Books About Exile And Alienation English Literature Essay

The Mimic Men ( 1967 ) , The Alone Londoners ( 1956 ) and Second-Class Citizen ( 1974 ) are three novels foregrounding inquiries of expatriate and disaffection, both physically and figuratively. All of the novels contain characters who are all placed as fringy members of society at some point, and are forced to accommodate their lives consequently. The troubles they are faced with, find the ‘new ‘ individualities they come to follow. Craib states that “ The ego, individuality, becomes a merchandise to be revamped and relaunched at regular intervals[ 1 ]“ . The inquiry of individuality arises when there is a challenge to a fixed impression of who we are as topics, and individuality is important in a capitalist western civilization and society. Identity formation and creative activity is made more complicated through the function of colonialism, imperialism and post-colonialism. As Boehmer suggests in post-colonial literature issues, of individuality come to the bow by authors who are “ Seeking self-representation, colonial patriots incorporated European ideals of subjectiveness and its rhetoric of rights[ 2 ]“ The nature of post-colonial discourse in oppugning the values of both the colonised topic and the colonizing state make individuality a country for argument. By being exiled from their ain ‘home ‘ cultures the subject of expatriate is figuratively expressed as disaffection, and consequences in the representation of a hunt for the ego by persons who are removed from cultural values and norms. The hunt for a new individuality, which allows the characters to accommodate and come on as topics in their new milieus, is a cardinal subject in post-colonial literature.

V. S. Naipaul ‘s The Mimic Men, tells the narrative of Ranjit “ Ralph ” Kirpal Singh, a forty-year- old Indian colonial functionary, now populating in expatriate from the little Caribbean island of Isabella. The narrative begins with Singh populating sing how he his life is “ the shipwreck which all my life I had sought to avoid[ 3 ]“ . The narrative is complex and has no chronological order, Ralph reflects on the four chief periods of his life, as Nazereth points out that the novel is divided into three chief parts. Ralph is both a storyteller and a participant in the narrative. He describes himself through the assorted ‘identities ‘ he has experienced, as a pupil, politician and now as a ‘recluse ‘ . As a immature adult male in London Singh meets and marries Sandra, an English adult female and they return to Isabella, where they gain considerable wealth and success. However, they feel alienated and have “ a feeling of holding been flung off the universe[ 4 ]“ . The 2nd portion of the novel, describes Singh ‘s childhood, his male parent besides recognizes that he is detached from his state of beginning, condemned to being “ shipwrecked[ 5 ]“ on a bantam Caribbean island.

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Singh ‘s altering individuality is illustrated in school, when he discards his first name Ranjit, in favor of Ralph and interrupt his family name ‘Kripalsingh ‘ into two names ‘Kripal ‘ and ‘Singh[ 6 ]‘ . This can be seen as his first act of ‘mimicking ‘ , as Boehmer suggests “ aˆ¦.dominant cultural myths and languagesaˆ¦European conceptual traditions in history, doctrine, literature… had first to be displaced by an act of repeat, even ‘slavish ‘ copying. Success lay in the disguise and blind[ 7 ]“ This is a cardinal minute of despair in seeking to incorporate into his milieus in fracturing his family name into two ‘manageable ‘ halves, flinging a important individuality label and altering from the Indian to the ‘English ‘ or ‘international ‘ name Ralph. He thinks he will be more recognized by those around him and finish his ain sense of individuality. His misguided childhood belief is that the lingual alteration will be plenty to bridge the spread between the cultural and societal disaffection and solitariness, and make a ‘real ‘ individuality merely through the alteration in his label/name. However ‘Ralph ‘ is an English name, and Singh is neither Indian, nor English.

Englishness is a repeating subject in the physical topographic points of Singh ‘s life, with memories of colonial India, reaching in England, and the contemplation of Englishness as seen through the post-colonial experience of being an ‘Indian ‘ in the Caribbean. The troubles which Ralph has had to voyage in his life-time represent the kineticss of the relationship between the ‘black West Indians ‘ and the ‘Indian West Indians ‘ as Nazareth suggests “ The inkinesss have a deep disdain for all that is non white, their values being those of imperialism at its worst. The Indians despise the inkinesss for non being Indian. Such a society intelligibly has no interior values. It simply copies its manner of life from Western consumer society[ 8 ]

