Rethinking Colonial Discourse in The Mimic Men

Sangeeta Mahesh Mahesh


This paper highlights the portrayal of newly independent colonies by V.S. Naipaul in his novel, The Mimic Men. In his early novels Naipaul was mainly engaged in remembering his personal experiences in the fictional form in an attempt to visualize his own displacement. With the writing of House, the problems had been partly resolved. Now he did not want to confine himself as a regional writer, so he wrote some of his novels to establish himself as a universal writer. In Mimic Men,  he has portrayed not only the problems of alienation but also the struggle of the people to gain recognition and identity. In The Mimic Men, through the character of Mr. Ralph, the protagonist of the novel, he has tried to focus on broader post colonial themes of power and freedom. His failures at the level of personal life are indicative of a larger national failure. In this novel V.S. Naipaul has given expression to the chaos, confusion and disorder prevailed in the contemporary colonial society. The social analysis which he attempts in The Mimic Men is not confined to the West Indies but extends to the entire Third World. Mimic is one of the most optimistic of Naipul’s later novels. At the end of the novel, Ralph Singh can still claim that he has "cleared the decks" and prepared himself for fresh action.


Mimic men, colonial discourse, identity crisis, power, independence, Ralph singh, alienation

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Mohan, Champa Rao, Post Colonial Situation in the Novels of V.S. Naipaul (New Delhi : Atlantic, 2004).

Naipaul, V.S., The Mimic Men (Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1969).


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