Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance Of Loss: A Saga Of Human Relations

3364 words - 13 pages

This paper aims to explore varied facets of human relations in Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss. This novel tries to discuss, at great length, the grave implications of colonized mindsets for individual, familial and social life. Besides, this paper makes a comprehensive analysis of colonialization, postcolonialism, cultural collisions, cultural encounters, gender bias, immigrants’bitter experiences, insurgency and racial discriminations in respect to the changing pattern of human relations. This, also, shows how human relations, even as influenced by love, longing and crosscultural contacts, are competently handled in a humane manner articulating diasporic experiences of nostalgia and in-betweeness.

Kiran Desai, as the youngest woman to receive the coveted Man Booker Prize, was born in Chandigarh, India on September 3, 1971. Spending her early years in Pune and Mumbai, she had her first education in the Cathedral and John Connon School. After some years of education in Delhi and England, she joined creative writing as though to focus all her attention in the vigorous pursuit of shaping her creative talent.
Built around the fate of a few powerless individuals, Kiran Desai's second novel The Inheritance of Loss manages to explore human relations from varied angle. “Human Relationship is what a writer is involved with. Person to person and person to society relationships-these are two primary concern of a certain writer.”1 The story runs parallel to a large extent in Kalimpong, a small city at the foot of the Himalayas and New York in the United States of America. The Inheritance of Loss gives a graphic description of richly variegated human relationship- husband and wife, father and daughter, father and son, master and servant, and a young boy and a young girl- with its setting in both the places.
Jemubhai Patel, the retired judge is the central character in the novel. Born to a poor family in a small place, Piphit, he has to fall in line with the driving ambitions of his father. His father, notwithstanding his limited resources, wants his son to acquire higher education in England. He approaches a number of moneylenders to realize his son’s dreams but such efforts go in vain as no one comes to their help unconditionally. Perhaps, the only option available to him at present is to get his son married to a rich man’s daughter no matter how ugly or uneducated she is, and amass an enormous fortune. Much to his surprise, a wealthy merchant from Piphit expresses his willingness to get his beautiful daughter, Bela ,married to Jemu. An ambitious idea comes into merchant’s brain that Jemu, if successful, will play a key role to boost his business. Communication starts, the plan takes a concrete shape, marriage takes place and the bride brings tremendous amount of dowry:
The bride was a polished light-reflecting hillock of jewels, barely able to walk under the gem and metal weight she carried. The dowry included cash, gold,...

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