Abstract

While other critics of Miguel Street have examined how humor arises from V. S. Naipaul’s somewhat condescending depiction of Miguel Street’s inhabitants, this analysis focuses on the role of laughter and the “colonial clown” in the social fabric of Miguel Street to produce social and political critique. In the text’s logic of laughter, this article argues that it is imperative to pay attention to the narrator’s commentary on misplaced, or solitary laughs as well. In particular, we should be alert to moments that the narrator explicitly identifies as not funny, and that should instead be taken seriously by readers. The “colonial clown” in Naipaul’s tragicomic stories not only captures the mimic elements of Naipaul’s characters, which are inarguably present in the novel, but also the important role of humor, laughter, and exaggeration in the narrator’s critical representation of the Trinidad of his childhood.

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