Issues of isolation, disaffection and racism cut across the shared West Indian cultural experience, and ethnicity comes to the bow. Peoples are alienated, dismissive and hostile to one another because of imposed barriers of differences. The shared experience of Isabellan life are non plenty to find a coherent individuality ; alternatively the characters feel threatened by issues of difference and prefer to concentrate on the ‘racial ‘ differences with their fellow island-dwellers. For Ralph the inquiry of individuality is “ aˆ¦somewhat typical of colonial experienceaˆ¦he has to borrow, to mime the illustrations which have been set for him by others. The consequence is restlessness and upset ; and it is to battle this that he eventually withdraws form life and undertakes composing[ 9 ]

For Singh his West Indian individuality in a society which itself lacks a consistent sense of individuality is “ an vague New World transplantationaˆ¦born to perturb[ 10 ]“ . Writing gives Ralph Singh a focal point where he can find his ain individuality, reflecting on the assorted functions he has played in life copying others ; reenforcing that he has become one of the mimic work forces. He longs to get away “ to a topographic point unknown, among people whose lives and even linguistic communication[ 11 ]“ in such a society he is a seeable foreigner ne’er to the full accepted as English, whereby he can take ‘comfort ‘ in his individuality as the foreigner. However, he realises that his construct of individuality, is simply the contemplation of what others see him as. Without a ‘authentic ‘ single individuality, he is free to copy others and therefore becomes a mimic adult male.

Sam Selvon ‘s The Lonely Londoners is a word picture of the lives of a group of freshly arrived West Indian immigrants in London. The linguistic communication is in the native Trinidadian idiom reflecting the experiences of the new immigrants as they are non to the full integrated into English society. The characters in Londoners clearly possess a Caribbean individuality and are excessively busy constructing their new lives to subject themselves to internal witting arguments about following new individualities, but individuality formation is inevitable for the new immigrants. Moses is an authorization figure, wise man, and usher in the eyes of the fledglings. He is cognizant of the alterations to his ain place as an immigrant and more significantly in the English attitudes towards the newest inflow of West Indians. Although Moses has a sentimental side which obliges him to carry through his responsibility as ‘guide ‘ and present the new reachings to London life, their shared individuality as aliens, foreigners and foreigners, binds them into a common apprehension of how it feels to be a minority in a large metropolitan metropolis such as London. The disaffection that the characters feel off from place is captured when Selvon shows Moses reflecting on his life in London “ aˆ¦ . sometimes tears come to his eyes and he do n’t cognize why truly, if he is home-sickness or if is merely that life in general beginning to acquire excessively difficult[ 12 ]

Moses yearns for the chance to return place to his ain society and civilization and he is disappointed in his experiences in London because he will ne’er be ‘English ‘ and reflects “ as the old ages go by inquiring what it is all about[ 13 ]“ . Galahad on the other manus is willing to do an attempt of assimilation into London and English society, he is cognizant that his behaviour is a cause for concern and thinks that “ peopleaˆ¦must bawl to see black adult male so familiar with white miss[ 14 ]“ . The impression of individuality is closely linked throughout the book with thoughts of the maleness and gender, and Galahad ‘s desire for the white adult females he is now run intoing in London “ is something he uses to woolgather about in Trinidad[ 15 ]“ . The West Indian work forces are given chances to come in into English society through the sexual affairs they have with white English adult females. The function of gender and the sexual individuality of the black work forces and white adult females becomes a topographic point of interaction, which is symbolic of the colonised minority deriving an component of control and overthrowing the power dealingss between black and white Londoners. As Galahad reflects “ The clip when he was go forthing, Frank tell him: “ Boy, it have bags of white cunt in London, and you will eat till you tired. ” And now, the first day of the month, in the hear of London, dressed to kill, ready to escort the figure around town, anyplace she want to travel, any topographic point at all[ 16 ]“ There are troubles in the attitudes of the work forces who are inherently sexist in how they view the white adult females who are available to them as sexual spouses. It would look that the black work forces are playing into the stereotyped representation of ‘over-sexualized ‘ black work forces. Their individualities are mediated and distorted as objects which are foreign and the sensed ‘norm ‘ of English society. But for Galahad this is an country of pure enjoyment and unrestrained pleasance, and as a immature sexually active black adult male he is happy to negociate this stereotype, and take on the individuality of the sexual object as it offers him sexual wages and freedom.

