Mr. W.P. England: Character Analysis in The Novel Coolie

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      Mr. W.P. England is the most successful characterization of an Englishman, in Anand’s novels. Though Mr. England is the minor character; but his position as a Chief Cashier of Sham Nagar branch of the Imperial Bank of India is convincing. He is a tall Englishman with an awkward, shuffling gait accentuated by the wooden, angular shape of his feet. He marches always hesitantly at an angle of forty-five degrees, and with a small, lined, expressionless face, only defined by the thick glasses on his narrow, myopic eyes. He had a rather good-natured smile on his thin lips.

      He never had the benefit of university education. He attended a course of typewriting and shorthand in Southampton.

      Mr. England is an extremely honest man and therefore does not take interest in anyother’s affairs. He accepted the proposal of Nathoo Ram to attend his tea-party only in response to his persistent and obsequious requests. The Babu’s brother asks him for information about courses of medical study at British Universities and Mr. England is extremely embarrassed since he had no university education. Babu Nathoo Ram thought that he is a kind person and it is easy to persuade him to serve his interests. He was invited to tea-party but he could not take anything because he is constantly afraid of being infected. Hence his visit is proved a fiasco.

      Some are of the opinion that Anand does not fully understand his English characters and therefore, is unable to portray them faithfully. But nowhere in the Indian fiction there is a more authentic picture of colonial Englishman than we have in Mr. W.P. England. It is also a fact that some of Anand’s English characters are weak in comparison to his Indians, but the reason is not that author does not understand them, but rather that the spleen of the man gets the better of the novelist.

      Secondly, there are some other allegations levelled against him that Anand has depicted the Indian characters who are exploited in British Government services. Hence they lost their sense of humanity and human decency. Nathoo Ram and Daya Ram, Todar Mals, workers like Harihar, Ratan and others have been dehumanized in the service of the English. But on the other hand Anand, in his characterisation of Babu Prem Chand an independent medical practitioner has not done any prejudice. He alone conducts himself with dignity and treats his servant with affection, and is not subservient to the English. However, W.P. England is an important character portrayed with great objectivity and even with a degree of sympathy. Infact, this is an instance which shows that Anand is most capable of delineating Englishman fairly when he wanted to do so. Hence, his characterization proves to be worthy in Anand’s novel.

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