The Mimic Men: A World Without a Center

"We, here on our island, handling books printed in this world, and using its goods, had been abandoned and forgotten. We pretended to be real, to be learning, to be preparing ourselves for life, we mimic men of the New World, one unknown corner of it, with all its reminders of the corruption that came so quickly to the new."

_pg.146 The Mimic Men

V. S. Naipaul's novel The Mimic Men is the fictional memoir of protaganist Ralph Singh. Written in a boarding house in London, it is a retrospective, first-person account of Ralph's life, ranging over his childhood in the fictional West Indian island of Isabella, his university days in London where he meets and marries his wife, and his somewhat successful business and political careers back in Isabella. Yet with all the particular details, Ralph Singh is also a prototypical colonial character, an intelligent and sensitive person confused by the plural but unequal society he's raised in and for whom identity is a primary issue. Because the story is related through flashbacks and memories, Ralph has the opportunity to weave in reflection with narrative and self-analysis with exposition. In the process of reading, the reader finds certain words and phrases occurring again and again, the repetition establishing the threads of themes that slowly emerge from the novel like a raised embossed pattern. Ralph admits himself that his feelings, his actions, his life fit in with `patterns.' Read in this way, The Mimic Men is very useful and I will endeavor to examine how Ralph's sense of alienation, his experiences as a colonial politician, his struggle with a sense of personal identity, and his inability to connect with others are linked as various expressions of Ralph's sense of loss and disconnectedness. These experiences and reactions also fit into general patterns of colonized persons acting within `typical' colonial situations. Finally, I will briefly discuss the novel's dark conclusion and its apparent dismissal of the possibility of transformation.

Corruption Corrupts Utterly

Everywhere Ralph Singh looks he sees `taint' and `corruption.' History itself is corrupt. Isabella's history of slavery has left the island with a 'taint' Ralph wishes to escape from while the result of his own East Indian immigrant history, in which he "is the late intruder, the picturesque Asiatic, linked to neither" [master nor slave] (78), serves to complete a "little bastard world" (122). As a result, the inhabitants of Isabella compose "a haphazard, disordered and mixed society" (55). The history of Trinidad, on which the portrayal of Isabella is based, confirms that for decades the East Indian community suffered unique discrimination due to their initial economic situation as indentured servants and to their desire to adhere to their traditions and religion and, as of the 1970's, they still economically lagged behind all other ethnic groups on the island (Dookeran, Calcutta to Caroni, p. 80). Even in describing his success in real estate, land ownership rather than business being an historically encouraged endeavor for East Indians in Trinidad (Hintzen, p. 25), Ralph speaks of his success as a gift that is tainted, that "sets us apart, it distorts us" (61) and the name of the land development, Kripalville, is "corrupted to Crippleville" (59).

Ralph, his wife, and the social set they associate with are also apart from the rest of Isabellan society. The members of this group, like Ralph, have "all studied abroad and married abroad;" they were "a group to whom the island was a setting" and for whom "the past had been cut away" (55). They represent what Frantz Fanon calls an `underdeveloped middle class,' the result of an anemic colonial economy that cannot support a vital middle class engaged in production as financiers or captains of industry but rather engaged in intermediary activities like small-scale business, agriculture, and the professions (149-50). Ralph Singh's interests and those of his social set epitomize "the profoundly cosmopolitan mold" (Fanon, 149) of this class' mind-set for whom the 'narrowness' of island life is a constant contradiction.

The corruption Ralph perceives in history and the society it produces, and his resultant sense of alienation from both, permeates Ralph's experience of every aspect of public life in Isabella, especially politics. When Ralph is a child, his father doesn't return home one day and Ralph and his family later learn that he has become the leader of a small quasi -religious, quasi-revolutionary group. Yet his father's `movement' is only one of many movements, "part of the unrest in the colonies...just before the war" characterized by labor strikes and general agitation for improved economic conditions (127). (In Trinidad prior to the second World War, labor and working class mobilization did indeed lead the British Parliament to agree to transfer some aspects of colonial control to local representatives even though many of these reforms were never implemented (Hintzen, 30)). But Ralph learns a political lesson that he rediscovers briefly during his own political career: His father's movement, politically impotent as it is, is positive in that it brings people together if only to share their despair and anger, it 'generates comradeship.' Yet when Ralph suspects that his father's group is responsible for the slaughter of a prize racehorse he sees how pitiful and useless the gesture is, being as it is "performed by a shipwrecked man on a desert island" (142). Ralph decides the movement itself is weak and ultimately pointless and his horror at being connected to another strand of the corruption he sees all around him is made palpable as if he were forced to consume "tainted oil" and "raw flesh" (142), phrases repeated elsewhere and possible allusions to the morally corrupt and cannibalistic nature of a colonial society built on slavery and indentured servitude.

