the d i f f i c u l t i e s of the 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 to feed on and draw them inward, only the empty expanse of the sea to focus t h e i r eyes outward, h i s s o l u -t i o n cannot have as great a meaning f o r them. The sea i s s t i l l 122 a symbol o f d e p a r t u r e i n t h e West I n d i a n n o v e l , n o t o f a r r i v a l . The image o f t h e d e s e r t t h a t D ennis W i l l i a m s and Orlando P a t t e r s o n u t i l i s e i s not an a u t h e n t i c C a r i b b e a n one. The 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 s o l i d i t y , a sense o f p l a c e , t o t h e Guyanese w r i t e r s f r o m M i t t e l h o l z e r t o H a r r i s t o Dennis W i l l i a m s i s a g a i n not an i n s u l a r image. The l a n d -scape cannot form t h e 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 a bsorbed i n t o t h e i n s u l a r s u b c o n s c i o u s , and as Wide S a r g a s s o  Sea and D r a y t o n ' s C h r i s t o p h e r d e m onstrate, t h e l a n d s c a p e has remained a l i e n : t h e s e n o v e l s a r e f i l l e d w i t h t h r e a t e n i n g images o f n a t u r e . < /Z3 FOOTNOTES "'•Subsequent references w i l l appear i n the t e x t as 'Area 1 2 Subsequent references w i l l appear i n the t e x t under the c i t a t i o n , 'O.L.' ^Voyage In The Dark (New York: W.W. Norton, 1 9 6 8 ) , Subsequent references w i l l appear i n the t e x t as Voyage*. Stfide Sargasso Sea (London: Andre Deutsch, 1 9 6 6 ) . Subsequent references w i l l appear i n the t e x t as *W.S.S.* ^The Chosen Tongue, pp. 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 . 6 I b i d . , p. 1 2 4 . 7The Pleasures of E x i l e , p. 1 6 0 . V i c R eid, The Leopard (London: Heinemann, 1 9 5 8 ) . 9 L o u i s James, " I s l a n d s of Man: R e f l e c t i o n s on the Emer-gence of a West Indian L i t e r a t u r e , " Southern Review, 2 , 1 ( 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 1 5 2 . - • 1 0 R e v i e w i n Black Orpheus, 13 (Nov. 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 6 0 . i : L I b i d . , p. 5 9 . 1 2 The Chosen Tongue, p. 125-13 ^Review, Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, F r i d a y , J u l y 1 9 , 1 9 6 3 , p. 521. ^ h e West Indian Novel and I t s Background, p. 1 6 2 . -^David Ormerod, " I n A D e r e l i c t Land: The Novels of 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 I b i d . , p. 8 5 . 1 7 I n A Free State (London: Andre Deutsch, 1 9 7 1 ) . 123 124 1 8 E l a i n e Zinkham, " V i d i a Naipaul: A r t i s t of the Absurd, n M.A. The s i s , B r i t i s h Columbia: The Univ. of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1972. •^"Without A Place: V.S. Naipaul i n Conversation w i t h Ian Hamilton," Times L i t e r a r y Supplement, 30 J u l y , 1971, p. 898. 2 Q I b i d . , p. 898. 2 1 The Middle Passage, pp. 41-42. 2 2 " W i t h o u t A Place," p. 897. 23 V.S. Naipaul, "The Regional 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. 2 ^ D a v i d Ormerod, "Theme and Image i n V.S. N a i p a u l f s A House For Mr. Biswas," Texas Studies i n L i t e r a t u r e and Language, 8,4 (Winter, 1967), 597. pz Rev., "Mr. Naipaul*s Passage To I n d i a , " Times L i t e r a r y  Supplement, 24 Sept., 1964, p. 881. 2 7 A Man i f o l d Voice, p. 6 3 . *°"The Regional B a r r i e r , " p. 30. 2 9The Middle Passage, p. 40. 3°Paul Theroux, V.S. Naipaul: An I n t r o d u c t i o n to His  Work (New York: A f r i c a n a P u b l i s h i n g Corporation, 1972), p. 79. -^John Mander, rev. of An Area of Darkness, Commentary 39,6 (June, 1965), p. 96. 3 2 A Ma n i f o l d Voice, p. 64. 3 % a l l y Look L a i , "The Road to T h o r n f i e l d H a l l , " New World 4,2 (1968), p. 18. . . " 3 4 I b i d . , p. 19. 125 35 3 6 I b i d . I b i d . , p. 20. p. 20. 37 I b i d . 38 I b i d . 3 9 i b i d . c l o s e l y i n t h i s paragraph.. 40 41 I b i d . I b i d , pp. 26-27. p. 27-p. 27* I have followed Look L a i ' s argument p. 26'. p. 2 1 . ^ T r a d i t i o n , the W r i t e r and S o c i e t y , p. 28. 43 The West Indian Novel and I t s Background, p. 10. ^ W i l s o n H a r r i s , The Palace of the Peacock (London: Faber and Faber, 1968. F i r s t published I960;, p. 40. ^ W i l s o n H a r r i s , The Whole Armour (London: Faber and Faber, 1962), p.43. " ' 46, T r a d i t i o n , the W r i t e r and S o c i e t y , p. 5 5 . S E L E C T E D B I B L I O G R A P H Y JX 7 A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Augier, F.R. and Shirley C. Gordon. Sources of West Indian History. London: Longmans, Green and Co.Ltd., 1962. Clarke, Austin C. The Meeting Point. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 19W. . The Survivors of the Crossing. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1964. • When he was free and young and he used to wear sil k s . Toronto: Anansi, 1971. Drayton, Geoffrey. Christopher. London: Collins, 1959. Harris, Wilson. The Palace of the Peacock. London: Faber and Faber, 1968. First published I960. . The Whole Armour. London: Faber and Faber, 1962. Lamming, George. The Emigrants. London: Michael Joseph, I 9 6 4 . . The Pleasures of Exile. London: Michael Joseph, I90OT " . Season of Adventure. London: Michael Joseph, _ r_5T_ Mais, Roger. The Three Novels of Roger Mais. London: Jonathan Cape,.1966. ' Naipaul, V.S. An Area of Darkness. Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1968. A House for Mr. Biswas. Middlesex: Penguin, 1963. 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