Mohanti’s Through Brown Eyes and Naipaul’s The Mimic Men

Through Brown Eyes is a non-fiction novel written by Prafulla Mohanti. It is a lively account of his ventures in the western world. In the novel, he states how he meets and encounters the wrath of racism, prejudice, and colonialism. As an immigrant, the first words of the first page show how racism works and operates. He experiences various challenges while in England. It captures the frustrations that propelled his departure from his homeland, India. At the tender age of 25, he had developed self-esteem that was contrary to the villages’ outlook. The biography enlightens on his enthusiastic target of being a teacher, a city planner, and becoming a maestro in art. He is let down by the social system of England but gladdens on the economic advancement he achieves and his apt orderliness.

Mimic Man is a novel that starts with the main character, Ralph Singh. Ralph Singh is naturally born from an Indian birthright and is brought up on the Caribbean Island of Isabella. The writer uses first-person narration to illustrate how Ralph is writing a memoir in response to the muddled uproar that is rampant in the setting of the novel. The novel has been divided into three main parts. The first part narrates the story of Ralph Singh in a small London hostel while in exile. When he attains the age of 40 years he reminisces and ponders on unfortunate events that occurred in his life that he wanted to avoid. In part two, the childhood life of Singh is described. We learn the genesis of the aimlessness that stalks his family. We meet Ralph’s parents in a deeper expression. When Part three starts, we find Ralph to be forlorn and alone due to his divorce. He makes a bond with his friend Browne and both bring opposition to the Isabella government.

The main themes in the two novels are racism and colonialism. In Through Brown Eyes, the writer wants his biography to capture the upheavals and hostilities caused by colonialism. Racism is the driving agent for this muddled-up society that sees itself as ideal. Similarly, the writer in Mimic Men uses the main character, Ralph, to explain why he is writing his memoirs. Ralph is writing the memoir to become a scholarly work for many students in the future. But his dream is somehow thwarted when he finds he is a victim of the same colonialism. He becomes a colonial master and amasses wealth that helps him prosper in Isabella Island. We also see Prafulla succeeding in his studies, and earning a degree at Leeds University.

The family of Ralph in Mimic Men has a similar background to that of Through Brown Eyes. His father is a dedicated religious man. He warns Ralph of not abandoning the Indian culture even if the foreign one is seen to be superior. The cultures during Prafulla time were the same when he says that they were taught by British teachers. Most of the teachers must have a degree from abroad. Local teachers were seen to be inferior.

After Prafulla is denied a room to spend the night he wonders about and finds a kind woman who helps him get shelter. We also find Ralph after being rejected and divorced by his wife called Sandra he finds a friend who becomes influential to his carrier in politics. Browne is black as the Jewish lady who became helpful to Prafulla. Browne becomes the closest friend to Ralph, they form a political group for the disabled and they win. In addition, when Rafulla is offered the room by the Kind Hewish lady, he reminisces on the good life back in India. We also find Ralph having dreams of his homeland, he dreams of sheep grazing in Soho Square, England. We also find the aspect of religious influence. While young Prafulla dreamt like Ralph that he was a monk and was issuing food to the needy. We find the father of Ralph a staunchly religious man, he finds needy black slaves on the Island. He arranges an escape and takes them to a peaceful place in the deep Isabella forest. Ralph’s father dies a dedicated religious man. But his fame spread across Europe. We also learn that Prafulla succeeds as a scholar and everyone was greeting him with smiles.

The setting of Through Brown Eyes runs from England to India and Mimic Men is based on England, India, and the Isabella Island in the Caribbean. Prafulla being pure Indian and Ralph who is an Indian with a British mother shows the contrast of two worlds and adventure of self discovery. He manages to become a town-planner and artist, but Ralph crumbles after his demotion from the government and resorts to writing as he faces racism. Primary themes like exile life, cultural displacement, and independence disarray are explicitly shown in the two novels.

References

Mohanti, P. (1985). Through Brown eyes. Oxford University Press, USA.