The whole is more than its parts. This is definitely true for a collection of short stories like this. This essay at hand will concentrate on the Western elements in the nine short stories of East, West by Salaam Residue. Special attention will be given to the composition of the book. The division into East, West and East, West will be examined. Too. It will be followed how Residue deconstructs the seeming oppositions East and West and how stereotypes play a part in this. The thesis is the volume of short stories contains a very stereotypical picture of the West.
Apart from stereotypes, magical and airy tale elements will be studied. There is few literature about East, West in general, so most of the essay will rely on close reading and the analysis of the results. Most critics pay more attention to the stones set In the East. They can be approached similar to other postcolonial fiction. It is the stories about the west that have to offer novelties, that are unusual for Residue. The Title and the Composition The title East, West Is by any means chosen deliberately.
At first sight, the natural opposition of the two directions Is already obvious, but much more Is connected with Hess two words than mere geographical points of the compass. There is a further meaning of these terms: an inescapable clash between the so-called Eastern I. E. Muslim world and the Western, which means mainly Europe and North America. The two cultures seem to be naturally opposed and incompatible. Already with the title, Residue enters a political debate that seems to be far from any solution. In his collection of short stories, Residue undertook the bold try of using these known categories and deconstruct them at the same time.
Already with using a comma In the title, the possibilities for interpretations start. Rudolf Beck argues that a comma can as well combine as separate. This way of putting it shows us a kind of playfulness with these categories that takes away the seriousness (Beck 357). It is neither an East versus West nor an East and West. One can even take this further and argue that the comma shows an enumeration. If we now take the title as the beginning of a list, It would mean that more has to follow. It could be meant like a nonchalant East, West, whatever! R it could mean that the title is not finished. It actually seems to be true that the title is not complete and left fragmentary on purpose. Residue challenges the categories East and West a second time in the table of content, where there is a category additionally to East and West, namely East, West: the mixture, the in-between, which shows us that there must be more than the known opponents East and West. Before the first line of the actual text, Residue has started to deconstruct Ana condone tense seemingly contracting categories.
Bettor rearing ten text, we can already say, “In East, West, Residue sets out to deconstruct conventional absolutist and essentialist notions of ‘East’ and West” (Beck 355). The structure of he content suggests that the succession of the book is reasoned and modeled after the dialectics of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. That would mean the line of sight would be here from East to West. That can be seen when tracing Residue’s life. So, one is to attempt a biographical approach on the table of content. Born in India, Residue puts the Eastern part first. Form the beginning, though, emigration and the West are topics in all of the stories.
Then after Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies and The Free Radio, the focus is moved to Pakistan, as did Residue’s family in 1961. In The Prophet’s Hair, religion is in the focus for the first time and the most explicit references to Islam are made in this part of the book. The West is approached through literature, both classical (like in York through Shakespearean Hamlet) and modern (The wizard of Oz references in At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers), and history (Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship (Santa F©, AD 1492)).
In the third part, the part of the synthesis, we find the story The harmony of the Spheres, in which a young well-educated Indian tries to find his way through the adversities of life. Chekhov and Zulu is more political and historical orientated, but with The Courted we have the most auto-biographical story in this volume of short stories (CB. Seen 130). A closer look at the specific stories will highlight their individualistic. East The title of the first story Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies raises immediate expectations.
Gemstones and wisdom promised in the title, create an expectation of something mystical and Oriental and of a setting in a once upon a time-like magical surrounding. These expectations are denied very soon because the story is set in modern Pakistan and the content is very realistic. Beck calls it “slice-of-life’ story’ (Beck 365) because it pictures a piece of a normal person’s everyday life. But how much West is in the story? This question can be answered by interpreting the female main character Miss Renal.
Seen sees in her the victim of a patriarchal and colonial society who has no choice and is handed around: from the care of her parents to her fiance©’s to the family she works for and to the British officials at the Consulate, that deem “Miss Renal unfit to be a British citizen and send[s] her back to Alias adoring gaze” (Seen 129). A second, more plausible way of seeing Miss Renal s to see her as modern independent woman, who has “used his [Muhammad All’s] knowledge to ensure the failure of her application, because as Muhammad now learns to his dismay- she does not want to and had never planned to, Join her fiance© in Britain” (Beck 367).
