The narrator of the novel, whom the sequel, Erewhon Revisited reveals to be named Higgs, occupies a complex role in the novel because of the satire inherent in the work. He is the protagonist of the novel, but he is also Butler’s best attempt at creating a caricature of a typical Englishman in the Victorian period: one who claims allegiance to Christianity and imperialism without feeling a connection to either of those ideologies. Thus, the narrator is a parody of the hero in the traditional hero’s quest narrative. As a caricature, he espouses the importance of proselytizing Christian values, while simultaneously using Christianity as a weapon to demonize other characters, such as Chowbok and the Erewhonians. Likewise, his adherence to English values and beliefs is often only in contrast to the beliefs of others, used as a form of superiority that justifies his criticisms and “study” of other cultures. From the narrator’s perspective, he is often the victim of the Erewhonians’ “backwards” beliefs, and he expresses difficulty in understanding why they do not believe the same things that he believes on his arrival.
By Samuel Butler