Search for Identity in V.S. Naipaul’s Half a Life


  • P.Gayatri Devi Assistant professor Department of English Dr. Umayal Ramanathan College for Women Karaikudi.


Many modern literary texts revolve around the concsept of identity. A number of
themes in literature centre on identity. An identity crisis is a period of serious personal
questioning where the individual makes an effort to determine one’s own values and sense of
direction. Identity is confined to man, his reason and freedom of the self in a society. The
theme of V. S. Naipaul’s 2001 novelHalf a Life in relation to the question of identity and
identity- formation.
Naipaul'sHalf a life, published just before he received the Nobel Prize, portrays and
evaluates the lives of the mixed descent in three countries - India, England and Portuguese
Africa (Mozambique) and their struggle to discover their identities. The novel is set in three
locales - India, England and Africa.Half a Life runs into three uneven sections, subtitled as
(a) ‘A Visit From Somerset Maugham,’ (b) ‘The First Chapter,’ (c) ‘A Second Translation.’
In spite of the thin structure of the novel, the novel has a wide cast of characters: Perci Cato,
a Jamaican, Marcus, an ambitious businessman, Roger, a young lawyer, Perdita, Roger’s
fiancee, Carla, the convent girl, Ricardo, a Military man, The Noranhas, Julio, Correia, a
formidable Portuguese, Greca Carl, the manager’s wife, Gouveria, an architect, Mrs.
Noranha, a good storyteller and Ana.


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How to Cite

Devi, P. (2017). Search for Identity in V.S. Naipaul’s Half a Life. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH , 5(10), 6. Retrieved from