There are various indications in the text that suggest this way of reading. For one, she is one of the few ‘Tuesday women’ who is barefaced, on her own and seems to be unfrequented (6). This can be seen as a sign for a modern, independent and Western lifestyle. Furthermore, she sees through the fraud All quite easily and he and the reader wonder “if she was making fun of him” (8) and a little later we know that “her eyes [are] unquestionably laughing at him now’ (11).
After near passport NAS Eden ankle, seen proudly tells Manama All now wrong seen answered all the questions, “Distinguishing marks I put on the wrong cheeks, bathroom decor I completely redecorated, all absolutely tops-truly, you see” (15). When she happily leaves on the bus to go back to her Job, she leaves All and the reader stunned. That she assesses her home, her Job and her unmarried status better than the freedom and the economical possibilities England holds for her constructs the common opinion. This picture is unknown to the Western reader.
Not only do they find a portrait of a young and independent Pakistani woman, but as well do they see the West, the destination for so many immigrants, not valued that highly by her. So, Residue deconstructs sets of mind here and throughout the whole story the reader’s expectations are denied. Similarly, Western expectations are confronted with Indian reality in The Free Radio. The story shows a picture of India where science (symbolized by the vasectomy) and technology (symbolized by the radio) very well have their place.
The teacher, who narrates the story from his point of view, tries to stop the main character, Raman the rickshaw puller, from getting married to the thief widow. He represents the old colonized India and to certain extends the Western reader who has an old-fashioned picture of India with wife burnings (23) and old-fashioned ways of transport. Once again, Residue does not satisfy the reader’s wish for an exotic Oriental India. The story The Free Radio is the only one in the whole cycle that can be read as a national allegory in the sense of Jameson (CB. Seen off.
Raman’ can be seen as the perfect secular citizen, who values he national interest over his personal interests (Seen 136). Another deeply western myth occurs in the story when Raman, the orphaned rickshaw puller sets forth to Bombay to become a movie star. He writes home to the teacher that his career is going well and though the teacher remains skeptical, we can detect the theme of the American dream coming true in India. He writes about hotels, film studios, top lady artistes and movie fans (31) and designs an Asian version of the Hollywood success story.
Only when the teacher mentions the “no-questions-asked alcohol” (32) the costive atmosphere is lessened, but again, this shows the teacher’s provisos. The story The Prophet’s hair, on the opposite, circles around a very Eastern topic: the relic of the Prophet Muhammad hair. The moneylender Hashish and his family are in the centre of the story. Some parts of the story fulfill the Western readers’ expectations of exoticism Orientation exceptionally well, for example the part where Human goes into the house of the master thief Sheikh Sin (mom.
This part reads like a fairy tale episode of All ABA or similar stories. The narrator keeps stressing that he is telling a story e. G. 36 and 37) which stresses the fairy tale character. On the other hand, there are parts of the story that do not fit the ‘East’. The moneylender’s family seems to have a balanced combination of Eastern and Western values, before the evil spell of the prophet’s hair came over the house. As Seen puts it “Hospitality and courteousness blend with liberal views to create the parable of the perfect home or nation” (Seen 139).
Human represents by any means the modern independent woman, orientated on a Western image. Her perfection is mirrored in her exceptional beauty that is imaged as soon as the prophet’s hair gets in her father’s possession and he hits her in the face with leaving bruises there. Human even is killed by her own father in the end because Hashish thinks she is the thief. This kind of mistaken identity is a typically gotten theme Ana can De Tuna Tort example In I nee castle AT Toronto Day Horace Walpole, where the enraged father Manfred kills his own daughter because of a mix-up (Walpole off).
It is a dramatic scene in The Prophet’s Hair, but Residue manages to turn it into a farce and everybody dies or is unhappy at the end of the story. Here we can notice again the deconstruction of basic principles of society, in this case, the religion. For Residue nothing is beyond criticism, because that would mean, “To respect the sacred is to be paralyses by it” (Residue 1990:416). That means as soon as you have something that is beyond criticism it may obscure the way of progress or change (CB. Beck 360). Further on, it can be seen that Residue does not shy at other topics and applies his criticism disrespectfully to anything.
