A House for Mr. Biswas

Kriti Arora
Assistant Professor Pooja Negi
English IDC
13 April 2016
Identity Crisis in V.S Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas
V.S Naipaul was a diasporic writer who brought forth the general concept of colonial predicament in Trinidad. The tragicomic novel 'A house for Mr. Biswas' deals with the existential crisis of an East Indian marginalized man and his struggle to find the extirpated self and his feelings of unhomeliness.
The state of one’s feeling of having been deracinated and displaced is called unhomeliness, a term coined by Homi Bhabba and other theorists of   post colonialism. It is the sense of being in between of two or more cultures. An unhomed person does not have the feeling of belonging since s/he is in a psychological limbo which generally ends in some psychological disorders and cultural displacement. Here, being “unhomed” does not mean being homeless. To be unhomed, as Lois Tyson states in Critical Theory Today, “is to feel not at home even in one‟s own home because you are not at home in yourself; that is, your cultural identity crisis has made you a psychological refugee. (Mehmet Recep, Alienation,Naipaul and Mr. Biswas)
‘Diaspora’ is the term often used today to describe practically any population which is considered ‘deterritorialized’ or ‘transnational’ - that is, which has originated in a land other than which it currently resides, and whose social, economic, and political networks cross the borders of the nation-states or, indeed span the globe. (Vretovec,Three Meanings of Diaspora).
This is what V.S Naipaul has explored in his novel. The protagonist Mr. Biswas has been displaced from his homeland because of his grandfather's migration.
This exile or displacement gives rise to feelings of alienation and rootlessness which forms the basis of the text. Salman Rushdie from his personal experience asserts – “Exiles or emigrants or expatriates are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of...