Sign up now
to enroll in courses, follow best educators, interact with the community and track your progress.
Chapter 8: V S Naipaul (Part III)
82 plays

V S Naipaul : In A Free State, A Bend in the River

Sourabh agarwal
Govt. College Lecturer, JRF-NET (2003) English Teaching literature and grammar since 2001 to undergraduates , postgraduates, Net aspirants a

Unacademy user
Please cover 4th & 5th DNA of May 2018.


  3. In a Free State V.S. Naipaul won the Booker Prize for this novel in 1971. .It is collection of three stories that focus on the experiences of uprooted people who try to live in different kinds of "free" societies. The novel is divided into a prologue, three stories and an epilogue. In the prologue, 'The Tramp at Piraeus', the narrator presents an excerpt from a travel journal about a journey on a ferry from Greece to Egypt. The passengers include exiled Egyptians, Lebanese businessman, Spanish dancers, an Austrian and an old tramp. The tramp is brutally treated by others which pains the narrator but he doesn't intervene.

  4. . "One out of Many', the first story is about Santosh who is originally from Bombay working as a servant to a Civil officer. . He becomes worried as his master is transferred to Washington DC. , but he is also taken along with his master to Washington. Here, Santosh is overwhelmed by the grand surroundings and is dazzled about the new culture. . One day, he incidentally meets Priya who has a restaurant and who offers him work as a chef with higher salary which Santosh accepts. . He makes a casual sexual relationship with a black woman and feels ashamed of it later. However, as he realizes that he is living illegally in the country and can be deported, he is left with one choice, to marry that black woman in order to obtain Green Visa.

  5. The second storyTell Me Who to Kill, is about a West Indian man thinking back over his life as he travels to his brother's wedding along with a white man named Frank e He remembers about his simple life at his native town with his brother Dayo. Dayo was taken away by his uncle Stephen to a town for better living conditions and education. However, didn't feel happy there. e As such, the narrator and Dayo both tried their luck by going to London where the narrator worked at a cigarette factory However, Dayo disappointed him by not taking the school seriously and one day in a frustrated rage, the narrator killed a boy. Finally, it is revealed that the white man accompanying the narrator is a prison guard and the narrator is released from jail just to attend his brother's marriage.

  6. The third story, rather a novella, In a Free State, narrates a power struggle in an African country between a king and a president. The president is supported by the British and they send forces to overthrow the king. It is at the King's Collectorate where Bobby works. Bobby and Linda, the wife of a man who also works in the Collectorate, share a ride filled with awkward silences and intimate conversations where Bobby reveals his homosexuality while Linda talks about her desire to leave for South Africa. During the journey, Linda tries to have an adulterous affair with an American man while Bobby misinterprets a local boy's interest for sexual desire. At one check point, he is beaten by soldiers and feeling insulted he returns his home.

  7. In the Epilogue, The Circus at Luxor, the narrator notices a troupe of Chinese people. He returns to Cairo and takes a trip to Luxor. Here, he encounters a native with a whip who beats the children if they come near the tourists. For entertainment, an Italian hotel guest repeatedly throws food toward the children and watching them get whipped for coming too close to the hotel All other tourists remain apathetic, but the narrator grabs the whip away from the Egyptian hotel employee. The employee suddenly asks forgiveness begging the narrator not to complain to the management. Feeling powerless the narrator keeps an eye on the Italian for the rest of his trip.

  8. A Bend In The River Set in a postcolonial African state it is the tale of a young Afro-Arab man of Indian decent. The novel is divided in four parts: "The Second Rebellion" "The New Domain," "The Big Man" and "Baitle." The narrator, Salim, leaves his home in East Africa for a market town in Central Africa to start a new life as the owner of a shop he has recently bought from Nazruddin .Salim's journey is frequently halted by armed men as they demand money because of his spurious identity. when he finally arrives, he finds the market town in a poor condition with little population, and his shop in a mess

  9. e With hopes for better future, Salim runs a meagre business selling basic household supplies to a small number of customers. . Salim's servant Metty inform him that one of his regular customers, Zabeth is a magician who uses sharp mystical perfumes to keep enemies away. Salim becomes a ward to Zabeth's son, Ferdinand, who along with other teenager boys always requests to be sent to study in America. . As the town starts to thrive a little, there is a local rebellion and the president sends troops to suppress the uprising. e The town again begins to settle however, Salim thinks it is all Fa ade. He meets Raymond, a White academic working on the history of the president. Salim has a brief affair with Yvette, Raymond's wife but ends the affair in bitter disillusionment.

  10. Sensing the growing political unrest, Salim travels back to Englad to meet Nazruddin. The locality is full of immigrant Arabs trying their hands in business. Nazruddin's daughter Kareisha, a pharmacist is betrothed to Salim as he return to Africa to finally settle his thing there. . . On arriving, he finds that his store has been and is now owned by a "state trustee", lazy Th otime. In order to make some money, he starts trading in ivory and hiding some of the cash. However, Metty informs the police and Salim is arrested. Ferdinand, who is now commissioner, arranges his release but instructs him to leave the place the very next day. Salim escapes the place through a steamer that is attacked midway, but somehow, he is able to rescue himself from gunshots. .