West The first of the West stories is called York and again we can see Residue’s deconstruction of central pillars of different societies. With York, he manages to use several European notions and to deconstruct them in one story. Firstly, there is of course the Hamlet topic. The most known English author is rewritten in an ironic way. Residue uses partly stage directions one can find in a drama, such as “[Enter young Prince Amulet’s, bearing a riding whip. ]” (67) or inform. (sings)”(68) or “Pop. (aside)” (69). On the other hand, Residue lets appear a narrator, who seems to be in direct contact to his audience “…
What is this? Interruptions already? ” (65). This narrator has a very bold tone and does not hesitate to correct the Shakespeare erosion by explaining details and names from the chronicles of Sax Grammatical. Not only does the context of the story differ from Shakespearean version, there is also a different angle to the story. Hamlet and his actions are analyses in a Freudian way and the narrator diagnoses an Oedipus complex. Freud indeed analyses Hamlet in his essay “The Oedipus Complex as an Explanation of Hamlet’s Mystery”. This way a double deconstruction can be achieved.
The topic for the first story in the West chapter could not be any more stereotypic. A Danish myth, an English author and an Austrian neurologist are cleverly parodied in one story. There are more typically Western themes than Just the plot, for example the whole setting in a medieval castle with kings, Jesters and banquets. With the description of the banquet, Residue remains true to his style of metaphorical food references, which can be seen in Midnight’s Children with the pickle glasses or in other stories (Residue 1995:460).
The assumption that these food references are something exotic and picture a stereotyped India is deconstructed here (CB. Shiva 2). As the beast-like collection of food on the table is described in an exotic way, it becomes clear that Residue is eying with the seemingly opposed notions of East and West again. He has proven to be able to write the East realistically, e. G. In Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies, and now he tries to write the West exotically. There are more symbols that are deeply linked with a European tradition. One that should be mentioned here is in the introduction of the story with the praise of “strong vellum” (63).
This illustrates that the European history is a written one and that written tradition can be accounted for a big part of European identity. Only a few pages later the vellum as the basis for all his, and actually for any history, is doubted (67) and with this deconstructed. The wangle story Is only consistent Walt Its TTY It changes Moe AT narration, It contradicts itself all the time. Shortly after the presentation of a mysterious riddle about speech (77), the narrator says, “Only solve your own riddle, Reader, never mind, I’ll solve it for you. It was SPEECH. ” (78).
Then, at the very end the narrator names his own story a “COCO-AND-BULL story’ (83) and thereby challenges the whole The next story challenges a very modern aspect of life. It is a parody story again. On extensive consumerism and the overvaluation of money. The setting is quite fantastic and appears futuristic and partly even dyspepsia, for example men on mars, the use of “we” in the meaning the whole society, the audience in the auction hall, humankind etc. Or the way the socially lower people are treated. The tramps are removed, clubbed into unconsciousness and driven away.
They will be deposited some distance beyond the city limits, out there in that smoking no-man’s -land surrounded by giant advertising hoardings into which we venture no more. Wild dogs will gather around them, eager for luncheon. These are uncompromising times. (91) This quote shows as well that the world is only partly inhabited any more and leaves the reader with a totalitarian feeling about the described society. The people rarely leave their cities, their forts of modernity and they need security systems, bunkers and a lot of police and army to give them a feeling of safety.
Residue uses this to create an atmosphere of the extreme. The whole story is exaggerated so it will actually appear humorous but nevertheless the reader can detect today’s capitalism and consumerism taken to an extreme. Beck notes that the West, as it has moved to a post religious age, needs fetishes as a substitute (Beck 364). Such a fetish are the ruby slippers that will be auctioned off in the story. It is suspected that the slippers have unlimited powers, that they can fix a world that somehow has gone bad. “Home’ has become such a scattered, damaged, various concept in our present travails.
C… ] There are so few rainbows any more. “(93) This quote shows the lack of belief and moral orientation that is left once the religion is gone. The rainbows are an imitation of the story Wizard of Oz that plays a big part in the Ruby Slippers. The slippers themselves are in dependence on the witch’s slippers worn in the movie version of he Wizard of Oz. The story is even named in The Ruby Slippers when the astronaut stranded on Mars starts to sing songs from the film (97). More Western notions are mentioned throughout the text like Nietzsche (90), Grimm, Dickens and E. T. (all 94).
