Paradise by Matthew Kneale

This study guide will help you analyse the text “Paradise” by Matthew Kneale. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Paradise”
Author: Matthew Kneale
Published in: New Writing 4
Date of Publication: 1995
Genre: Short story

Mathew Kneale (b. 1960) is a British fiction writer. His best-known work is the novel English Passengers. Most of his works explore themes like national culture and identity.

Excerpt

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The title of the story, “Paradise”, refers to the main character’s initial opinion of the village in Nepal that he is visiting: “The village hardly seemed the innocent paradise that it had been minutes before.” 

The title is ironic and it illustrates the conflict between the views of rich Westerners and those who live in the developing world. For Neville, the main character, the small village surrounded by beautiful landscapes seems like a paradise compared to Western society which, in his view, is decadent. For the villagers, their place is not a paradise but a remote and poor area, where they have to work hard to survive. A visit from a tourist guidebook writer seems to the villagers a unique opportunity because having more tourists in their village would alleviate poverty.

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Paradise by Matthew Kneale

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