Sports of Empire: Squash as Signifier in V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River
The protagonist of V.S. Naipaul’s 1979 novel A Bend in the River is an ethnic Indian living in Africa as part of an expatriate community of traders in the city at the bend in the river. He sympathises with the Western world, listens to BBC Radio, and tries very hard to distance himself and show himself as different from the native Africans. He plays the English sport of squash in a Belgian ex-colony in the heart of Africa in the expatriate Hellenic Club. This thesis explores squash in the context of the novel and argues that squash fills functions of signifying that Salim, the name of said protagonist, is different from the natives and contributes to him establishing himself as a foreigner who “knows the ways of the outside world”. The foci of the arguments are based in the imperial and colonial history of squash, particulars of the game, and the tools with which the game is played. The analysis is postcolonial and focuses on Salim’s displacement within Empire and his attempts to achieve “place” through the analogously displaced sport of squash.
A Bend in the River
sports in literature
sports and empire
SPL kandidatuppsats, engelska
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