Ralph's own involvement in Isabella's nationalist movement and new transitional government is also ultimately disillusioning, confirming that promised independence does not easily offer chances to create a new uncorrupted society but rather is tainted from the outset by the history that has gone before. Ralph's recounting of both his part in the nationalist movement and the resultant difficulties encountered by the transitional government are experiences common to former colonies, following a pattern that "has happened in a twenty countries" (190). He is proud that, unlike his father's movement which could only "disturb the peace," he and Browne and their supporters can, by virtue of their education and `courage', "question the system itself" (190) as they also set out to tap the collective power of the people "who responded and could be manipulated" (197). And how befitting and ultimately ironic that they plan and strategize in Ralph's house, an homage to Roman architecture and a reminder of Rome as a dual symbol of both an ancient Western democracy and of a once mighty imperial power. But their rhetoric and ideas are not original or tailored to their situation but "borrowed phrases" from other revolutions in other places (198). Nothing new is created, their efforts are tainted by the past, and in the midst of their victory when they win seats in the government Ralph realizes that `the people's' support gives them no real power to create a new society since their movement does not have the backing of either organized labor or capital (204-5).

Their lack of real power also makes Ralph's and Browne's efforts at governance futile since they are stopped at every meaningful turn by those who truly hold power. They realize the government cannot run without the help of colonial officials and government aid from London (209) and the island's natural resources are already contracted out to multi-national firms with no chance of renegotiation (216). They cannot nationalize their industries or expel expatriate civil servants because London will not allow it (220). Ralph realizes that his and his companions' efforts have been pointless and learns "that success changes nothing" (203); the island is still under the colonial yoke and they are "compelled to cater to the interests of those powerful actors that they cannot control" (Hintzen 9). This outcome conjoins with Fanon's contention that "in the majority of cases, for 95 per cent of the population of underdeveloped countries, independence brings no immediate change" (75). But this does not prevent the various local political elites of Isabella from beginning to fight over what scraps of power or influence they perceive they could have as representatives or agents for the old colonial power and the lines of division between the locals become more and more racially drawn, not an unusual consequence between "men who distrusted each other and saw their own power as nothing more than bluff" (219). Given that a colonial government is specifically structured to protect and promote the interests of a small group of colonizers, being an instrument of both class and racial domination (Hintzen, 4-5), the gradual infiltration of local elites does not fundamentally change its structure or purpose. As in Trinidad in the 1950's where "racial issues soon destroyed any potential for lower class solidarity" (Hintzen,43), Ralph is accused of attempting to create racial divisions (239) and dismissed from his political party and his government post amid a period of communal tension and racial violence. It is surely no comfort that "decolonization is always a violent phenomenon" (Fanon, 35).

The Empty Self

Ralph Singh's life in parenthesis, his business success, marriage, and political career, is thus corrupted by association. Moreover, after an initial albiet shallow idealism, he can't construct any positive meaning out of his political experiences; his slogans are `borrowed phrases' and the impetus of the nationalist effort ran the same course as `twenty' others. He was one of the faceless politicians "made by distress and part of [distress]" (240). But the ultimate hollowness and futility Ralph discovers in business and politics are mere echoes of a much more personal and profound emotional emptiness. Indeed, his entry into politics was prompted by "some little hurt, some little incompleteness" (37) and his perceptions of outside events are colored by and filtered through this internal reality. Though Ralph's public life is significant in that it resonates with the complexities and contradictions inherent in decolonization and post-colonial nationalism, at the heart of Ralph's recounting of his fictional life in The Mimic Men is the story of how and why this sense of personal incompleteness grows to almost destroy him. Ralph is not unaffected by the corruption he perceives all around him. In fact, apart from all the external disorder, Ralph and the reader come to realize that the "chaos lies all within" (192). Reflecting on his adult years in Isabella as a businessman and politician, Ralph writes, "I see that all the activity of these years existing as I have said in my own mind in parenthesis, represented a type of withdrawal, and was part of the injury inflicted on me by the too solid three-dimensional city in which I could never feel myself as anything but spectral, disintegrating, pointless, fluid" (51-2).

