Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

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Analyse Desai’s presentation of rural Indian culture, and comment on its importance in the novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard was written by Kiran Desai in 1998. This satiric novel is based on the lifestyle in a small North Indian town of Shahkot versus the simplicity and freedom of life in a guava tree. Desai cultivates the framework of social class, Indian traditions, education, urbanization to present the mundane world of rural Indians. In this essay I will explore how Desai uses a variety of linguistic and literary techniques to help define the characters, convey the themes. Also I will show how she presents ideas of rural Indian culture and explain its importance in the novel. In Chapter 1, Desai emphasises the heat of the summer through a hyperbole, “enveloped the whole of Shahkot”. This gives a powerful imagery of Shahkotians feeling claustrophobic and the adjectives “murky yellow haze” connotes a confusing and gloomy atmosphere within Shahkot. The weather here is demonstrated at the beginning of her novel, providing the readers with a quick backdrop of Shahkot and also to inform the “terrible conditions of the drought”. Desai’s immediate theme of weather is produced to show the negative impact of the heat on the people of Shahkot. In addition the theme of weather is significant in the novel as it foreshadows some of the misfortune or gifted situations that lie ahead for some of the characters. For example Desai uses powerful imagery of lighting, “winters day…smoky evening, then night” when the eccentric Kulfi notices “a shadow fell across the sun”. The sudden daunting imagery of Shahkot darkening foreshadows a possible unfortunate event and tricks the reader into thinking something terrible is going to happen. However it is the opposite and an atmosphere of excitement, joy and satisfaction takes place as Kulfi excitingly exclaims “Here comes the rain!” This is a special moment for the whole of Shahkot as rain to them is like a blessing, now they...
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