The suites that the characters are lodged in are individual closed suites and emphasized how London can be “ strongly lonely when you on your ain[ 17 ]“ . Areas of London are given monikers by the immigrants such as “ the Grove[ 18 ]“ , “ the Water[ 19 ]“ “ the Gate[ 20 ]“ and adopted as recognized countries where other black immigrants live. Yet at the same clip these countries and the immigrants, are fringy, detached, and disengaged from mainstream London civilization and society. The individualities of the new immigrants concern the basicss of life sharing a chase for good times and fiscal addition ; this is something shared with the English working category communities. Despite their attempts, there is small opportunity that the immigrants will be able to alleviate the solitariness. There is an implicit in disaffection from the native English Londoners, where the immigrants are frequently treated as objects of wonder and sometimes ridicule. The individuality of the immigrants is marked as physically different and as a basic inquiry of skin coloring material. For Galahad this is illustrated when he pats a ‘curious ‘ immature white kid on the cheek and her reaction is to “ huddle psychiatrist and get down to shout[ 21 ]“ .The female parent is unable to prosecute in conversation with him and she pulls the kid off, walking off, Galahad ‘s reaction is to “ give a sallow kind of smiling, and the old Galahad, cognizing how it is, smile back and walk on[ 22 ]“ . The other obvious difference of their ‘race ‘ is what sets them apart from the white English, yet binds the black immigrants together in their ‘alien ‘ individuality. The racism and uncomfortableness they experience is portion of the patterned advance of individuality formation, for both the host state and for the minority topic as Bolaffi points out “ These transmutations have necessarily impacted on the signifiers which ethnicities and racisms are now taking in assorted parts of the Earth[ 23 ]“ There is a sense in the book that each character is unable to get away the physical presence of their race. This ‘racial ‘ individuality is highlighted in the attitudes of the host community ; for the immigrants their sense of shared individuality and experience is one of a minority coming into a bulk.

Buchi Emecheta ‘s fresh Second-Class Citizen focuses on the experiences of Adah as she negotiates her desires and aspirations as a adult female in Nigeria and as a black immigrant minority in London. It follows the supporter Adah through the convulsion, troubles, letdowns, and accomplishments she faces in life. The narration is told in the 3rd individual in a traditional linear construction where Adah develops as a character, oppugning the societal values, norms and outlooks of her individuality, in both societies. Adah faces biass, and racial and gender based outlooks. She is forced to follow and conform to the cultural values and social norms of her individuality as a black adult females, and ever placed as a ‘second-class citizen ‘ , stating that “ cipher idea of entering her birth. She was so undistinguished[ 24 ]“ . Adah is different from the characters in Lonely Londoners and The Mimic Men, in that even as a kid, she has a definite sense of individuality in her aspirations to be educated and going a author.

Adah ‘s individuality as a author is unequivocal in the place of a Postcolonial author, as Boehmer suggests postcolonial “ authors sought the freedom to call the universe for themselves[ 25 ]“ . Adah is inexorable from a really early age that she will be educated, is intelligent and individual minded in her chase of her dreams. For Adah instruction will liberate her from the restraints and limitations of African society, and can merely be achieved through an instruction in England which is the “ holiest of sanctums[ 26 ]“ for instruction. This aspiration is a changeless ‘presence ‘ in her mind throughout her life ( Emecheta 1974, 11 ) . However, on reaching she discovers, her childhood dreams of the land of educational chance are misconceptions. England does non widen the warm unfastened welcome to the educated in-between category flush Nigerian Black adult female that Adah has become ; and she is positioned as a nuisance, a minority, and discriminated against as a ‘second-class citizen ‘