Though he is speaking of his traumatic university days in London, Ralph indicates elsewhere that many of his struggles with a sense of identity began during his childhood. His reactions to many of the events in his childhood are similarly characterized by disassociation and emotional withdrawal. He refuses to identify with his family's history in the island, it is simply a place where they have been `shipwrecked,' (97). Instead, in his imagination, he is often a `chieftain' on a beautiful but sparsely populated tropical isle (100,111), and admits "I had been able at certain times to think of Isabella as deserted and awaiting discovery" (146). Ralph is "putting himself in the place of the settler" which Fanon claims a colonized person never ceases to dream of doing (52). This view is only one of many of Ralph's `secret' childhood attitudes that seem to be influenced by his reading, both at school and at home, in which he adopts a `European' or Western view as when he disdains his given `Indian' name and adopts a Western one. Since Isabella's status as a British colony obliged it to model its educational system on English educational patterns in order to provide increased career opportunities for its students, and as James H. Kavanaugh points out, schools are one of the "social apparatuses which have a heavily idealogical function" (312), Ralph is simply responding as a good student when he "freely internalizes an appropriate picture of [his] social world" (Kavanaugh, 310); Ralph accepts the Western European view of the world as the only correct one rather than one possibility among many. Yet this only serves to disorient Ralph, dislocating his sense of place and history from Isabella to London, creating what Albert Memmi calls "a permanent duality" within him (106).

Ralph's conscious and imaginative identification with Britain and the West affects him psychologically in a number of interrelated ways. When he considers his origins, he is descended from a line of "the unimaginative, unenterprising, and oppressed" which is "a cause for deep, silent shame" (83). This fits with Memmi's contention that "love of the colonizer is subtended by a complex of feelings ranging from shame to self-hate" (121). Ralph's sense of shame leads him as a child to withdraw more and more from the people and activities around him and he looks forward to escaping to London and the European landscapes that are his proper backdrop. He conceives of himself as protected by the West, since he thinks he is one of their own, and imagines a "celestial eye" that watches over him (94-5, 111). Just as he disassociates his concept of home from Isabella, Ralph projects authority away from himself toward a symbolic, disembodied eye representing the watchful and superior culture. This projection slowly begins to sap his sense of will and engenders the feeling of helplessness that plagues him more as he grows older. And, as he chronicles, Ralph finds instead that London does not welcome him, he is not in his rightful place after all and he fails to integrate into the ideal culture presented to him through books. From childhood Ralph had disowned Isabellan history and culture, yet he doesn't find a place in British society either.

Memmi discusses Ralph's situation as a common experience among colonized persons who emulate the colonizer: The colonizer simply responds with disdain and makes clear "to the colonized that [his] efforts are in vain," he has simply made himself appear ridiculous (124). Ralph feels estranged from both cultures and experiences a crisis in identity that he never fully recovers from. The result is a persistent and pervasive sense of emotional emptiness. His identity has no culture to center around and he becomes the double, yet hollow hybrid colonial subject that Homi Bhabha examines in "Signs Taken For Wonders" (169). He literally loses a feeling of place, or his sense of identification with a place, and he equates placelessness with loss and disorder (154). This primary experience in London serves to propel Ralph into an accelerating downward spiral of emotional distress, loss, and growing sense of helplessness and futility that color all his adult experiences to follow.

Another consequence of Ralph's amorphous sense of self is that he takes refuge in developing and playing a number of social roles. Unanchored by a coherent identity, he takes a childhood revelation as his cue, "A man was only what he saw of himself in others" (100). As a politician, Ralph affirms that he knew his role (193) and did indeed become what others saw in him (197). Yet, Ralph is always conscious of role-playing since none of his roles ever `fit.' In retrospect, he asks the reader to "understand my unsuitability for the role I had created for myself , as politician, as dandy, as celebrant" (40), therefore one should not be surprised at his "inevitable failure" (184). He asserts, "From playacting to disorder: it is the pattern" (184), yet for Ralph his sense of disorder also led to his roleplaying; he finds himself in a cycle of action and reaction that continually feeds on itself. His failure is certain because of the fact that he feels he must pretend. The colonized "can never succeed in becoming identified with the colonizer, nor even in copying his role correctly" Memmi maintains (124) but Ralph continues to try and play his roles because he feels he has no authentic alternative identity, his real self has been too damaged by his youthful experience in London (57). However, later in his narrative Ralph dates his "poisoning feeling of inadequacy" prior to his first stay in London (179) and confirms his psychological damage began years earlier as a child; his London experience was only his most dramatic confrontation with a personal psychic state that had been developing for some time. Ralph writes, "Certain emotions bridge the years and link unlikely places. Sometimes by this linking the sense of place is destroyed, and we are ourselves alone: the young man, the boy, the child" (154). Thus, the stage was set for Ralph's `dramatic roles' in the early years of his childhood.

