The novel, A Bend in the River, centers on Salim, a Muslim of an Indian family who has lives in coastal towns. Salim himself is not really a smart man, not intellectual at all. It takes place in an unnamed east coastal African country. The topic, which I m going to handle, is about the comparison of Salim s view of The Big Man contrasting with Naipaul s view of Mobutu in A New King for the Congo. The Big Man is the country s new elite. He is a raw, fearful, and greedy man.
He rules by rhetorical devices, and sorcery. The Big man is the president for life. Many things are changing in the country. Big buildings are being built; young one s are admitted to new schools and universities; the street thugs are all enrolled in the army. It s like if The Big Man is making a difference there.
Many things are changing, even to the point where the tribes are fading away, the social classes that are dismembering from society. People living there are also losing most of their self-assurance. They even listen to 3-hour lectures from The Big Man on radio. We can clearly see what is happening. The Big Man is making things exactly how he wants them. He is making the society believe that there is going to be only one source of power, and that s going to be him.
He basically wants to eliminate all the tribal life and bring out a new way of living. Salim, like I said in the beginning is not a very intellectual man, so he is trying to understand the new Africa. It hasn t all setup in his mind yet. So he decides to be patient. At the end the Big Man pretty much ruins Salim s life by assigning his little shop to Citizen Theotime. But personally I don t think that giving away his shop like that affected him that much.
I think it s the way he wanted him to do things that mad him mad. The Big Man wanted Salim to let Theotime be the boss, be someone he wasn t. Basically the Big Man put him in a position where Salim felt like if his role was taken away from him. He wanted me, almost, to act out my subordinate role as a favor to him. To finish characterizing the Big Man, I stumbled on a phrase in the course pack: the Big Man is inspired by Zaire s flamboyant President, Mobutu See Sexo. The story itself, A New King of the Congo, is taken out of the book The Return of Eva Peron & Other Essays.
Joseph Mobutu, A New King for the Congo, is a Congolese soldier that rules over Zaire. Mobutu has a very big family and they are all very wealthy. In public, he wears a leopard skin cap and carries an elaborately carved stick. They are emblems of his African chieftaincy. Mobutu does not believe in guns and fighting, therefore he is a very peaceful and calm human being. He is loved and respected by everyone.
He has a very vast territory permitting him to go off and explore wherever he wishes. He controls the armed forces and has many diamonds and copper mines. He was a very powerful chief. His nature was to be unexpected, unpredictable.
No one could know what the chief, king has in mind. Mobutu is an African freedom fighter. He only wants peace. They say that the spirits of his ancestors supports all of his actions. His people have been fitted with this African Authenticity which means that this new nation is not categorized as a passionate nation anymore. It s written that it is a Kingship in a republic.
This story is taken out of The Return of Eva Peron so one of its main theme is about the westernization of Africa. How things went pretty bad there. I conclude this essay by saying that I appreciate this writer s because he has a way of writing that leaves you with a new sense of things every time you read a novel or a short story or even an article about him. I think the reason why he leaves with such a big impact is because he is so open with all of his writing. I could say that I appreciate this writer s way of putting things.