V. S. Naipaul Writing Styles in A House for Mr Biswas

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.
This section contains 322 words
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Point of View

The novel is written from the third person point of view from the perspective of Mr. Biswas. It is Mr. Biswas’s reaction to events that moves the plot along. His quirky character and his view of events provide pathos as well as humor to the novel.


The novel is set in various parts of Trinidad spanning the period from the early to mid-twentieth century. During this time, Trinidad had a diverse population that included different races and ethnicities as well as different religions. This diversity is seen in the novel as characters slip between speaking Hindi and speaking English, and a variety of religious practices are observed.

Language and Meaning

The language in the novel varies. The narrative is rich with imagery and descriptive details, while the dialogue conveys the non-standard dialect of the people of Trinidad, and it is employed in a way that adds depth to the characters. There is a great deal of sarcasm and irony, especially in the character of Mr. Biswas and the situations in which he finds himself, that lend a comic effect to the novel.


The novel is written in two distinct parts with a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue begins with the end of the main character’s life, eliminating any doubt as to the outcome of the novel. In this way, the reader is not distracted by the tendency to imagine what will happen, but can focus on the experience of getting there. Part one is focused on Mr. Biswas’s life from the time he is born to the time he leaves his family. Part two involves his life from the point where he finds employment independent of the Tulsis, and moves through different stages of family life. At some points, the narrative provides some insight into what lies ahead, usually as a way of emphasizing the consequences of a character’s actions.

This section contains 322 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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