Relationships Are Broken Mirrors

Given Ralph's overwhelming sense of inadequacy and dislocation, it is no surprise that all his relationships with others are affected. Ralph is perceptive in recognizing many of his own conflicting feelings in his childhood friends like Hok and Browne. They also internalize feelings of shame and inadequacy regarding their racial and cultural origins. Like Ralph, Hok reads voraciously and no doubt dreams of being anywhere but in Isabella. Browne becomes politically active, but the reader also learns that the plot of his one attempted novel closely resembles that of Uncle Tom's Cabin in which an escaped slave "returns willingly to slavery and death" (156). And, as an adult, Browne still feels ambivalent about his `kinky' hair. Though Browne enters politics in order to eventually help Isabella achieve independence, Ralph claims he too "became a prisoner of his role" (203). Yet, in regards to his school friends in Isabella, Ralph was conscious of already creating distance between himself and others: "So at last, in this matter of relationships at any rate, I began to eliminate and simplify" (112-3). He refuses to attend the farewell dinner his school friends plan for him due to an impulsive "fear of warmth and friendship" (179). Further Ralph is not close to his parents, siblings or other relatives and develops no close or lasting friendships in adulthood.

Therefore, Ralph's most interesting and telling forays into the realms of intimacy occur in his relations with women. Many of these attitudes can also be traced to his childhood experiences. Ralph's description of a dream he has as a young boy, becoming an infant again and seeking comfort and fulfillment at his mother's breasts (116) prefigures the delight and solace he takes in his wife Sandra's breasts. But this dream not only makes him feel ashamed, but the marital intimacy suggested by conceiving of his mother as a `wife' leads him to think of it as a `terrible' word (90). Thus, in later years the temporal comfort Ralph finds in the physical closeness of sexual intimacy does not extend to a greater sense of connection based on love or trust. Instead, the emotional intimacy Ralph discovers with women is never as satisfying as the physical unions and any emotional `buffer zone' he creates with them cannot help him transcend the difficulties he encounters in the greater world around him. From his early sexual encounters with his cousin Sally based on "that shared feeling of self-violation, which was for me security and purity" (155) to his marriage with Sandra, " I felt we had come together for self-defence" (69) to his brief `play-relationship' with Lord Stockwell's daughter, Stella (232), the inevitable corruption creeps in : "But in every relationship I would be aware of taint" (155).

Just as most people who have problems with addictions, Ralph uses sex and his patronage of prostitutes in London and Isabella as a way to fill his sense of emotional emptiness or incompleteness. For Ralph, sex becomes a source of temporary comfort but also a source of `original sin' and corruption and an arena where Ralph again plays out the particular issues of his contradictory existence. Ralph is attracted to Sandra because of her confidence and her `rapaciousness' (an imperial trait?) and he writes, " seemed to me that to attach myself to her was to acquire that protection which she offered, to share some of her quality of being marked, a quality which once was mine but which I had lost" (47). Obviously part of Sandra's attraction is that she is English, she belongs to British culture in a way Ralph never can, and his marriage is simply another strategy to attach himself to this culture. Memmi writes, "A product manufactured by the colonizer is accepted with confidence. His habits, clothing, food, architecture are closely copied, even if inappropriate. A mixed marriage is the extreme expression of this audacious leap" (121). Ralph is also attracted to Stella for similar reasons. Stella's manner "was a way of looking at the city and being in it, a way of appearing to manage it and organize it for a series of separate, perfect pleasures" (231). Both Sandra's and Stella's natural ease in operating within their own culture appears as a unique quality or gift to Ralph. Unable to successfully claim a place for himself in the colonizer's culture, Ralph's relations with women serve either to divert him from this disappointment or as an attempt to bridge the gap.

