Essay on Foster - Twentieth Century Hero

Essay on Foster - Twentieth Century Hero

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Samuel Selvon's second novel "An Island Is a World" (1955) introduces the readers to the middle-class protagonist, Foster. As the narrative unfolds, Foster is exposed as an introspective cogitating protagonist whose actions do not positively correlate with his thought processes. He can be seen as, "a character whose attractiveness or interest consists of the inability to perform deeds of bravery, courage or generosity." Consequently, it can be said that Foster possesses traits of the common unheroic working-class protagonist present in twentieth century literature. His progress in terms of evolution is cyclical, paralleling the arrangement of the novel which "is circular; its beginning is its end, and the prologue is in effect an epilogue."

Foster is different from Selvon's first protagonist, Tiger, in "A Brighter Sun" who had an intimate relationship with the land. Tiger is of peasant background whereas Foster belongs to the "thought-burdened middle-class." Foster, like the author himself, comes from an urban middle-class background and enjoyed the benefits of "creolized life: social freedom, sufficient leisure, and an enviable general mobility." Tiger on the other hand is not endowed with these characteristics but must negotiate a life that he inherited through tradition. He knows poverty, is forced into an arranged marriage and is initially illiterate. However, he is able to transcend these obstacles because he has a clear aspiration and actively goes about to achieve the goals he has set for himself.

Foster seems to be "afflicted by an existential despair" and his mission in life remains ambiguous. Foster demonstrates an inherent passivity. He refuses to be drawn into decisive action. At his brother's wedding he m...


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...ck, Roydon. The Novels of Samuel Selvon. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Ibid.

Ibid

Barratt, Harold. "An Island Is Not a World: A Reading of Sam Selvon's An Island Is a World." Ariel 27.2 (April 1966), 25-34.

Salick, Roydon. The Novels of Samuel Selvon. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Barratt, Harold. "An Island Is Not a World: A Reading of Sam Selvon's An Island Is a World." Ariel 27.2 (April 1966), 25-34.

Looker, Mark. Atlantic Passages: History, Community and Language in the Fiction of Sam Selvon. New York: P. Lang, 1996. (50)

Eliot, T. S. Selected Poems. London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1961.

Barratt, Harold. "An Island Is Not a World: A Reading of Sam Selvon's An Island Is a World." Ariel 27.2 (April 1966), 25-34.

Salick, Roydon. The Novels of Samuel Selvon. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Ibid

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