What are some of the social concerns and themes portrayed in A House For Mr. Biswas?
The central theme of this wonderfully hilarious text is that of identity formation as we follow the attempts of one character to try and carve out a self and an identity in the face of ever changing contexts and realities, most crucially produced by the shift in location from rural agrarianism to the urban and modern life of Port Spain.
What is key to this development of identity is the home, as the title draws attention to. Having a home is so important for Mohun as it represents part of this identity. Having a stable location to call his own is important because it is a symbol of Mohun's independence and his role as head of his family and not being a dependent on the Tulsi clan any more. However, crucially, the home that Mohun tries to build has to accommodate all of his family, all of whom have different ways of reacting and responding to the various cultural influences surrounding them. As a result, there is a sense in which the choices that various family members make present various problems for Mohun just as the various homes that he lives in do as well.