A House for Mr Biswas - Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

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When Mrs. Tulsi’s house in Port of Spain is vacated again, Mr. Biswas, Tuttle, and Govind take the opportunity to move their families into rooms of the house, along with Basdai, one of the widows. The Tuttles take up most of the house, leaving Mr. Biswas with two rooms. Basdai inhabits the servants’ quarters, which are outside of the house.

Rivalry among the families begins as they squabble over the behavior of their children, and acquire new, modern possessions. Govind and Tuttle squabble over garage space.

Back at Shorthills, parents are becoming concerned about their children’s education and start sending them to the Port of Spain house to have easier access to the school. Basdai takes the children in as boarders, and they eat on the steps and sleep under the house. With more residents, tight quarters become tighter, and noise and cleanliness become a problem.

Mr. Biswas says the Tulsi family has gotten him into a hole, and he keeps his address secret from work. Soon the house is attracting attention, and Mrs. Tulsi sends word that she plans on making changes to the house. The actual changes, however, are very superficial; the most effective transformation occurs when the wire fence is replaced by a brick wall so that outsiders cannot see into the area.

Mr. Biswas considers work a haven as he escapes the turmoil of the house to fulfill his new duties interviewing applicants for the Deserving Destitute Fund. On the other hand, Anand is under more pressure at school as he prepares for the exhibition examination. In view of all the effort that Anand is making, Mr. Biswas makes a pledge to get him his own bicycle someday.

On the day of the examination, Anand is prepared with supplies, charms, and the unwanted attentions of his family. When he is finished with the examination, he initially feels confident, but then remembers that he forgot to complete an entire section and realizes he has failed. He rejects Mr. Biswas’s attempts to cheer him up.

Mr. Biswas gets word that his mother Bipti has died, and the family goes to his brother Pratap’s house, which is crowded with mourners that Mr. Biswas doesn’t know. Dehuti is there, distraught with grief, having been estranged from her family because of her marriage. Biswas feels a sense of loss for the past that should have been if it had not been for his marriage and his children.

When they get back to Port of Spain, Mr. Biswas is remote and withdrawn, writing feverishly. Shama approaches him to find out what is bothering him and he tells her that the doctor who signed Bipti’s death certificate, Dr. Rameshwar, has been disrespectful and abusive, feeling imposed upon to write the death certificate for a peasant. Mr. Biswas has been trying to write a letter to express his objection to the doctor’s treatment of his mother and the family, and make him realize that he was in the wrong, but the letter has not been coming out the way he wants. Shama and the children share Mr. Biswas’s outrage, and give him strength. With Anand’s help, he writes the perfect letter on the yellow typewriter.

When the results of the examination are published, Mr. Biswas learns that Anand placed third and will be awarded one of the twelve exhibitions. The Tuttles present Anand with congratulatory gifts and their son asks Anand to be his tutor. In the midst of all this happy news, a man comes into The Sentinel office with an envelope for Mr. Biswas. It contains the letter he wrote to Dr. Rameshwar, and Biswas regards the doctor’s returning of the letter as acknowledgment that he has accepted responsibility for his error in judgment.


Moving back to the Port of Spain house should be a happy event, but now there are too many others, and the addition of the readers and learners who are sent from Shorthills to board with Basdai make the situation intolerable. Mr. Biswas lives in two worlds as he travels between the chaos of his living quarters to the structure of his job, and he embraces opportunities to escape the house and spend time in other places.

As Anand prepares to take the exhibition examination, Mr. Biswas is eager to be supportive, promising him a bicycle and attempting to cheer him up when he believes he has failed.

Bipti’s death creates mixed emotions in Mr. Biswas; he feels that he has never really known his mother and has never loved her, and he grieves for the past that should have been. When he learns that the doctor did not want to waste time signing the death certificate of a peasant, he is hurt and outraged for his mother’s sake and he wants to finally honor her. As he tries to write a letter to the doctor, he has trouble expressing his feelings in a coherent, rational way until he gets the support of his family.

The family is becoming stronger as a unit, and they are becoming more important to him. When Mr. Biswas learns that Anand received the third best results on the examination his emotions go beyond pride and joy. Anand’s success reflects on the whole family, and they are all viewed in a new light by the other members of the household. The reader may also be left to wonder whether Anand would have placed first if he had remembered to complete the section he left out, which is something Mr. Biswas does not seem to have considered. When Mr. Biswas receives the doctor’s apparent acknowledgment of blame, his happiness is complete.


penitentially, maudlin, morris suite, joiner, virulently, homilies, assiduous, perfunctory, relegating, copra, inanities, mellifluously, rubric, misanthrope, transitory, multifarious, privation, unmitigated, dissident, invigilator, mortification, palled, vociferous, adumbrated

This section contains 982 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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