Myself In India, By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

1405 words - 6 pages

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born in Germany but she moved to England at the age of 12. She then moved to India in the fifties, where she married and settle for the better part of her life. The essay is “Myself in India” is based on her experiences there. Jhabvala refers to India as an animal four times in the essay. We first come across it when she is describing India “...but there is no point in making a catalogue of the horrors with which one lives, on which one lives, as on the back of an animal “. She uses it as a metaphor. When we think of animals we often have this image of wild and dangerous creatures and as we know in the animal world only the strong survive. This is something that she references to trough tout the essay when she is talking about the hardships which the Indians have to endure throughout their lives “from birth to death they never for one day cease to suffer from hunger “. It could also refer to the fact that animals are inferior to humans and that she sees India as inferior to the western countries. If we would have to choose what animal India is based on Jhabvala's feelings, the natural choice would be a tiger, because the Bengalese tiger is the national animal of India. The tiger is known for being a wild and dangerous animal, but also its beauty. In relations to India this could be a reference to the beautiful culture which enriches our experience of India, but also some of the downsides that it has like poverty and unemployment and other sociological factors which paint a grim picture of Indian life. According to Jhabvala there are several ways for Europeans to adjust to life in India. One could be to have a purpose for coming to India in the first place ex. a doctor or a social worker. Here you don't have to take your own sensibilities into account, meaning that you don't have to adapt yourself to the differences between the western and Indian culture. Another one could be just to accept things the way they are. This is according to Jhabvala the Indians' preference because in their believe in reincarnation “If things are not to your liking in this life, there is always the chance that in your next life everything will be different. It appears to be a consoling thought for both rich and poor”. Jhabvala herself uses isolation in order to cope with this. She basically shouts out the outside world and remains unaffected by the influences which exits out there. But She has come to the realization that this is not working due to the fact that this leaves her feeling lonely and shout off. There are two types of Indians according to Jhabvala. The first one is what she calls a westernized Indian. She uses a westernized Indian woman to define what she means by it. “She has been to Oxford or Cambridge or some smart American college. She speaks flawless, easy, colloquial English with a charming lilt of an accent. She has a degree in economics or political science or English literature. She comes from a good...

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