There is a great influence of the role of fantasy in the lives of the characters in the two short stories, “Man-Man, and “B. Wordsworth,” both of which are written by V.S. Naipaul. The two short stories, however, express the role of fantasy quite differently. In “Man-man the character Man-man is a real mystery to the people of Miguel Street. Man-man is said to be mad, but is he really mad?
The people of Miguel Street think so. But at the end of the story it is revealed that Man-man is in fact not mad at all but is only pretending. The character’s fantasy in “Man-man” is in away reality because everyone around him thinks of him as being mad. On the other hand, in “B. Wordsworth” the character B. Wordsworth is a normal man who says he is the greatest poet in the world. Yet there is no one that thinks of him as being the greatest poet. Eventually it is revealed at the end that his fantasy remains
In “Man-man” the character is potrayed as a mad man. Yet, no one was sure if in fact Man-man was really mad. Except for Man-man himself.
As Naipaul writes in the beginning of the story, “I am not so sure now that he was mad, and I can think of many people much madder than
Man-man ever was” (38). This raises a question on weather or not Man-man was really mad. The People of Miguel Street though of him as being mad. Yet they paid him money for clothes that were ruined by the droppings of his dog. He had great control over his dog’s bowel movements. He used this towards his advantage to make money. Naipaul goes on to write, “But on top of our wonder and worry, we had this great pride in knowing that Man-man came from Miguel Street” (43). This shows that the people of Migual Street were themselves living in a fantasy world.
They felt unique from the rest of the town knowing that they had mad man living on Miguel Street. The character in “B Wordsworth,” however, is the only one living in a fantasy world. The character thinks he is the greatest poet alive, yet he has not sold a single copy of any of his poems. He goes door to door trying to sell his poems, but is unable to sell them. One time when he was going around selling his poetry he met a young boy who he became friends with.
He told the young boy all kinds of things, like how he is the greatest poet in the world. He also told the boy that he was writing a poem, and that it was going to be the greatest poem. He only told the boy one line from the poem, after that he never mentioned the poem again. This shows that B. Wordsworth was only fantasizing. As Naipal writes, “He lived in Alberto Street in a one-roomed hut placed right in the centre of the lot. The yard seemed all green. There was the big mango tree. There was a coconut tree and there was a plum tree. The place looked wild, as though it wasn’t inthe city at all. you couldn’t see all the big concrete houses in the street” (47).
This shows that B. Wordsworth lives far from reality.
The endings of the two short stories are quite different as well. At the end of “Man-man,” the character’s true self is finally revealed by the character himself. After Man-man’s dog dies, he feels lonely and wants to be crucified. When he is on the cross and has bits of sand and gravel thrown at him. He has no problem with that. As soon as they start throwing really big stones his true self was finally comes out. He shouts, ‘What the hell is this?
What the hell you people think you doing? Look, get me down from this thing quick, let me down quick, and I go settle with that son of a bitch who pelt a stone at me” (44). Here it is obvious that Man-man is pretending to be mad. His true self is finally revealed at the end. Therefore his fantasy is no longer a fantasy. In a way it is reality because the authorities take him for observation, and then for good.
On the other hand in “B. Wordsworth”, the character’s fantasy remains a fantasy. Because it really never really excites. As Naipaul writes “The mango tree and the plum tree and the coconut tree had all been cut down, and there was brick and concrete everywhere. It was just as though B. Wordsworth had never existed” (52). It is evident here that his fantasy remains a fantasy.
Therefore, even though the role of fantasy is a significant part of the characters life in the two short stories, “Man-man,” and “B. Wordsworth” they are both two different types of fantasies. In “Man-man” the character is himself living in a fantasy along with the people of Migual Street. The fantasy is more of reality than fantasy. On the hand, in “B. Wordsworth the character is himself living in a fantasy, which never excites.