She can ne’er to the full escape the patriarchal values of her native Nigeria as she is bound in matrimony to a adult male who merely values her for her ability to gain money and reproduce. Francis her hubby considers Adah ‘s exclusive intent in life is to function him, physically, sexually, while supplying an income for him. Adah inquiries her function as a married woman and as a adult female ; she experiences an rousing disputing the values and imposts that are enforced on her. By declining to conform to the prescribed gender functions and cultural Nigerian outlooks, Adah draws on her ain independency and strength to hammer in front with her aspirations and this is confusing for both the work forces and adult females around her. Adah is mocked, and alienated by members of the immigrant Nigerian community, because she has a strong sense of individuality, and believes in her ain rights and constructs of freedom as a adult female. Adah ‘s ain constructs of the high quality of the English are called into inquiry when she confronts her kids ‘s baby-sitter Trudy. She is shocked and surprised at the working category English adult female who falls far below her criterions an African adult female and an “ Igbo tigress[ 27 ]“ . She comes to gain the devastation of the myth “ that the white adult male ne’er lied[ 28 ]“ ( Emecheta 1974, 51 ) . This causes her to appreciate the impression of high quality that is being forced on her by parts of the white community and besides serves to reenforce her sense of ‘superiority ‘ in her ain being ; that she is better than how she is treated, or made to experience. As Gikandi points out “ Postcolonial topics seem, nevertheless to confront an intractable job here: even when the mythology of Englishness displaced by alternate national histories, the imperial myth still continues to hold a sacred presence, if non in the settlements themselves, so at “ place ” in England[ 29 ]“ She besides challenges the function she is prescribed as a female parent, and decides that as a working Nigerian female parent and as a black adult female who is a “ second-class citizen ” she will contend for the right to maintain her kids and direct them to nursery and has “ exploded another myth[ 30 ]“ . Again, Adah challenges the norms and outlooks of her domestic function as a married woman, as an African adult female and as a minority immigrant in London ( Emecheta 1974, 67 ) .

Francis ‘ sense of masculine pride is infuriated when Adah decides to seek contraceptive method, he discusses this with other Nigerian renters and back place with household members ( Emecheta 1974, 155 ) . This humiliation marks the terminal of the matrimony in Adah ‘s head ( Emecheta 1974, 155 ) . Adah ‘s refusal to be oppressed by Francis culminates in the realisation of her dream and composing her first novel. Francis burns her manuscript and revels in the hurting he will necessarily do her in this action ( Emecheta 1974, 179 ) ; this is a cardinal turning point and she challenges Francis stating: “ Bill called that narrative my inspiration. Make you detest me so much, that you could kill my kid? Because that is what you have done. “ aˆ¦ That to Adah was the last straw. Francis could kill her kid. She could forgive him all he had done earlier, but non this[ 31 ]“ ( Emecheta 1974, 181 ) . She realizes she will no longer be a married woman to such a adult male. For Adah her function as a female parent and as a author are the two positive aspects of her individuality which she give her hope and she chooses to follow. Adah ne’er loses her sense of ego and her dreams and changes her place from a victim of force and oppressed sexual object, by deriving fiscal control and independency from her hubby, and she finally leaves him. Adah has a strong sense of her ain individualism and her individuality does non needfully suit in with the outlooks of the Nigerian community or the English society she comes to populate in. Throughout the fresh Adah ‘s individuality as a adult female is cardinal to her actions and motives for desiring more than is prescribed for her, she fulfils her aspirations as a author and as a adult female, and progresses to happen the independency and freedom from limitations she has craved as a child.As seen in the three novels the characters embark on journeys which cut across colonial and post-colonial discourse of individuality, this is a important inquiry which arises at a clip of crisis, as Bolaffi et al province:

“ Issues of individuality come to the bow when there is a crisis of individualities, and at that place did so look to such a crisis of individualities in the last portion of the 20th century, and will be for the foreseeable hereafter into the new millenary[ 32 ]“ The postcolonial supporter so undergoes an individuality crisis, which prompts him or her to seek for a legitimate and positive image of the ego as capable. In most instances in order to ship on this pursuit for the ego, the stable current impression of individuality in the supporter must foremost be split, shattered, or called into inquiry, farther taking to his or her disaffection from society. Boehmer states that “ aˆ¦colonials who migrate to the capital do non get away disaffection… they must larn to get the better of the ‘fracture ‘ which divides their lived experience from their phantasy of metropolitan life, they mustaˆ¦make their adopted linguistic communication their ain by talking of such breaks, conveying discordances into prominence in their work[ 33 ]“ . This sense of disaffection is similar to expatriate in that the topic is no longer “ at place ” either physically or psychologically in their native land, in all three novels the disaffection is represented as holding a strong psychological affect on the characters. Hall states that “ Identity is non in the yesteryear to be found, but in the hereafter to be constructed[ 34 ]“ . It is the province of non belonging, of non holding a true place where postcolonial topics are alienated by Eurocentric, imperial systems that will ne’er to the full accept them, either culturally or racially. Above all the novels all take the place that postcolonial individuality is non stable, absolute, or fixed ; alternatively it is a uninterrupted procedure of flux, renegociating itself depending on the context and peculiar experiences of the single topic.


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