Ralph's ultimate reaction to both public and personal events is emotional and physical withdrawal. Though his confused sense of identity contributes to an emotional distance between himself and others, further difficulties and a culmination of events intensify this tendency. At one point Ralph writes that he throws himself into various activities because they link him with the `real' world and distract him from his internal reality (57). But fear becomes the mediator between the external and internal, fear of the external propelling him inward where he discovers he has no resources with which to meet it. He fears too close a personal involvement with Browne and the history he represents (188) and he fears `the people' and their destructive potential in the midst of political triumph (197); these lead to his complete denial and withdrawal during the racial riots (241). Emotional withdrawal had become an habitual way to deal with problems early on in his life (145) but Ralph explains to the reader, "Understand only that centre of stillness, that withdrawal, that compassion which was really fear" (40). He writes later that he feared the unreality around him, "it was the fear of the man who feels the veils coming down one by one, muffling his deepest responses, and panics at not being able to tear down the unreality about him to get at the hard, the concrete, where everything becomes simple and ordinary and easy to seize" (72).

But what Ralph really fears is that the world around him is real. The confusion and disorder is incomprehensible to someone who wants, who needs at an emotionally primal level, the `simple and ordinary.' He has rejected the cultural traditions of his people and with them, any comfort of traditional religious teachings. He is unanchored in a sea of chaos and rather than grapple with this reality and continue to fail, Ralph concludes that the corruption, the wrongness of the world can never be put right (207). His only chance for survival is to retreat into the emptiness. Ralph reflects on what he hopes to achieve by writing of his life: "It was my hope to give expression to the restlessness, the deep disorder, which the great explorations, the overthrow in three continents of established social organizations, the unnatural bringing together of peoples who could achieve fulfillment only within the security of their own societies and the landscapes hymned by their ancestors, it was my hope to give partial expression to the restlessness which this great upheaval has brought about" (32). But he realizes he cannot do this because, as he says, "I am too much a victim of that restlessness which was to have been my subject" (32).

No Way Out?

Though I think Naipaul succeeds in what Ralph disclaims, I think The Mimic Men is brilliant in its analysis of the historical legacy of colonialism and some of its political and psychological effects, the issue, even the possibility, of political and personal transformation is hardly raised. Can anything be salvaged from the corruption of the past? Can anything be created that is not suspect? Will every effort and expression of identity by formerly colonized peoples be forever viewed as hopelsslessly entangled mimicry? Is there any dimension of human life or experience that can exist untainted, a source from which one can draw to construct positive meaning as a springboard for transformation? These seem to me very important questions and Naipaul's answers, explicit or implicit, all appear to be No, No, Yes, and No. Ralph Singh gives the reader a comprehensive view of his problems but I don't think his conclusions are the only possible outcome or indeed a real solution.

Sadly, the whole idea of transformation in the novel is itself transformed into sterile acceptance. Ralph's political experience raise the interrelated issues of nationalism, independence, and democracy and serve to introduce the possibility of creating a better society only to discount it. Ralph concludes "The truth of our movement lay in the Roman house, the court inside, the guard outside" (196); in other words, the movement was simply the conceptual abstractions of a small group isolated from the mass of people whose lives their rhetoric sought unsuccessfully to change. Because it is such a common story, the stereotype of ivory-tower idealists who are brought to earth by the first political difficulty or unplanned riot, it doesn't necessarily follow that this is the only possible scenario. But Ralph concludes that the only thing his group creates is drama which has no lasting effect on actual conditions (214). Memmi agrees that colonized society "is a diseased society in which internal dynamics no longer succeed in creating new structures" (98-9) but Ralph never entertains a suggestion like Fanon's that "underdeveloped countries ought to do their utmost find their own particular values and methods and a style which shall be peculiar to them" ( 99). And it is interesting that while Ralph sees so clearly the difficulties facing those who want to change the political and economic conditions in Isabella, he focuses mostly on the pathetic nature of their plight rather than on the British rationalizations and responsibilities for constructing and maintaining the colonial situation. Yet though the lack of "a prescription for undertaking the transition from direct force to a period after decolonization when a new political order achieves moral hegemony, is part of the difficulty we live with today" (Said, "Yeats and Decolonization," 91), as long as people suffer and their lives are adversely affected by these historical conditions one should not declare the war over; not everyone can make his/her final escape to London as Ralph does.

