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One Out of Many by V.S. Naipaul

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1 One Out of Many by V.S. Naipaul
Presented by Ice, Vivian & Julie

2 V.S. Naipaul Born in Trinidad, on August 17, 1932.
The family moved to Port of Spain, where Naipaul attended Queen’s Royal College. In 1948, he was awarded a Trinidad government scholarship, then studied literature at University College, Oxford. Naipaul worked as a free-lance writer with the BBC, hosting the program "Carribbean Voices," and with the literary journal, The New Statesman. Since then, he has resided in London, travelling extensively and writing many critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and essays. In 1990, Naipaul was knighted by the Royal family. In 2001 he won Nobel Prize in Literature. V.S. Naipaul tells stories which show us ourselves and the reality we live in. His use of language is simple, of strong words, and expresses the humanity of all of us.

3 Characters a Santosh’s employer b Santosh c Priya d a hubshi maid

4 Santosh’s employer He was seconded by his firm to Government service and was posted to Washington. Santosh decided to go with him. Santosh always called him “Sahib,” which means master.

5 Santosh *Experiencing struggles in life p.2735 *American dream:
He is a man full of American dream. He wants to become somebody in America, but frustrated by the reality.  *Dissatisfied: He wants to promote his own position, so he can be better than the other Indians in Washington. *Self-isolated: Pp. 2726, 2729, 2743, 2744; Live with secrets: Pp. 2732, 2738 *Servile nature: p. 2739

6 Priya *A restaurant owner; a small man about fifty years old; looks worried most of the time *Modest (p. 2735) & fussy (p. 2738)  * Likes to talk philosophy (actually something meaningless): Pp  

7 The relationship between Santosh and Priya
The relationship between Santosh and Priya is somewhat like that between Gogo and Didi in Waiting for Godot—both of them stay together due to their mutual need, and they rely on each other. Santosh feels safe because of Priya’s solidity (p ). Next, in this story, Santosh is more rational; he knows what he wants and what his goal is, but Priya is beat by reality; therefore, Priya is not so much eager to achieve his goal. Restaurant is his world. Priya suggests Santosh that he keep a simple life, without too much ambition, get married, and bear children. This would lead Santosh to become a citizen, a free man in the fastest way.  At the beginning, Santosh refused, but finally, he accepts Priya’s suggestion, gets married with the hubshi woman, gets the green card, and becomes a legal citizen.

8 a hubshi maid She worked at the supermarket and she was a cashier. Finally, Santosh married her, got the green card and became a legal citizen. "Habshi" is a derogatory word in current Arabic just like "negro/negress" in English.

9 Summary Santosh was a happy cook in Bombay. One day, Santosh’s employer was transferred to Washington, and Santosh went there with him. Then the life-style in Washington was different from that in Bombay. Santosh met the hubshi woman, who worked on his floor in the same apartment, and he had sex with her. After a long walk, Santosh met Priya. Santosh felt living with his old employer was in pain, so he decided to work for Priya as a cook. Because of Santosh’s illegal identity, he lived with anxiety every day.

10 Later, Priya suggested that Santosh marry with the hubshi woman
Later, Priya suggested that Santosh marry with the hubshi woman. In this way, he could be lawful to gain the green card and the legal identity. When Santosh heard those words, he thought of this action as the disgrace, but he still proposed to the hubshi woman. She agreed. Finally Santosh became a legal citizen.

11 Symbols * Fountain: a. Hope — “ And even while these thoughts were in my head ……with trees and a fountain where – and it was like ……to the green circle. “ (2728, par 3 from the top) b. American Dream — “It became my ambition to walk to that green circle with the fountain where, on my … one day I got there. “ (2741, par 2 from the bottom)

12 Cupboard, apartment and room —Prison
“I understood I was a prisoner. I accepted this and adjusted. I learned to live within the apartment, and I was even calm.” (2729, par 5 from the bottom) “I felt a hole in my stomach. I couldn’t … then I had to go up to my room again, … I hadn’t escaped; I had never been free. I had … I couldn’t turn back.” (2742, par 6 from the top)

