A House for Mr Biswas

A House for Mr Biswas

Owad Character Analysis

Mrs Tulsi’s younger son, whom she coddles intensely and Mr Biswas takes to calling “the younger god.” He and Mr Biswas get into many arguments early in the book; eventually, Mr Biswas spits and throws his food on Owad, which leads to his banishment from Hanuman House. Owad goes to school in Port of Spain, where he spends his weeks with Mrs Tulsi and actually becomes close friends with Mr Biswas, whose job he respects. Eventually, Owas moves to England for medical school; the whole family assembles for his going-away ceremony and then again for his homecoming, upon which he has become a chubby, refined, communist and “the new head of the family.” He wins the unconditional admiration of everyone in the family, including Mr Biswas and Anand. However, after a string of disastrous arguments with them both, he leaves on a trip to Tobago and is scarcely heard from again.

Owad Quotes in A House for Mr Biswas

The A House for Mr Biswas quotes below are all either spoken by Owad or refer to Owad. 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 5 Quotes

[Mr Biswas] turned the long room into an office. In this room, where the lotuses still bloomed on the wall, he had lived with Shama. Through the Demerara window he had tried to spit on Owad and flung the plateful of food on him. In this room he had been beaten by Govind, had kicked Bell’s Standard Elocutionist and given it the dent on the cover. Here, claimed by no one, he had reflected on the unreality of his life, and had wished to make a mark on the wall as proof of his existence. Now he needed no such proof. Relationships had been created where none existed; he stood at their centre. In that very unreality had lain freedom. Now he was encumbered, and it was at Hanuman House that he tried to forget the encumbrance: the children, the scattered furniture, the dark tenement room, and Shama, as helpless as he was and now, what he had longed for, dependent on him.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Shama, Mrs Tulsi, Owad, Govind
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 509
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

“You are not really a bureaucrat. You are a journalist, a writer, a man of letters.”

Related Characters: Owad (speaker), Mr Biswas
Page Number: 521
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Communism, like charity, should begin at home.”

Related Characters: Mr Biswas (speaker), Anand, Mrs Tulsi, Owad
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 533
Explanation and Analysis:
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Owad Character Timeline in A House for Mr Biswas