Ralph reaches a similar pessimisstic conclusion regarding his own fate. Every personal endeavor or relationship is tainted from the outset and Ralph discovers nothing in his experiences or in himself that suggests any possibilities for overcoming his initial failures or disappointments; obviously he does not subscribe to Fanon's belief that "shame is a revolutionary sentiment" (14). One of Memmi's statements is apt, "As long as he tolerates colonization, the only possible alternatives for the colonized are assimilation or petrification" (102). Assimilation denied him, Ralph obsesses on his own `extinction' and elects finally to withdraw into an anonymous London boarding house where he belatedly attempts to make sense of his life. Interestingly, this decision is reinforced by Lord Stockwell who tells Ralph of his meeting with Ralph's father. Through implication, Stockwell suggests that Ralph too should withdraw from politics and become a similarly `picturesque' and non-threatening symbol for his people (228-9). Really unable to do anything else, Ralph dutifully and thankfully withdraws and at first, the writing of his memoirs seems to help Ralph discover himself, or rather to recover a basic identity buried within that he can proceed into the future with, this rediscovery being "the [real] whole drama of decolonization" (La Guerre, Calcutta to Caroni, 104). Ralph confesses his gratitude for both the "order, sequence, and regularity" (244) of life at the hotel and for the internal order he creates with the writing of his book (241). He then describes the boarders and equates himself with one particular elderly English woman who, after living as a colonial in a number of former British colonies, has given up the Empire and come home to London (245). But I think Ralph is wrong, he is not like this woman, an expatriate coming home. He is a colonized person of color trying desperately to find a place for himself in the dominant culture who has, by the end of the narrative, simply found a refuge where he can deceive himself that he is safe. Like a moth determined to throw himself into a flame, Ralph hovers around the glittering city of London until he makes one little corner of it his `home.' Though he claims he no longer has the youthful expectations of belonging he once had and he is no longer troubled by the watchful eye in the sky, rather than throwing off the pressures the dominant culture has put on him and, as Eagleton writes, "trying somehow to go right through those estranging definitions to emerge somewhere on the other side" (24), Ralph has instead buried the contradictions he previously struggled with by assuming that these are all in the past. He claims his actions henceforth will be those of a free man (251) but the intensity with which he clings to his small boarding house world casts doubt on this idea. Ralph has not become a whole man because he has not "ceased to define himself through the categories of the colonizers" (Memmi, 152). Instead of expanding, Ralph's sense of identity and consciousness of possibility appear greatly reduced.

One difference, if not a major distinction, between an idealist and a realist is the former's belief in the possibility of transformation. V. S. Naipaul seems to suggest this possibility by The Mimic Men's conclusion yet does not summon an imaginative vision to suggest what this possibility for Ralph might be like. Besides the necessity for believing in the possibility, one needs to make a possibly `irrational' leap of faith to give the process of transformation a chance. One needs to envision something new even when one is surrounded by the monuments of the aged. Though Ralph seems unable to construct a whole identity from the fragments of his life, forever caught in the empty space between two cultures and two identities, the fact that V. S. Naipaul continues to write, rather than withdrawing from life like his character Ralph Singh does, indicates a probable and continuing effort on the author's part to make sense of the world and of his situation, the situation of the formerly colonized. In writing, perhaps Naipaul himself is struggling to imagine an alternative to Ralph Singh's `solution' even though in The Mimic Men the human will to create and to transform is stifled by temperament and circumstance. Though a realist might say that to imagine the post-colonial world being a place where people can transform and reinvent themselves in original ways is to dream a fool's dream, I find that I cannot bear to imagine anything else.


Bhabha, Homi K. "Signs Taken for Wonders: Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under a Tree Outside Delhi, May 1817."

Race, Writing, and Difference. Ed. Henry Louis Gates. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1986.

Dookeran, Winston. "East Indians and the Economy of Trinidad and Tobago," pp. 69-83.

Calcutta to Caroni: The East Indians of Trinidad. Ed. John Gaffar La Guerre. London: Longman Group Limited, 1974.

Eagleton, Terry. "Nationalism: Irony and Commitment," pp.23-39. Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1963.

Hintzen, Percy C. The Costs of Regime Survival: Racial Mobilization, Elite Domination and Control of the state in Guyana and Trinidad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Kavanaugh, James T. "Ideology," pp. 306-20. Critical Terms for Literary Study. Eds. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

La Guerre, John G. "The East Indian Middle Class Today," pp. 98-107. Calcutta to Caroni: The East Indians of Trinidad. Ed. John Gaffar La Guerre. London: Longman Group Limited, 1974.

Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. New York: The Orion Press, 1965.

Naipaul, V. S. The Mimic Men. London: Penguin Books Limited, 1967.

Said, Edward W., "Yeats and Decolonization," pp. 69-95. Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.

© 1996 Shirley Galloway

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