13 * Cupboard, apartment and room — Prison Mirror— Mental status “But I was falling. Was it … to study my face in the mirror. I cannot easily believe it myself now, but … could pass without my looking in the mirror; then it … that served as identification alone.” (2731, par 2 from the top)   “And every day the mirror told its own tale. Without exercise, with the sickening of my heart and my mind, I was losing my looks. My face had become … to lose them.” (2739, par 2 from the top)

14 Cupboard, apartment and room — Prison Hubshi woman — Destruction/ Death “A few days later I had my adventure. The hubshi woman came in, moving among my employer’s … I saw the moment, helplessly, as one of dishonor.” (2733, par 6 from the top) “I said to her in English, ‘Will you marry me?’” (2744, par 6 from the bottom)

15 Cultural Differences Both of Santosh and his master are aware that they may live another life style in Washington (2723, par 6, 7, 8) Modern city and electric city (showing a totally different view from Bombay) (2725, par 7), (2726, par 2, L3) Santosh disapproves the dress style of American (showing the different life style between the rich and the poor) (2728, par 2, L3) 

16 Cleanliness (Santosh learns “the real life” of the American from TV) (2730, par 2, L7)
Religion (Indians take it as a holy thing, but the Americans do not take the ancient temple of India as a big deal) (2732, par 2 from the bottom)

17 Racial Discrimination --- American / Indian / Hubshi
the airline girl shows her dislike of him (e.g. 2724, the middle par, L5; last par, L5) The girl in the restaurant sees Santosh as a barbarian (e.g. 2728, the first new par, L3) Hubshi (Derogatory Indian term for African blacks), and Santosh calls them “wild race” (e.g. 2726, par 2, L9)  Cleaning (Santosh thinks the blacks won’t do cleaning in real life (e.g , par 4) Discrimination /dishonour (having sex, Santosh takes the blacks as debasement just like animals)—(e.g. 2731, the first new par, L8)

18 Theme - Inner struggle with the secrets -
“I felt burdened by my secrets. Once I had none; now I had so many…. My mind fastened on to these causes, and the effect of this was that my sadness became like a sickness of the soul…now the responsibility was mine and mine alone…. I remembered that in the early days of my escape I had thought I was in charge of myself.” (2738, par 4-5) To pretend he is strong, he seizes the occasional chance to raise his value up-“ I said, “Sahib, I couldn’t stay on for less than a hundred and twenty-five.” (2741, L8)

19 -The temporary victory brings the extended frustration-
“Now here was a victory. It was only after it happened that I realized how badly I had needed such a victory, how far, gaining my freedom, … my senses revived. But in this city what was there to feed my senses? There were no walks to be taken, no idle conversations with understanding friends …” (2741, par 7, beg. with “Now”)

20 - The disappointment- “ I saw then that victory I had had was not something I had worked for, but luck; and that luck was only fate’s cheating, giving an illusion of power.” (2741, par 3 from the bottom)

21 -Try to find a way out of the plight (alienation/ isolation), and set up an ambition to relieve-
“But that illusion lingered…I began to go out walking in the afternoons….with the fountain.” (2741, par 2 from the bottom) -Then, he realized he had never escaped, never been free- “I was alone. I hadn’t escape. I had never been free. I had been abandoned. I was like nothing; I had made myself nothing. And I couldn’t turn back.” (2742, par 5 from the bottom)

22 Eventually, he gave up. (accept the cruel fate)
“I have closed my mind and heart to the English language,… I do not want to understand or learn any more.” (2744, the last paragraph)  “I am a simple man who decided to act and see for himself, and it is as though I have had several lives. I do not wish to add to these. Some afternoons I walk to the circle with the fountain… All that my freedom has brought me is the knowledge that I have a face and have a body, that I must feed this body and clothe this body for a certain number of years. Then it will be over.”

23 Study Questions 1. What does the title “One Out of Many” mean?
2. Do you think that Santosh really was free in the end of the story? 3. How is the life-style in Washington different from that in Bombay ? 4. Why does Santosh live/work painfully and frighteningly in Washington? Why doesn’t he go back to Bombay?

24 Works Cited Liu, Cecilia. Modern/Postmodern English Literature: One Out of Many May <> Naipaul, V.S. “One Out of Many.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams, et al. 7th ed. Vol. 2. New York: Norton, The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 (V. S. Naipaul). 8 May <>. (You can view Naipaul’s biography, Nobel lecture and interview in this site.) Okun, Zach. Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. Spring May <>.

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