The timeline below shows where the character Owad appears in A House for Mr Biswas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Tulsis
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...granted her.” When eating, he would ask about the “little gods”—her studious brothers (Shekhar and Owad) who slept in and seldom left the new upstairs wing that included the drawing-room and... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...for Seth and the “gods” could read and write too. The younger of those gods, Owad, implored Mr Biswas to apologize, but Mr Biswas “abruptly lost his temper” and yelled that... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...to her high-caste family members—Seth would become a leather-worker and the “two gods” (Shekhar and Owad) barbers. Worst of all, Mrs Tulsi “ain’t a Hindu at all” because she married Shama... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
...and he offered “the holy ghost,” too, before noting that “the two gods” (Shekhar and Owad) looked more like monkeys and joking that “the place is like a blasted zoo.” Shama... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...which astonished and pleased him. He ate his biscuits and tea on the staircase as Owad, “the younger god,” brought a camphor cube from his morning puja to Mrs Tulsi, who—to... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Shama cried out and Owad’s eyes welled up with “tears of anger;” even the Catholic Miss Blackie was offended. Mr... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...the preponderance of starch on them. He spit out the window and finally hit someone: Owad. He tried again and missed, paced around his plate and picked it up, planning to... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...his hardest to strike Govind back but deciding it might be “unmanly to do so.” Owad cheered for Govind to kill Mr Biswas, and the women’s laments did little to stop... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: The Chase
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...food; all the Tulsis came “except Seth, Miss Blackie, and the two gods” (Shekhar and Owad), who were busy in school. Hari donned his pundit’s dhoti, and the Tulsis barely acknowledged... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...Biswas explained that he knew nothing about estate work while Mrs Tulsi and Seth mentioned Owad’s success in college. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Green Vale
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Port of Spain (“one to live in, two to rent out”) while she looked after Owad there. The family fell into disarray—only Padma and Seth continued to win respect, and order... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: A Departure
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...remaining money on Ovaltine; soon, he had to vacate the Blue Room in anticipation of Owad’s return. Not wanting to interact with him or Mrs Tulsi and not wanting to live... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1: “Amazing Scenes”
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...that Shama and the children go to Port of Spain and live with her and Owad, or perhaps buy their own house—but if they lived with her and Owad, they would... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Mr Biswas seldom fought with Mrs Tulsi and Owad, and actually became friends with the latter, who respected his job and ability to “read... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Mrs Tulsi elected to send Owad to medical school in England, which devastated a jealous Mr Biswas and alienated many of... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Anand to hold his head under water for as long as he could, and then Owad and Shekhar threw Mr Biswas into the water. He surfaced in a rage, and they... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...to the Tulsis. At dinner, Anand pulled Mr Biswas’s chair out from under him, which Owad found hilarious, and Mr Biswas withdrew for the rest of the night. Shama gave Anand... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Tulsis flooded the house during the week before Owad’s departure, celebrating and throwing Mr Biswas’s position in the household into uncertainty. He complained to... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...day of the festivities to impose his authority on the house. Mr Biswas’s article about Owad was ignored, as the family preferred to focus on dressing their children or watching Hari’s... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Owad kissed the entire family goodbye; when it was his turn, Mr Biswas said, “I hope... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2: The New Régime
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
With Owad gone, Mrs Tulsi moved back to Arwacas; Mr Biswas fixed up his garden and wondered... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...shy to make new friends, so she became close with the woman who now occupied Owad’s old room and soon “the house became Shama’s.” (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5: The Void
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
It was finally time for Owad to return from England, and everyone was thrilled to see him, for “absence had turned... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...Mrs Tulsi stopped Mr Biswas on the verandah to ask about Anand’s health before mentioning Owad’s flowery letters about England and affection for Mr Biswas. To his surprise, she asked whether... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...was confined to a single room as the whole family shuffled to provide space for Owad, but he was still relieved. He thought about his children’s futures and particularly lamented his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6: The Revolution
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
The Port of Spain house filled with Tulsis and festivities unparalleled since Owad’s departure. The evening before Owad’s arrival, Mrs Tulsi was ecstatic, and the sisters decided to... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
As the ship came in, the Tulsis saw Owad “wearing a suit they had never known,” with “a Robert Taylor moustache” and much larger... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
The Sentinel’s photographer took a picture of Owad, and a young reporter approached to take notes; overwhelmed by the whole emotional scene, Mr... (full context)
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Immediately, Anand, Savi, and Myna approached Mr Biswas with tales of “Owad’s adventures in England”—his rescue efforts during the war, his emergency surgeries on famous people, even... (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
For the next week, the festivities continued and everyone would gather to hear Owad tell stories about politics in England and Russia. Mr Biswas proclaimed that Russian names sounded... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
By the week’s end, all the Tulsis adopted Owad’s Communism and also his views on sports, artists, and writers. But “while they waited for... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
When Shekhar and Dorothy came to visit, the sisters held Owad’s accomplishments against theirs—but Owad nevertheless grew close to Dorothy despite refusing her attempts to set... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...would visit the house—the sisters mingled while the brothers played bridge. One morning, Shekhar and Owad argued about modern art, and Anand thought it would be funny to scatter the matches... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Shama asked him to apologize but he refused, and then he walked downstairs, waited for Owad the verandah, and apologized solemnly before returning to his mother and again refusing to eat... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...again downstairs and Mr Biswas yelled out, which started a shouting match between him and Owad, which Mrs Tulsi interrupted by telling Mr Biswas to “go to hell.” Eventually, Owad declared... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
In the morning, everyone was uneasy, avoiding one another before learning that Owad had gone for holiday to Tobago. Mr Biswas was anxious and afraid; he felt especially... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
When Owad returned from Tobago, Mrs Tulsi grew tearful, spinning “a lengthy tale of injustice, neglect and... (full context)
Epilogue
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Owad married Dorothy’s cousin. Later that year, the new couple moved to San Fernando, a city... (full context)