Themes and Meanings
The main theme of The Guyana Quartet is succinctly expressed by the character Ram in chapter 11 of The Far Journey of Oudin:This country so mix up, one never know who is Christian, Hindu, Moslem or what, black man, white man’s fable or red. Sometimes is all the same it seem but it got a technical difference.
Harris wishes to see Guyana become a nation rather than a colony. He sees that if this is to happen, Guyanans of all racial and religious backgrounds will have to develop a national consciousness. He believes it is the duty of writers such as himself to lead the way. Like Irish novelist James Joyce, a writer to whom he has often been compared, Harris wishes “to forge the uncreated conscience of his race.”
It has been Harris’s lifelong goal to define the essence of Guyana as a land and as a nation. The four novels of The Guyana Quartet attempt to survey the entire landscape and the entire population, including those who live in the wild interior, along the river banks, in the cultivated regions, and along the coast. Harris evidently believes that the only viable consciousness for the heterogeneous people of Guyana is socialist. He is not sympathetic to traditional religion or to any traditional views of the world. He seems to be in sympathy with many radical political thinkers of the Caribbean region and Africa.