None of them plays a part in the story. It seems they have been mentioned for decorative purposes Just to have typically Western cultural pictures brought to the reader’s mind. In the story, one can even detect a Western view on fundamentalism. The narrator concludes that tolerance is no benefit if the intolerant are not tolerant s well (92). This of course is an ironic comment that mirrors the intolerant attitude the West has towards the East. Concluding, we can say the whole story is a parody on a religious ceremony to show the reader how consumerism has compensated the religion in the West.
Beck calls it the fundamentalism of the West (Beck 364). Last story of the West chapter is Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella. It is a story that takes the reader to a central European topic that concerns the West as well as the East: the beginning of colonization. Therefore, it is certainly a topic for Residue. The setting is truly Western and contains stereotypical symbols like castles, solute monarchs Ana notably I nee story trees to present an explanation Tort ten Western urge for exploration and conquests. Furthermore, the reader perceives a report on an extraordinary power relationship.
In the beginning, the queen holds all the power and Columbus “wants to tie the Queen’s favor to his helmet, like a knight in a romance. ” (107) Apart from the information we get about their relationship, the quote shows as well how exoticism the story is told. The picture of an honorable noble man who is courting a lady is quite fairy tale like. Then, in the very next sentence, the atmosphere is deconstructed with a simple “(He owns no helmet. )” in brackets (ibid. ). Later on, we can find prophetic dreams. It is another fairy-tale element that in this case changed world history.
As the story proceeds, the power in the relationship starts to shift. In the end, Queen Isabella realizes that only “the Unknown, perhaps even the Unknowable, can satisfy her” (116) which means that she does not only want to conquer the known world but as well explore the new world. Therefore, she needs Columbus. He toys with the idea of denying her wishes out of fiance, but finally does not do so because she is his only way to fulfill his own dreams and wishes. During the story Columbus and Isabella, both act like children.
Columbus in his defiance acts like a toddler and Isabella is the stereotype of a spoilt rich child, who is bored with all her toys. Moreover, she thinks more can make her more satisfied. That can be seen on page 114 where she is described to yawn when given the keys to the citadel of the Alhambra. Additionally, later, when Columbus is nowhere to be found she has a tantrum. And Columbus enjoys his schedulers (117). The story is narrated in an unusual way. There is an omniscient third person narrator as well as two people who comment the scene as onlookers.
In the beginning, they stand in communication with the narrator and ask him questions, like “His hope. It is of what? ” (107). The narrator replies immediately (ibid. ). Later the two men, who are symbolized by one or two rolling lines (?) and italics, interact in the story. They are the two men Isabella sends to Columbus to tell him the news of her patronage for his Journey. In the story, Columbus sets out to his trip to discover the unknown land in the West but it leaves the reader to think, “what if… “.
The opposition of East and West When the picture drawn in the East stories and the one in the West chapter are compared one can notice several stereotypical moments. Noticeably here is that both the East and the West stories rely on stereotypes. In the East, there are the topics of immigration, overpopulation and the Islam. In the West, we find Shakespeare, consumerism and colonization. Although, sometimes the stereotypes are only on the surface, for example in Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies the topic is immigration but looked upon in an unusual angle.
Miss Renal is not the stereotypical economic refugee. Especially in the end, when we learn that she had no intentions to go to England after all, prejudges are overthrown. This is exactly Residue’s intention. Through picturing the East with modern up to date problems and the West full of history, myth and utopias, Residue wants to change notions in the reader’s minds. The West stories are written in a way that one would expect from exoticism literature. Shiva writes in his article on the new Orientation about the notions “Armagnac tourism” Ana “Outline multiculturalism van 1). Men Trot a non- Western point of view, we can apply this to the West stories in Residue’s East, West. The image of the West we can find here is a colorful mixture of prejudges, historical facts and known associations. Like in a boutique, the most suitable pieces are picked and everything else is left outside. Shiva’s statement that known stereotypes and associations “serve as armchair tourism, restoring to fetishists symbols of Indian culture that the westerner feels at home in. ” (Shiva 1) can easily be rewritten and applied to the West stories.
