The Shadow Lines Book Report

1942 words - 8 pages

Amitav Ghosh’s fiction story The Shadow Lines is known as an outstanding book and won the Saahitya Akademi Award for English and the Ananda Puraskar Award. The Shadow Lines consists of two hundred and forty six pages and was published in 1988 by Ravi Dayal Publishers. The novel discusses different historical events that bring people together and keep them apart. The story is told from the narrators point of view. The narrator is a young boy growing up in Calcutta that is joined with the Prices in London during times of war while acts of violence make for a tough experience.
During The Shadow Lines a young boy is growing up in Calcutta during the 1960s and later moves to Delhi and then London. The narrator’s name is unknown but he is known for worshipping Tridib because of his knowledge. However, the narrators grandmother feels he is wasting his life away in luxury and does not understand why her grandson looks up to him. The grandmother also known as Tha’mma has a terrible past and wants to reunite her family. As one English and One Bengali family join they face war and violence together. The narrator has passionate feelings toward Ila and becomes sexual attracted to her. He never states his feelings because he is afraid of losing her. However, one night he watches her as she changes clothes and tries to rape her. The grandmother does not like Ila and does not want her grandson to support her. At the end of the story Tridib sacrifices his life for his love, May, during the riots. There were a lot of mixed feelings about this novel.
Although this story was fiction I felt it expressed a lot of real life events that brings the story to life. This story showed how our personal pasts can be inventions of our imaginations which are what make the nature of the storytelling so factual. An example of this is when the narrator makes his move on Ila. The narrator has always thought of what it would be like to be with Ila and then he took action. I enjoy the theme that the individuals are in search for their identity. It’s not just about finding a home but finding their selves. I feel a lot of this was because of the grandma and her past so she wanted to find happiness. Although, there were several characters they are all very well shaped. The characters all had features that I could relate to individuals in my life which helped me relate to the book. I felt the most well shaped character and the one I related to the most was the grandmother. She is the type of grandmother most of us recognize. The grandmother sets moral standards, has a basic view of life, and does not deal with nonsense. The titles of the sections in the book are broad and sum up what is happening which is “going away” and “coming home”. However, I like how this story revolves around looking for a home. Not just a shelter over their head but somewhere they feel content and harmless. Even though the text was hard to follow the author did use a lot of...

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