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An Aspiration for the Soul Homeland

Author: LiChao
Tutor: YuanFang
School: Inner Mongolia University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: post-colonialism V.S. Naipaul A Bend in the River culturalidentity mimicry exile
CLC: I561.074
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 62
Quote: 0
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Abstract


It is universally acknowledged that postcolonial society and postcolonial literature have drawn much attention all over the world. Naipaul is a typical postcolonial writer of literature whose ancestral home is in India. The multicultural background, the different thinking ways and his unique personal experience cause Naipaul’s writing style to be unique and extraordinary, which helps him to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in2001.Naipaul’s works are full of contradictions of his complicated cultural background and reflect his ambivalent attitudes towards postcolonial society and the former colonies. In one of his masterpieces A Bend in the River (1979), Naipaul shows his concerns about Africa in the wake of colonial system. The narrator Salim is a Muslim Indian, whose family has lived in East Africa for many generations. He travels to the interior of the continent to take over a shop in a town at the bend of the river. By using Salim’s point of view, Naipaul depicts pathetic realities in postcolonial Africa.Naipaul has been greatly concerned with the problems and dilemmas of colonial and postcolonial societies. The present thesis is an attempt to give an interpretation of A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul from the perspective of post-colonialism. In this fiction, V.S. Naipaul narrates three kinds of possibilities for postcolonial people in the journey of seeking cultural identity:Indar—worshiper of Western culture; Ferdinand—guard of national culture; Salim—culture wanderer. In the meanwhile, this fiction deals with the theme of mimicry and describes the mimicry behaviors of the "Big Man"(the President) and the common African people. Moreover, Naipaul depicts a few exiles’dilemmas existing at the bend in the river in the postcolonial society where individuals find no sense of safety.Focusing on the above themes, the thesis attempts to explore Naipaul’s attention to postcolonial society in his works. Therefore, A Bend in the River is a novel mainly concerning the postcolonial theme in terms of cultural identity, mimicry, exile, cultural conflicts and so on, and undoubtedly it is a good novel that explores the postcolonial society in great details.

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