Literary Symbolism in Novels of Exile Book Review by Quality Writers

Literary Symbolism in Novels of Exile
A review of the books "A Bend in the River" by V.S. Naipaul and "The Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys.
# 101714 | 1,396 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Feb 29, 2008 in Anthropology (African) , History (African) , Literature (English) , Literature (World)

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This paper analyzes the symbolism behind two distinct novels that deal with issues of exile, political strife and social turmoil - V.S. Naipaul's "A Bend in the River" and "The Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys. The paper explains how both books utilize nature in many ways as an association and correlation to the themes in their respective novels. The paper also looks at how there is a sense of duality in both books, as nature can depict a tide of change in addition to a resistance by a people to maintain tradition and a way of life that is invaded by unnatural intruders. The paper also discusses how the interpretation of literary symbols in classic novels has always been imperative to understanding the full scope of an author's message. Additionally, the paper shows that both Naipual and Rhys utilize nature to formulate strong symbolic meanings and associate them to the domination of European culture and the notion that colonization fragments Africa from its way of life.

From the Paper:

"Naipaul's main character Salim in A Bend in the River takes a ritual journey through Africa which is loaded with numerous metaphors and 'coming of age' events. Salim's realization of the neurosis during colonization and the indigenous social conflict is especially realized when he travels outside of Africa. In his education, he encounters a great deal of realities that shape his perception of Westernization and he quickly begins to realize the pending abomination that is to result from Western influence in his homeland. To further indicate this importance, Naipaul utilizes water to paint a picture of stillness and change. This duality extends to the natural resources that surround the river, similar to the journey of Conrad in The Heart of Darkness. The contrast here is not the personal battle against Africa, Salim is more cognizant of his native surroundings and understands the futility and destruction that will be realized with the synthesis of two conflicting ideologies."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Naipual, V. S. A Bend in the River. New York: Vintage 1989 (reissue).
  • Rhys, Jean. The Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin 2002 (New edition).

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

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