Because Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion is concerned with Richard Stone’s self-discovery, Naipaul reveals events and characters as Stone sees them. A sensitive and thoughtful man, Stone is generally the observer, not the observed, in office groups or in the periodic parties at the Tomlinsons. Yet in his imagination flourish the most grotesque fancies, all of which involve startling the very people who think him so colorless.
It is her ability to dramatize him which draws Stone to the lively Margaret. After the initial adjustments of their marriage, Margaret’s capacity to mold herself to his nature and to draw the elderly maid, Miss Millington, into a similar role, so that both women seem to exist only when “the Master” is present, further gratifies Stone. With his new confidence, Stone pursues success, and with success comes greater confidence. On the “evening of pure delight,” Stone seems to have realized his earlier fantasies, such as that in which he flies, to the wonderment of all who see him.
As he observes Margaret, who in some ways represents generic Woman, Stone alternates between delight and distaste. The world first intrudes upon his illusions when he sees her false teeth in the bathroom on their wedding night. Soon he discovers that she has discarded the wit which won him, that it is only a “party” mask. On reflection, however, he admits that continual archness might have been exhausting, that the quieter Margaret is more restful. When he comes home, Stone enjoys the master-servant illusion, yet he regrets his lost privacy. When Margaret is away, Stone misses her. When...
(The entire section is 667 words.)