Please compare the West Indian novel with the non-West Indian novel.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The West Indian novel and the non-West Indian Western culture novel, as pertains to the categories of European / English / American novel, has some points of commonality and some very significant points of difference. Among the commonalities are that the roots of each are in an ancient oral tradition of story telling and each has roots in myths and legends. Some of the significant differences are that the latter category (non-West Indian Western culture novel) has roots in Greek and Latin literature, which includes poetry and poetic drama. Whereas the West Indian novel has roots in its historical experience pertaining especially to Imperialism and has only developed as a novelistic form since circa 1940; as a result, the West Indian novel also has roots in the Western culture novel itself. The stories of the West Indian novel are largely, though perhaps not exclusively, about being the conquered, enslaved and finally emancipated, with themes devoted to ethnicity, enslavement, emancipation, identity, and language. Whereas the stories of the non-West Indian novel are about conquerors, enslavement (e.g., The Iliad), and philosophical and moral values, while prominent themes relate to universal truths common to all humanity, like love, death, friendship, ambition, hate, loyalty, etc, which essentially point to how to live as a free people with individual power.