The Theme of Alienation in V. S. Naipaul’s 1970s Novels

Weiwei XU


V. S. Naipaul’s conscious extension of localities, cultural and historical horizons in his 1970s novels (In a Free State, Guerillas, and A Bend in the River) seems to be paradoxical with his inward-looking exploration of alienation. This paper draws on the theories of alienation of Fritz Pappenheim and Richard Schacht to divide Naipaul’s representation of alienation into two categories: alienation with others and self-alienation. The overarching theme of alienation in Naipaul’s 1970s novels is analysed in the realm of postcolonial concepts like displacement, migration, otherness and Diaspora. By doing so, it can be concluded that Naipaul develops the sense of alienation to a universal phenomenon for all human beings in the postcolonial world.


Alienation; Naipaul; Displacement; Otherness; Postcolonialism

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