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Ideas of Progress at Naipaul's A Bend in the River In his novel A Bend in the River, V. S. Naipaul paints a picture of Salim, an Indian man living in an isolated African American city at the beginning of independence. Salim, as an Indian, has something of a special perspective on the events of this time - in some ways, he lives between two worlds. Having undergone the "civilizing" influence of British colonial rule, he comes in a civilization that is more "advanced" than that of Africa but less so than that of the West. This hierarchy of progress is seen throughout the book, and the subject of progress is best exemplified in this passage from the introduction of Part Four, just after Salim's return from London: So at last I had arrived at the capital. It was a odd approach to come to it, after such a yearlong trip. If I had come to it new from my upriver town it would have seemed immense, wealthy, a funding. But after Europe, as well as London still close to me, it appeared flimsy despite its size, an echo of Europe, also like make-believe, at the end of all that forest. (247).