A House for Mr Biswas - Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

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Now thirty-one years old, Mr. Biswas is unsure of where he is going as he leaves Arwacas. Purely by chance, he ends up on a bus to Port of Spain, the city where Dehuti lives with her husband Ramchaud. They welcome him, and are sincerely happy when he says he has left Shama. Ramchaud tells him to take it easy and get over his illness, but Mr. Biswas begins to feel his freedom is becoming a burden, and he gets restless again. He decides he needs to do something, and fear spasms surprise him. He discovers that he cannot ignore the past, and the wholeness of his mind returns; unfortunately, the stomach pains, which had not plagued him for months, also return. Passing by the office of The Sentinel, he decides to go in and ask for a job. After painting some signs for the editor, Mr. Burnet, he is given a trial as a writer for a month, and then taken on as a reporter. He acquires a degree of fame in his capacity as the Scarlet Pimpernel, and is greeted as a celebrity when he goes back to Hanuman House, where he finally meets his newest daughter, Kamla, and reconciles with his family. He tries to entice Shama to come and live in Port of Spain with him, but she resists. Mrs. Tulsi offers to rent them some rooms in her house, and Mr. Biswas feels he is having a streak of good fortune. Savi and Anand have to be enticed by the offerings of the big city to join their parents in Port of Spain.

Living in the same house, Mr. Biswas’s relationship with Owad and Mrs. Tulsi improves. Within his own family, Mr. Biswas establishes a strict routine, calling it training. Shama’s job is to file the stories Mr. Biswas writes and keep accounts of household expenses. She also collects rent from Mrs. Tulsi’s tenants which she sometimes borrows from when the household finances are getting low. Mr. Biswas buys a second hand typewriter, and tries writing for English and American periodicals to make it pay for itself. His first attempts are rejected, and he does not continue to pursue this endeavor. He does not use the typewriter for a while, and then attempts to write a short story based on his own life. There are different variations of the story, but they all feature a man who is his own age and has four children. In the story, he is always attracted to a young, slim heroine who is unable to bear children. The stories are never finished, and he crumples most of them up and throws them away. Shama, in filing the stories, reads them and Mr. Biswas is horrified and ashamed to remember his sensuous descriptions of the heroines. He stops writing on the typewriter again and impulsively paints the typewriter yellow.

As Owad becomes of age, Mrs. Tulsi decides that he should go to England to study to become a doctor. Shama confides to Biswas that Shekhar had had dreams of going to Cambridge, but Seth had been against it. Among the sisters, this news causes some irritation toward Seth.

Shekhar comes for a weekend and Mr. Biswas bonds with the two brothers. They go to the sea and Anand disappears; Shekhar dives to find him and they are able to resuscitate him. Anand writes a composition in school about the terror of the experience and receives twelve marks out of ten from the teacher. Mr. Biswas reads the composition and wants to get closer to Anand to make up for the terrible experience. Anand will not come and sit with him, and Mr. Biswas loses his temper. Instead of getting closer to Anand, he beats him. When Mr. Biswas meets with Anand’s teacher and headmaster, they agree that Anand should be placed in the exhibition class. Mr. Biswas immediately arranges for Anand to have private tutoring.


When Mr. Biswas is practically abducted by the conductor on the Port of Spain bus, the decision of where he should go is virtually made for him. Once he has arrived in the city, he feels excited and free, as a world of possibilities seems to open up before him. His freedom makes him restless, as he is once again ready to make something of himself.

He is well suited to his position as a writer at The Sentinel since the editor requires sensationalist stories that will stir up the emotions of the readers. Once he has achieved a degree of success, he feels ready to go back and reclaim his family. The opportunity to share Mrs. Tulsi’s house is a stroke of good luck, and Mr. Biswas feels as though he has finally achieved some status in the Tulsi family.

His short story and his attempts to write for periodicals indicate that he has some ambition to go even further, but the ambition does not appear to be very deep-seated, since he gives up so easily. As he becomes more attentive to his appearance, it appears that he is acknowledging that he has come up in the world, but the fact that he ultimately feels rejected shows that he still feels like an outsider, in spite of appearances.

With Owad going abroad to study medicine, it begins to appear that he is the favored son, especially when it is revealed that Shekhar was not allowed to follow the same dream. Mr. Biswas’s new closeness with the two young men that he formerly tormented illustrates the change that has taken place in his feelings for the Tulsis and their attitude toward him. His farewell to Owad is emotional.

The near¬-tragic experience with Anand also brings about changes. Having nearly lost him, Mr. Biswas tries to get closer, but Anand shuts him out. The affront angers Mr. Biswas, and he expresses his anger as so many of the people around him do, through flogging. The composition Anand writes shows such potential that Mr. Biswas immediately begins to prepare Anand for academic success. He starts him on a regimen of dairy milk and prunes, which is how the little gods were fed to improve their brains, and he spends some of his sparse income on private tutoring. Whatever ambition he has had for himself is now shifted to his only son.


Solicitude, macabre, ostracized, disdained, in extremis, invective, aggrieved, fanatical, reviled, ewer, , deprecatory, convolutions, expostulations, retainers, defected, precarious, dredging, affronted, ribald

This section contains 1,087 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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