Heat and Dust

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“Heat and Dust” is a story which moves backwards and forward in time, between the present (Post British Colonization-1970) and the past (During British Colonization-1923). It tells a story of two Englishwomen in India, the narrator and her grandmother Olivia, whose lives are interwoven, separated by fifty years. The narrator’s search to find out about Olivia brings her to the heat and dust of Satipur, India She discovers that Olivia was a woman smothered by the social restrictions placed upon her by the British society. Olivia was shunned and despised by the British society after falling in love with the Nawab, being impregnated by him and then aborting the baby. In discovering the truth about these events, The narrator finds herself in love with an Indian man, Inder Lal. Eventually, she develops an understanding towards herself and India. The theme of alienation is spotted in the text Heat and Dust, where Olivia, and Englishwoman arrives in India, just to find herself marooned in a whole new culture and world. She “did not speak a word of the language” and could not join in the conversations between the wives of the British officials. She finds the people boring and comments that Mrs Crawford and Mrs Minnies “were so ugly in their dull dresses” and always thought that “they knew best”. She is also often seen “crying with tiredness and complaining” because she is lonely as “Douglas was extremely busy with is work all day”. Due to his increasing workload, Olivia and his relationship deteriorates and Olivia begins to seek an affilation with the Nawab who she realized was “one person in India who was interested in her”. In Heat and Dust, the narrator, despite being European, has no objection to abide by the Indian norms and customs. She is able to accept the Indian culture which is vastly different from her own. She lives in a house of an Indian, Inder Lal in the midst of the crowded lanes and bazaar. She learns to “speak Hindi” and even owns a “Hindi textbook”....
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