A House for Mr Biswas Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A House for Mr Biswas.
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Hanuman House

Hanuman House is the Tulsi residence in Arwacas. It looks like a fortress and houses the Tulsi store on ground floor.


Pagotes is where Tara and Ajodha live. Mr. Biswas lives in their back trace as a child and continues to visit them when he is grown.

The back trace

The back trace is the area where Tara and Ajodha house dependent relatives. Mr. Biswas and Bipti shared the quarters with other people after Bipti sold their hut to her neighbor.


Aryans are Protestant Hindu ministers who came to Trinidad from India to preach that caste is unimportant, that Hinduism should accept converts, that idol worship should be abolished, and that women should be educated.

The Chase

The Chase is the village where Mr. Biswas and Shama set up shop after they left Hanuman House. It is just a mud hut settlement in the heart of the sugarcane area.

Port of Spain

Port of Spain is the capital city of Trinidad, and the place where Mr. Biswas got his job with The Sentinel. It is where Mrs. Tulsi owns the house that Mr. Biswas and his family share with various other members of the Tulsi family.

The Sentinel

The Sentinel is the newspaper for which Mr. Biswas writes. In the beginning, he is required to write shocking stories, but when new owners take it over it goes back to basic news reporting and philanthropy.

Royal Enfield Bicycle

The Royal Enfield bicycle is Mr. Biswas’s mode of transportation throughout most of the book. It is subject to vandalism when he takes it on his assignments to the bad parts of town, and it is passed down to Anand when he gets his Prefect.

Dairy Milk and Prunes

Dairy milk and prunes are the dietary requirements for children who are believed to possess great intelligence.

Macleans’s Brand Stomach Powder

Macleans’s Brand Stomach Powder is the remedy that Mr. Biswas turns to when his stomach is causing distress.


Puja is the name of the Hindu ritual performed by Hari and other pundits to show reverence to the gods.


Pundit is the name for a Hindu wise man that performs the spiritual requirements of the Hindu faith.

Gold Brooch

Gold brooch is the item that Mr. Biswas keeps promising Shama that he will buy for her some day. He never keeps his promise.

The House

The House is the dream that Mr. Biswas strives to achieve. To him it signifies privacy, independence, and space.


Cat-in-bag is the name given to the method of marrying off Indian daughters.

This section contains 435 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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