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Historical Context Of The Jewel In The Crown

801 words - 3 pages

Historical Context of The Jewel in the Crown

 

The historical context of Paul Scott's novel - The Jewel in the Crown - serves to explain and interpret a tragic love story between two characters; Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar. The love story serves to clarify and interpret the social/racial and historical significance of the time period in which it is set - 1942.  Their love - a product as well as a victim of the time and events - is an allegory for the relationship between England and India - the White man and the Black man.  The Jewel in the Crown demonstrates that the elements of life and love are colorless and timeless and that arrogance and hate are universal.

 

Through a historically accurate setting using imaginary characters we are shown the fictionalized city of Mayapore, India during the British Raj and told the "story of a rape, of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened" (Scott 3).  The story is relayed to us, in the most part, through an unnamed narrator that began his quest for answers, concerning the Daphne Manners case, in 1964.  He compiles testimonies and documents that reveal the events to us from a variety of realistic perspectives.  The information is not given in chronological order but as a person who reminiscences would convey a story.   The author effectively uses the characters, time-period and historical events to support the underlying theme of injustice, tragedy and the indomitable human spirit.

 

            Daphne and Hari would never have met and fallen in love in any other place during any other time period.  1942, in India, was their destiny.  Tragic as the outcome was, their story provides us insight into the folly of the white man's superiority mentality and to the consequences of repression.  Daphne ironically symbolizes the superior white race and yet she is able to reflect "that 'white superiority' is an 'idea' at the heart of a 'game', a 'charade', and it was (too) easy 'to act at conforming' "(cagatucci Jewelsg3.htm 6/5/01).  Hari represents the inferior black race.  The author was careful to craft the characters to avoid the "noble savage" winning the heart of the "princess" epic story line.  Daphne is portrayed as a rather common - even unattractive - and clumsy girl who finds herself in India due to misfortune...

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