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What can we can tell about the line "the past is deep" by V.S. Naipaul?What is the...

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shedanafri | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 23, 2010 at 4:22 AM via web

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What can we can tell about the line "the past is deep" by V.S. Naipaul?

What is the meaning and explaination of the line, actually?  How can we elaborate on  that line?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 23, 2010 at 7:26 PM (Answer #1)

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If we take the Swedish Academy who conferred upon Naipaul the distinction of the Nobel Prize in 2001, we might get some insight into the meaning of the line.  Their analysis of Naipaul's work argues that his work is worthy of distinction because of its ability "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories."  The idea of "the past is deep" brings to light that individual narrative and experience reveals histories that might have been suppressed and misunderstood, and the notion of cultural and personal identity being interwoven into these histories.  With the idea of "the past" representing a sense of depth and intricacy, it might also reflect how the presence of colonization and imperialism superimposed a history upon another set and preexisting set of histories.  This helps to bring to light that the narrative of those who were colonized holds a great deal of depth, something that Naipaul evokes from both the Caribbean point of view, and the Indian subcontintent's point of reference.  In these regions of the world, "the past is deep" helps to bring out the idea that the cultural condition in which one lives can hold layers of meaning and relevance, a major idea in Naipaul's writing.

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