Victor: English Language and White Community

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Victor's Last Wish
Victor’s Last Wish
“Victor’s Last Wish” is a realistic fiction by Kris Jitab who describes in depth the pain and hardship endured by the main character, Vickramadas Gopal who was an Indian immigrant to Malaysia. Vickramadas was known as Victor throughout the short story. He made great efforts to transform himself to be like whites who he thought were the best. “Anything and everything related to the whites was beautiful to Vickramadas.” The author has painted a dramatic picture of sufferings and challenges of Victor in his course to attain a new identity - an Englishman. But, his efforts did not help him to be recognised by the white men as a part of them. He was rejected by Miss Cunningham and insulted by Miss da Gama because his skin was dark in colour. He also thought that his failure to be promoted to Junior Accountant was due to his dark skin. Thus, Victor was so desperate to have his skin colour changed. He was very disappointed for not getting what he had striven so hard to achieve. As a result, he lost his hope and direction in his life. Consequently, he indulged in heavy smoking, drinking, gambling. At last, he became a thief to steal in order to pay his debt. In one stealing, he was caught red-handed together with his accomplices. He tried to escape but unfortunately, in his escape, he fell into a tank of formic acid where his skin was turned white all over by the acid. His wish to change his skin into white was therefore realised but ironically he had lost his life. In this paper, two concepts of post colonial theory will be involved in the discussion of several issues and concerns raised by the author. The two concepts are mimicry and othering. Mimicry is best annotated through the main character, Vickramadas in the short story. He aspired to be an Englishman. He imitated the dress, manners and language of the whites. The othering is expressed through some characters, Miss da Gama and Miss Cunningham, who assumed that they were superior to Vickramadas who had different skin colour from them. In the short story, Kris Jitab raised a colonial ideology that white men are the best and superior through Victor. Victor who obtained his tertiary education in King George College was greatly influenced by the English. He believed that the white men were gentlemen. In the very beginning of the short story, Victor paid his full respect to Mr. Riley who was a white man. “He felt a little self-conscious-which is understandable, for he was inside the office of a white man,” indicated that Victor had a sense of inferiority in him towards the white men. When Mr. Riley pronounced his name “Vickramadas Gopal” in a way that it did not sound like Indian anymore, Vickramadas said it was very correctly pronounced. “Vickramadas beamed. He loved the way Mr. Riley pronounced his name.” He had no will to tell Mr. Riley the correct way to pronounce his name. Everything Mr. Riley did was great and correct to Victor because he was a white man. He told himself that there was no reason to doubt the white men. In firm thought that the white men were the best, Victor set out with the aims to be like the white and emulate them. The first thing he decided to do to make him similar to a white man was changing his Indian name into an English name. Name is the most basic element that can represent or symbolise one’s culture and tradition. But, Victor had ignored the importance of his name to claim himself as an Indian. He was willing to sacrifice his name in order to fit into the white community. Beside his name, he was willing to abandon his religion. He was an educated person but the educated mind of his could not help him to think rationally. He wanted to be converted to Christianity because he thought being a Christian would make him the same as the whites. He was actually using the religion as a stepping-stone to his goal. However, Victor failed to realise that the white men would never accept him as a part of them for his...
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