World Literature in English
Neil Bissoondath
Biography Background-- 
Trinidad & Racial conflicts
References & Relevant Links
  1. Bissoondath's Cultural Identity and Major Concerns 
  2. Issues Course Discussion:  
  • "Digging Up the Mountains
  • "Insecurity" "Security" (Student Report)
    • General Question: What do you think Bissoondath is critical of?  The character, or the place, or both?  
  • "Dancing
    • General Question: Are these West-Indians presented positively or negatively?  How about the East-Indians back home? 
    Short Bio

    Cover,  Digging Up the Mountains 
    在 《任意的殘暴》(A Casual Brutality)中他更建構了一個虛構的加勒比海國家,Casaquemada (意謂「房子被燒毀」),來批評整個加勒比海地區政治的陰暗不穩定。
    在短篇小說〈掘山〉("Digging Up the Mountains")和〈不安全〉("Insecurity")中,他也呈現印裔在加勒比海地區無法生根的情況。主角冉古藍(〈不安全〉)視他出生的小島為「暫時的家」(1985: 72),不斷將錢走私到加拿大,因此小島越不安全,他越覺安全。哈里(〈掘山〉)由於自幼對山的喜愛,對小島有了歸屬感,但在政客陰謀奪財並威脅他的生命之後,他毅然放棄財產,離開家鄉。走前,他掘起了新種的草皮,甚至想把山掘起。
    布松達〈不確定明天的前夕〉("On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrow")中的尋求政治庇護的難民角色有海地人、錫克人、斯里蘭卡人、加勒比海人。這些難民有空間和時間雙重的拘禁感。 


    這種空間的疏離感也是時間上的︰難民逃避過去,對未來也不肯定。在難民公寓,他/她們之間不打交道,不刺探彼此的過去。只有阿明一人不斷對周勤訴說過去,和替他們申請庇護的律師的秘書交往,學習加拿大英文( “eh?”),並樂觀地等待明天。諷刺的是,努力進入多倫多社會的阿明卻第一個被移民局拒絕,必須遣送回國﹐面對死路一條。 


    Cover, On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows 

    "Digging Up the Mountains"
  • insider/outsider: the immigrant and his host-nation

  • Hari owning several stores 
    Hari and the political parties, the minister 
    his American connections
    Ramgoolam and the island p. 69 
    R's work and social position;  started as a poor noble; on the fringe of events, has a store too; 
    comprehension in the past; lack of it in the present 
  • the place: its political situation

  • Independence; truth as being relative
    Ramgoolam witnesses the historical changes 70 
    R vs. Black power p. 71
    sense of identity 
    the past--Hari and the mountain 
    the present--Hari and the revolver 
    from planting grass to digging up the mountain
    the past--writing, making speech 
    the present--smuggling money out; exporter p. 71 
    not trusting the mail system 
    source of satisfaction: his bank book 
    from saving money to buying a house  
    his Hindu devotion 73; 76--"Security" p. 94
    the older generation 
    the mother's powers and fragrance, their revolver
    his father in India 77
    back home 
    The narrator's shack (p. 187) 
    her relationship with the Doc (188); his indifference; 
    pink, heart-shaped flower (191) 
    working for an Indian family for sixty a month (189) 
    Georgie, the father's  outside-child 195  & police corruption
    in Toronto 
    Annie--Caribana and racism  189; tired 194; "you have to become West Indian" (197); views about Ontario Science Center 201;  tall building 201 
    Sheila--dizzy-dizzy, cloudy-cloudy, faces, faces, faces; mostly white faces 193-94; missing the mother's grave 197; her response to Annie's words 198; surprised at white workers 200; elevator 201;