Naipaul in One Out of Many and Orwell in Shooting an Elephant introduce the characters who reflect Le Guin’s understanding of the Other’. In One Out of Many we see an Indian servant boy Santosh who comes to the USA with his master. He travels to an alien country to become free, he sees this action as a step into new and better life. But soon he realizes that all his dreams about freedom were illusions and he has become a prisoner in this country. He realizes that he is alien in the American society. According to Le Guin’s notion Santosh represents social, cultural and racial alien. He realizes that he will never be able to integrate into American community and he is limited by his social status as well. Santosh became richer materially but he has lost the feeling of belonging to a society (Dooley 62).
I am now an American citizen and live in Washington, capital of the world. Many people, both here and in India will feel that I have done well. But¦ (Naipaul 21).
The main character realized how important it was to feel your identity with people only after he had lost this opportunity. Material things do not help him to get rig of his feeling of alienation and they do not allow him to enjoy his freedom as he is not able to feel free in an alien country.
In his autobiographical essay Shooting an Elephant Orwell represents a character, a young soldier of British colonial army who finds himself into the situation opposite to that of Naipaul’s Santosh does. He has to live among Indian people. It should be emphasized that both characters are quite limited in their situations. The soldier is limited by his social status and his moral convictions. He experiences a constant dilemma inside. He wants to be closer to Indian people but he realizes that his status of a soldier does not allow him to do it; he has to keep a distance. He acknowledges that he is not able to become a member of their community as he has other mission here. He cannot be close to people as he will lose his status. Naipaul’s Santosh has actually put up with his state and he is calmer while Orwell’s soldier can not find a balance between his moral beliefs and his obligation. His feeling of alienation is supported by his inside inconstancy. He realizes that he is not able to feel calm performing the role of soldier but being a member of Indian people community is not possible for him as well. When the situation with the elephant occurs he experiences the same hesitations as he wants to justify his actions before the British authorities and before the people who rely on him and need his help. Inside he seeks for proper justifications for both sides.
Both authors reveal the theme of alienation in their works. Their idea directly relates to Le Guin’s understanding of the Other’ as both Naipaul and Orwell show their characters as social, cultural and racial aliens in the communities where they are forced to stay. Naipaul depicts an Indian boy in the community of white people while Orwell presents a white soldier in the community of Indian people. Still, both characters experience similar feeling of alienation.