The stereotypical presentation of the West in Residue’s stories serves as armchair tourism, restoring to fetishists symbols of European culture that the non-westerner feels at home in. The picture of the West presented here is not threatening. Residue demonstrates with this creation of a “boutique West” that he deliberately chose stereotypical elements to prove that this way of narrating can work for both cultures. The East and the West alike can be, in fiction, incomplete and depicted in a shallow way. It is not the purpose of fiction to draw an exact picture of the reality.
Furthermore, we can find all the criteria fulfilled that Rossini calls “the set of assumptions” that is valid for English speaking Indian literature (Rossini 1). These are assumptions have become, to her mind, a necessary odes set by Residue’s novels and followed by many copycats. Residue, with applying these criteria to Western stories, shows that this list of criteria is not in effect for English Indian writing only but for his style of writing in general. He can write the exotic, for example symbolic food references, about any topic.
As Erikson notes, the “real purpose of literature is not to distort facts but to explore human nature” (Erikson 131). Therefore, stereotypes might help to communicate and they are not meant as a list of facts or detailed information. Fiction has the right, or even more so the duty to be fictional. Further, it can be seen that there is not so much difference in the picture of the East and West in the stories, after all. Beck says that fetishes show that a religion has faded away and substitutes are needed (363). He even thinks that the whole composition East, West is about fetishes (ibid. . It is true that in many stories we can find people or societies that have found substitutes for religion. So, there can be drawn a parallel between a society that makes every thing into a commodity (Beck 364) by worshipping money and consumerism and a society that worships a relic and believes in its powers rather than in the powers of God. Concluding, it can be said that the differences between East and West are not in the centre of attention. Both are presented in a similar way. Furthermore, the stories are the opposite the reader has expected.
The East is the chapter where religion and politics are presented in stories with everyday people deal with life today. The West, on the other hand, is the exotic, fairy-tale like land, that is situated in a “once-upon a time” setting. With this Residue again deconstructs common believes and denies the reader’s expectations. What Michael Hanna has ascertained about The Satanic Verses s also true for East, West. He states that it is Residue’s intention to undermine “those pairs of false binary conceptual opposites”. Hanna names good/bad, Stateless, black/ white and religious/secular as such conceptual opposition (Hanna 214).
A close look at the stories examined so far tells us that, maybe apart from black/white all the notions can be detected in the first six stories and that Residue manages to deconstruct them, maybe more successfully or more obviously, than in The Satanic verses. The synthesis East, West As mentioned above, the third part of the book is called East, West. It also notations of three stories, namely Harmony of the Spheres, Chekhov and Zulu and The The first story appears to be a typical short story with a climax and a Courted. Turning point at the end when the first person narrator Khan finds out that his wife betrayed him with his best friend.
There are many Western elements in the story. All the four main characters lead a Western life; they all have been to university. Eliot Crane and Kahn studied at Cambridge, the embodiment of British education. They all go on holidays together with a cabin cruiser, all four are scientists or scholars in some way and they approach things rationally, e. . Eliot Crane’s mental disease. There are some mystical elements as well, especially connected to the person of Crane, not only “because he was mad” (127) as he is bluntly characterized.
He researches about the obscure, “the old black magic” or “the Hidden Arts” (both 137), which interests both Khan and Crane and is the basis for their friendship. He is described as “thin as a witch’s stick” (126) and his schizophrenia is paraphrased as “demons” that hunt him (127). The mystical and magical even manages to combine the East and West. Raja Ramona Roy and his religious group the Brahms Assam, now as the Bengal Renaissance are named and said to make “that brave attempt at making a synthesis of Indian and English thought” (138).
Here the word synthesis is actually spelled out and it becomes cleat that Residue here tries to do the same as Roy and combines the opposing worlds of thoughts. The East in this story is a thing of the past. Three of the four characters have an “Eastern past”. Khan is from India, where Lucy Evans spent her childhood because her father worked in Bombay. To her, the East is an exotic childhood memory. She talks of camel races and coconut trees (131). Khan’s wife Mall, however, is from Mauritius but has Indian ancestors. Her Unkindness lies deeper in her past and is compared to the tide of the Indian Ocean rising in her veins (140).
