One Out of Many by V.S. Naipaul. Presented by Ice, Vivian & Julie. V.S. Naipaul. Born in Trinidad, on August 17, 1932.
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Presented by Ice, Vivian & Julie
Born in Trinidad, on August 17, 1932.
The family moved to Port of Spain, where Naipaul attended Queen’s Royal College. In 1948, he was awarded a Trinidad government scholarship, then studied literature at University College, Oxford. Naipaul worked as a free-lance writer with the BBC, hosting the program "Carribbean Voices," and with the literary journal, The New Statesman. Since then, he has resided in London, travelling extensively and writing many critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and essays. In 1990, Naipaul wasknighted by the Royal family.
In 2001 he won Nobel Prize in Literature.
V.S. Naipaul tells stories which show us ourselves and the reality we live in. His use of language is simple, of strong words, and expresses the humanity of all of us.
a. Santosh’s employer
d. a hubshi maid
＊Experiencing struggles in life p.2735
He is a man full of American dream. He wants to become somebody in America, but frustrated by the reality.
He wants to promote his own position, so he can be better than the other Indians in Washington.
＊Self-isolated: Pp. 2726, 2729, 2743, 2744; Live with secrets: Pp. 2732, 2738
＊Servile nature: p. 2739
＊A restaurant owner; a small man about fifty years old; looks worried most of the time
＊Modest (p. 2735) & fussy (p. 2738)
＊ Likes to talk philosophy (actually something meaningless): Pp. 2738-39
Santosh was a happy cook in Bombay. One day, Santosh’s employer was transferred to Washington, and Santosh went there with him. Then the life-style in Washington was different from that in Bombay. Santosh met the hubshi woman, who worked on his floor in the same apartment, and he had sex with her. After a long walk, Santosh met Priya. Santosh felt living with his old employer was in pain, so he decided to work for Priya as a cook. Because of Santosh’s illegal identity, he lived with anxiety every day.
Later, Priya suggested that Santosh marry with the hubshi woman. In this way, he could be lawful to gain the green card and the legal identity. When Santosh heard those words, he thought of this action as the disgrace, but he still proposed to the hubshi woman. She agreed. Finally Santosh became a legal citizen.
a. Hope — “ And even while these thoughts were in my head ……with trees and a fountain where – and it was like ……to the green circle. “ (2728, par 3 from the top)
b. American Dream — “It became my ambition to walk to that green circle with the fountain where, on my … one day I got there. “ (2741, par 2 from the bottom)
“I understood I was a prisoner. I accepted this and adjusted. I learned to live within the apartment, and I was even calm.” (2729, par 5 from the bottom) “I felt a hole in my stomach. I couldn’t … then I had to go up to my room again, … I hadn’t escaped; I had never been free. I had … I couldn’t turn back.” (2742, par 6 from the top)
Cupboard, apartment and room —Prison
＊ Cupboard, apartment and room — Prison Mirror— Mental status“But I was falling. Was it … to study my face in the mirror. I cannot easily believe it myself now, but … could pass without my looking in the mirror; then it … that served as identification alone.” (2731, par 2 from the top) “And every day the mirror told its own tale. Without exercise, with the sickening of my heart and my mind, I was losing my looks. My face had become … to lose them.” (2739, par 2 from the top)
Cupboard, apartment and room — PrisonHubshi woman — Destruction/ Death “A few days later I had my adventure. The hubshi woman came in, moving among my employer’s … I saw the moment, helplessly, as one of dishonor.” (2733, par 6 from the top)“I said to her in English, ‘Will you marry me?’” (2744, par 6 from the bottom)
(2723, par 6, 7, 8)
(2725, par 7), (2726, par 2, L3)
Cleanliness (Santosh learns “the real life” of the American from TV) (2730, par 2, L7)
Religion (Indians take it as a holy thing, but the Americans do not take the ancient temple of India as a big deal) (2732, par 2 from the bottom)
－ Inner struggle with the secrets－
“Now here was a victory. It was only after it happened that I realized how badly I had needed such a victory, how far, gaining my freedom, … my senses revived. But in this city what was there to feed my senses? There were no walks to be taken, no idle conversations with understanding friends …” (2741, par 7, beg. with “Now”)
“ I saw then that victory I had had was not something I had worked for, but luck; and that luck was only fate’s cheating, giving an illusion of power.” (2741, par 3 from the bottom)
－Try to find a way out of the plight (alienation/ isolation), and set up an ambition to relieve－
“But that illusion lingered…I began to go out walking in the afternoons….with the fountain.” (2741, par 2 from the bottom)
－Then, he realized he had never escaped, never been free－
“I was alone. I hadn’t escape. I had never been free. I had been abandoned. I was like nothing; I had made myself nothing. And I couldn’t turn back.” (2742, par 5 from the bottom)
1. What does the title “One Out of Many” mean?
2. Do you think that Santosh really was free in the
end of the story?
3. How is the life-style in Washington different from
that in Bombay ?
4. Why does Santosh live/work painfully and
frighteningly in Washington? Why doesn’t he go
back to Bombay?
8 May 2006 <http://nobelprize.org/literature/laureates/2001/>. (You can view Naipaul’s biography, Nobel lecture and interview in this site.)