V. S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men: Disillusionment with the Metropolis, Cosmopolitanism and Colonial Education

Weiwei Xu

Abstract


This paper aims to identify the disillusionment with metropolitan-centred cosmopolitanism in Naipaul’s The Mimic Men. The immigrants are chosen as the focal point to reveal the dissociation between them and the metropolis. Examining Naipaul’s description of the immigrant population’s metropolitan life, I contend that the cosmopolitan ideology is in stark contrast with the reality of coexistence, intermingling and hybridisation. Mere coexistence of people of heterogeneous cultural, national, religious or other identity formations cannot guarantee the uptake or expression of cosmopolitan openness. Making using of cosmopolitan theories in marketing and sociology and taking subaltern and third world experiences as forces of intervention and interruption into account, the fraudulence and infeasibility of cosmopolitanism as hedonistic consumption of global products and luxurious stylisation of metropolitan life in the novel is highlighted. This study reveals that it is colonial education that builds unreal colonial fantasy of the metropolis and cosmopolitanism on the one hand and leads to disillusionment on the other.


Keywords


Colonial fantasy, disillusionment, metropolis, immigrant, cosmopolitan openness, consumption, colonial education

Full Text:

PDF

References


Ball, J. C. (2004). Imagining London: Postcolonial fiction and the transnational metropolis. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Caldwell, M., Blackwell, K., & Tulloch, K. (2006). Cosmopolitanism as a consumer orientation: Replicating and extending prior research. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 9(2), 126-139.

Ceraso, S., & Connolly, P. (2009). The destabilization of masculinity in A House for Mr. Biswas and The Mimic Men. Mosaic, 42(3), 109-126.

Dhareshwar, V. (1989). Self-fashioning, colonial habitus, and double exclusion: V. S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men. Criticism, 31(1), 75-102.

Friedman, J. (1990). Being in the world: Globalization and localization. Theory, Culture & Society, 7(2), 311-328.

Grinstein, A., & Wathieu, L. (2012). Happily (mal)adjusted: Cosmopolitan identity and expatriate adjustment. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(4), 337-345.

Halloran, T. F. (2007). Politics and identity in V. S. Naipaul’s third world. Atenea, 27(1), 121-134.

King, B. (2003). V. S. Naipaul. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Naipaul, V. S. (2002a). An area of darkness. London, England: Picador.

Naipaul, V. S. (2002b). The mimic men. London, England: Picador.

Naipaul, V. S. (2004). Literary occasions: Essays. London, England: Picador.

Nazareth, P. (1977). The Mimic Men as a study of corruption. In R. D. Hamner (Ed), Critical perspectives on V. S. Naipaul (pp. 137-152). Washington, D. C.: Three Continents Press.

Nightingale, P. (1987). Journey through darkness: The writing of V. S. Naipaul. St Lucia, Australia: University of Queensland Press.

Pieterse, J. N. (2006). Emancipatory cosmopolitanism: Towards an agenda. Development and Change, 37(6), 1247-1257.

Rouse, E. (1997). Naipaul: An interview with Ewart Rouse. In F. Jussawalla (Ed.), Conversations with V. S. Naipaul (pp. 10-13). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Skrbis, Z., & Woodward, I. (2007). The ambivalence of ordinary cosmopolitanism: Investigating the limits of cosmopolitan openness. The Sociological Review, 55(4), 730-747.

Thompson, C. J., & Tambyah, S. K. (1999). Trying to be cosmopolitan. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(3), 214-241.

White, L. (1975). V. S. Naipaul: A critical introduction. London, England: Macmillan.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.2p.108

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.