Paul Scott's second novel, The Alien Sky, foreshadows the interest with the subject of Indian independence that dominates his final great achievement, The Raj Quartet. Though in this single novel Scott's obvious concern is the British reaction to independence, I believe in his presentation of his characters he also explores some of the moral concepts relating to colonialism and independence that he analyses so illuminatingly in the Quartet.
In particular he shows how elements in the individual human psyche contribute to actions and reactions within relationships based on power, which are the dominant feature of the imperial situation. One of Scott's principle themes is that, because of the power factor, even for the most idealistic of those within the system there were boundaries that could not be crossed. While Scott exposes then those who have no qualms about abusing their power, I suggest that he reserves his sharpest criticism for those who fail to live up to their expressed ideals because of their reliance on the system with which in the end they must show solidarity.
Sabaragamuwa University Journal, vol 6, no. 1, pp 35-49
How to Cite:
Wijesinha, R., 2010. Illusions under an Alien Sky: Paul Scott’s precursor to the Raj Quartet. Sabaragamuwa University Journal, 6(1), pp.35–49. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v6i1.1688