Migration In One Out Of Many By V.S. Naipaul And The Old Chief Mshlanga By Doris Lessing

1012 words - 4 pages

Migration of the human population began over a million years ago beginning in Africa and later across Asia and Europe. Since the beginning of human existence, migration has continued through both voluntary migration within one’s country or elsewhere and through involuntary migration, which includes the slave trade and human trafficking. The movement of labor to capital can simply illustrate modern migration, in its purest form. Because of the constant migration of humans across the globe, the assimilation of many cultures was forced. This in turn led to inherent problems such as cultural alienation and cultural fragmentation to exist within society. In each of the short stories, “One Out of Many” written by Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul and “The Old Chief Mshlanga” written by Nobel laureate Doris Lessing, the authors are able to successfully express the subject matter of cultural alienation and fragmentation through careful analysis of class and race in each of the stories respective societies.
In “One Out of Many,” Naipaul uses the literary device known as “stream of consciousness” in order to efficiently tell the story of immigrants who emigrate to the United States of America. Naipaul tells the story through an Indian man by the name of Santosh, who is emigrating from Bombay to America with his “master”. Santosh’s actions and thoughts of American life and culture is demonstrated unequivocally throughout the work. Naipaul begins his exposition of cultural alienation through the analysis of class. The author allows the reader to observe Santosh’s discomfort while he is on the plane traveling to America. (Norton 1662) Through this observation, the reader notes Santosh’s loss of his traditional Indian caste identity and his subsequent acquirement of his new hybrid identity. Therefore, He was now simply considered an impoverished Indian immigrant. Thus, Naipaul incorporates the first element of cultural alienation, class.
Naipaul also analyzes the concept of race when considering the subject matter of cultural alienation. In the text, Naipaul does this by primarily focusing on the hubshi or black people within Washington, D.C.—the setting of the story. The apex of this observation rests with the hubshi woman that is mentioned multiple times within the text. The hubshi woman principally represents Santosh’s fear and struggle to the aforementioned dual identity that is unavoidably emerging. Because of this constant battle with himself, Santosh continues to perpetuate a racist mindset, culminating with the quote: “It is written in our books, that it is indecent and wrong for a man of our blood to embrace the hubshi woman.” (Norton 1668). Furthermore, Santosh remarks, “Americans have remained to me, as people not quite real, as people temporarily from television.” (Norton 1668). Through this statement, the reader is able to observe Santosh’s inability to relate to American society. This becomes increasingly important, as Santosh must resolve this...

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