A House for Mr Biswas

A House for Mr Biswas

An editor at the Sentinel who hires Mr Biswas—first, provisionally for a month, after watching him paint a sign, and later full-time. He asks Mr Biswas to give him “a real shock” and promotes a sensational but often factually questionable style of journalism. After the Sentinel begins winning more readers and its owners decide to change its style, Mr Burnett gets sacked and returns to America. He writes Mr Biswas a letter encouraging him to do the same, but the protagonist never responds.

Mr Burnett Quotes in A House for Mr Biswas

The A House for Mr Biswas quotes below are all either spoken by Mr Burnett or refer to Mr Burnett. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A House for Mr Biswas published in 2001.
Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

DADDY COMES HOME IN A COFFIN
U.S. Explorer’s Last Journey
ON ICE
by M. Biswas

Somewhere in America in a neat little red-roofed cottage four children ask their mother every day, “Mummy, when is Daddy coming home?”

Less than a year ago Daddy—George Elmer Edman, the celebrated traveller and explorer—left home to explore the Amazon.

Well, I have news for you, kiddies.

Daddy is on his way home.

Yesterday he passed through Trinidad. In a coffin.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Mr Burnett
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr Burnett Character Timeline in A House for Mr Biswas

The timeline below shows where the character Mr Burnett appears in A House for Mr Biswas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 1: “Amazing Scenes”
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
The receptionist brought Mr Biswas to the editor’s cubicle. The editor (later revealed as Mr Burnett ) was “a small fat man, pink and oiled from the heat” and asked what... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
The editor ( Mr Burnett ) asked how old Mr Biswas was—“thirty-one”—and what his profession was—“sign-painter.” He walked him outside... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Mr Biswas worked enthusiastically, overusing his “extravagant vocabulary” at first, until Mr Burnett made him read enough London papers for him to learn their style. He soon learned... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
The next day, Mr Biswas offered Mr Burnett a made-up story: “FOUR CHILDREN ROASTED IN HUT BLAZE. Mother, Helpless, Watches.” Mr Burnett suggested... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...in print the morning after he wrote them. But he had still failed to give Mr Burnett “a real shock.” After three weeks, Mr Biswas was sent to replace a shipping reporter... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Mr Biswas’s story, which “chilled” Mr Burnett , was headlined “DADDY COMES HOME IN A COFFIN” and covered an American explorer who... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2: The New Régime
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...second, after only the Guardian, which led its owners to feel embarrassed at its frivolity. Mr Burnett became more and more stressed until he was sacked, which he revealed to Mr Biswas... (full context)
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Near the end of the year, Mr Biswas received a letter from Mr Burnett , in Chicago, trying to convince him to “give America a try.” He dismissed it... (full context)