This is a mysterious sounding metaphor and leaves the reader wondering weather nationalities and belonging lie deeper than only at the surface – or in the passport – of a person. Seen sees in this story as well a struggle for the love of a white woman (CB. Seen 133). This point should be seen critically because Lucy and Khan do not have a sexual relationship and when they kissed once on a boat trip he feels guilty afterwards and never approaches her again. Ken’s reading of the story as a national allegory with Lucy as the colonizer and Khan as the colonized seems far-fetched.
The next story, Chekhov and Zulu, combines Indian politics and history with the TV series Star Trek. To choose this series over, for example, other Western series like Bonanza or Dallas was a conscious move. The science fiction show is about people setting out to colonize the outer space. The two main characters were nicknamed after two creamers of the star ship Enterprise. In their youth the western TV programmer were very fashionable even legendary (165). The characters peak a very colloquial language, e. G. Mayhap-ho Cools! Years, year, years” (1 54), and they speak an Indian version of English with Indian words in-between the English.
Chekhov makes a declaration of love on page 1 55 to London, to the West and even to ten Brattles T toner elements AT western or Engel’s culture are Montreal throughout the text, e. G. Tolkien (162), theatre, ballet, opera and sights of London (all 155). Overall, it is a very conceivable story that comes to a peak when Zulu states, “The colonial period is a closed book. ” (157). This shows a very peaceful attitude towards the colonizers. This can be as well detected in the remark by Chekhov, “One forgives, of course; that is our national nature. ” (156).
Here a typical Western stereotype of Indians as being gently tempered is shown in an ironic way. Apart from closing the book of colonization, Chekhov states as well that the status of England has declined (164). Here, he thinks about the influence England has on India today. Zulu can be seen, like Raman in The Free Radio, as the perfect secular citizen that puts the nation’s welfare before his own (Seen 134). The thought of the secular citizen as an ideal for the society is a truly Western and democratic concept. The last story in the volume is The Courted. It is probably the most autobiographical story.
The first person narrator is the teenage son of an Indian immigrant family in England. He tells the story of his ayah Mary and her love to the porter of the house, who Mary calls the courted due to her problems with the English language. The relationship between Mary and the porter, who comes from a country of the Eastern Block, is mainly communicated through the game of chess. This warlike game becomes their language of love. The narrator is also looking for love and acceptance. Through white arils and white pop music, he tries to blend in with the British adolescents.
Nevertheless, his English strikes as the “Bombay way’ (185) of English and he is picked at for saying things like “quarter-plate”, “thrice” or “brought-up” (ibid. ). The whole family struggles with the combination of their two worlds and at the end, the ayah Mary is drawn back to India by symbolical ropes around her neck. The narrator then admits to have ropes around his own neck, too, that pull in opposite directions, East and West. Still, he unlike Mary refuses to choose either or. This makes the boy himself the perfect synthesis of East and West. Conclusion
Concluding, we can say that the analysis of Residue’s East, West brings several new insights. The thesis of the dialectic structure of the book has become clear and could be verified. This becomes especially clear with the refusal of the narrator to chose a simple “either or” in the last story. With this Residue tells the reader that there is more between East and West than one might think at first sight. It is questioned that these oppositions can be identified as easily as stereotypes in our heads might make us think. Residue intentionally deconstructs images to challenge the reader and to start a thought process he thinks is overdue.
He is in a good position to look upon a society, as he is an “in-between”, someone neither in the East nor in the West. The picture of the East is not that exotic and magical, as the reader might have expected. India and Pakistan are presented in realistic way, as countries with their problems rather than fairy tale settings. With the West Residue tried to do exactly the opposite. He pictured a fantastic magical scenery and uses stylistic elements to exoticism the West. Here he deconstructs prejudges and acts the opposite than expected. Throughout the book, Residue raises expectations Just to neon teem In ten Toweling.
He Is not paralyses Day things Tanat are sacred to toners. For him, nothing stands outside of critic. If one stops being critical, this will obscure the way to progress, future and insight. All the time he does this with wit and irony. Finally, one can only remind that the whole is so much more than the sum of the pieces. In the book East, West Residue strings together stories like arguments in a dispute.  From now on abbreviated as Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella.  Page numbers refer to Residue, East, West. 1995 if not stated otherwise. Confer the theme of ћwhite love” in The Harmony of the Spheres and The Courted.