A House For Mr Biswas

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The protagonist of V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas, Mr. Biswas, has never had the opportunity to develop a sense of self, as he always finds himself in powerless situations. He realizes that owning a house symbolizes personal power and allows him to take control of his life. However, he is caught in the grasp of feudalism and the rigid social structure of Hanuman House. By owning a house, Mr. Biswas gains personal power and lives by his own rules. The dollhouse episode is symbolic of Mr. Biswas’ feelings of owning his dream house and challenging the norms of society. Despite facing obstacles, he does what he wants and lives a fulfilling life, free from taking orders from anyone.

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Ever since his birth, Mr. Biswas – the main protagonist of V.S. Naipauls AHouse for Mr. Biswas – never has an opportunity to develop a sense ofself. He is always finding himself in situations that make him feelpowerless. Due to this powerlessness he is always in situations where heis having people tell him what to do. He never has any personal power. Mr. Biswas realizes that with money and possessions a person tends tohave more power in society. Indeed, for Mr. Biswas owning a houseserves as a symbol which illustrates his ability to realize a self-identityand gain personal power to take control of his life.

Mr. Biswas is caught in the grasp of feudalism. He is trapped in therigid class structure that controls his society. He is always listening toothers and never makes decisions about his own life or well-being. Mr.

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Biswas is a wanderer with no place he could call his own, with no familyexcept that which he was to attempt to create out of the engulfing worldof the Tulsis (40). Hanuman House is the paradigm of the feudal society.

It has a hierarchy and very strict social structure. The Gods, Seth , andMrs. Tulsi serve as the hierarchy and rulers of Hanuman House. Everyoneelse is just another face in the mob of people who work to benefit theTulsis while sacrificing their own well-being.

Mr. Biswas doesnt own anything that has much value. He hasenough clothes to hang on a nail. By owning a house Mr. Biswas gainspersonal power – something that he never has- which allowed him to feelthat he was important. He was able to live by his own rules , support hisfamily, and do things for his benefit and not for the benefit of others. Mr.

Biswas is now able to truly live by his motto: paddle your own canoe (107). This new found personal power allows Mr. Biswas to live a fulfillinglife that he can be proud of. He never has to take orders from anyoneever again because he is the master of himself.

The episode with the dollhouse is a symbolic of Mr. Biswas feelingof owning his own house. In Hanuman House everyone is supposed to beequal. Equality is a virtue in the Tulsi household. Nobody is supposed tochallenge this idea because it is seen as disrespect to the Tulsi family. Mr.

Biswas purchase of the dollhouse for his daughter , Savi, manifests histrue feelings and aspirations. He wants the best for his family. Thisdollhouse is the epitome of his dream house. This house represents whathe wants to own for himself. By owning this house Mr. Biswas is able tochallenge the ideas of this feudal society. He conquers all of the obstaclesthat are placed in front of him by this rigid society. When Shama crushesthe house into a million pieces this is a symbol of all of the obstacles that Mr. Biswas comes across. He is not going to let this dream of his becrushed because it isnt the way which is accepted in this society. Hedoes what he wants to do and doesnt care what is going to be said aboutBibliography:

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A House For Mr Biswas. (2018, Dec 22). Retrieved from


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