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

Weiwei Xu


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.


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

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


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