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Area Of Darkness
(V S Naipaul)

One wonders whether VS Naipaul is a successful writer because he has won the Nobel Prize or was he already a successful writer and hence bestowed with this award. Parameters for measuring success vary, depending on one?s own perspective. How can one definitely suggest a solution for this paradoxically complicated theorem, which suggests that a man who has been around for six decades becomes a household word just because the civilised west world has finally woken up to his capabilities. There are undertones of discontent in certain sceptical minds which are questioning the credibility of the honour . There is an enigma about the Nobel Prize for literature. It has the dubious distinction of being awarded for political reasons rather than literary excellence. VS Naipaul with his pessimism, negative thinking and sweeping condemnations has never been ?politically correct?. One gets acquainted though not familiar with his views as over the time they have undergone tremendous change. If in Area of Darkness you feel that he is condemning the entire third world and giving derogatory portrayal of the very society to which he owes not only his physical existence but his literary intellect too, sitting in the ivory tower cacooned in the lap of luxuries the so called civilised world offers, then on reading the Million Mutinies Now one feels that he is finally getting the pulse and getting out of the Area of Darkness after A bend in the River sees a ray of hope in the Way Of the World . His writings have undergone a change which is Beyond Belief that he once drew a very grim picture of that section of the society. In his novels corruption, brutality and hostilities were recurrent themes suggesting that one third population of the world was consisting of " half made societies that seemed doomed to remain half made " and that stream of thoughts seem to culminate in Half a Life. Novels by Naipual can not be narrowed down to the boundaries which conventionally traditional concept of a literary style termed novel creates. Naipaul confesses that ?there is a crust of fact but beyond that the writer?s fantasy is working? and goes on to say that ? I wanted to deliver the truth, to deliver a form of reality, based on what I have observed, seen, experienced?. And that he has seen a lot one can not deny. Steeped in social concern, his books cover vast expanse of canvass that makes up for human history as they deal with real world which means politics, racial exploitation and the underprivileged.Naipaul?s own life story would itself read like a novel where the protagonist- a lost soul in search of an identity- struggles with existence in alien land, becomes a globe trotter and the very realisation that the world is divided in distinctly two categories, the privileged and the under privileged, makes him feel like donning the mantle of a crusader.Reticent about debts to his father who toiled hard and contributed a lot to his literary ambition, contemptuously dismisses his childhood as sad and pathetic because "at school I was a bright boy, on the street, where we still held ourselves apart I felt ashamed at our conditions"The life at Oxford veered between dank cold rooms and the high standards of education which extolled the exalted western literary canon.No tree can flourish and bear fruits without drawing nourishment from its roots. Naipaul too had to return to the milieu he had known, in order to be able to write. The Mystic Masseur, Miquel Street and A house for Mr Biswas are set in Trinidad. Exhausting his bank of memories and experiences, Naipaul moved back to England ? as some purely literary region where untrammeled by the accidents of history or background I could make a romantic area of myself as a writer. This ?progression? is exemplified in the Enigma of Arrival where the narrator tries to play down his own culture in order to give himself a new identity which would make him acceptable in the company of august writers. Over the years Naipaulmellowed and realised that he was living in "half a world" still an outsider as far as the western world was concerned and these sentiments are echoed by a character in A Bend in the River who experiences " a colonial rage?a rage with the people who had allowed themselves to be corralled into a foreign fantasy". The colonial intellect seems to hate the feeling of dependence on those very people who grew rich by exploiting his people and therefore turns into self hatred. To mask this he expresses his predilection in unnecessarily provocative words which tend to belittle the country and its people in the novel A wounded civilisation . That he wounded many sensibilities thereby, he was least bothered with and dismissed that anger as ignorance. " The trouble with people like me writing about societies where there is no intellectual life is that if you write about it, people are angry".If one wonders why did this writer failed to conquer the hearts and minds of the readers whose life he seemed to understand and portray, the answers would probably lie in the fact that he sounds both angry and unpatriotic, while pursuing the truth as he sees it, and expresses his displeasure in a disciplined, precise though evocative manner. Neelmani Bhatia

Resumos Relacionados

- Ambivalence As A Metaphor

- A House For Mr Biswas

- India A Million Mutinies Now

- Half Of A Yellow Sun

- Midnight's Children

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