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Migration in One Out of Many by V.S. Naipaul and The Old Chief Mshlanga by Doris Lessing

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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 subseque...


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... who are subservient to them. This, however, is reconciled through research of Lessing’s literary perspective. Lessing believes that a person needs space in order to find their purpose in the world. In “The Old Chief Mshlanga”, Lessing allows the narrator to find that space in the community in which she lives.
In both of these short stories, both Naipaul and Lessing explore the topic of post-colonial cultural identity though a diverse lens. Primarily, these authors explore the context of race, and class, something that prevalent in all of our lives wherever we come from. By opening these diverse lanes of communication through literature, each author has only made their country a better but the world as well, i.e. the mission of Nobel Laureates.



Works Cited

Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. Print.



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