‘No man is an Island’ – John Dome, presents to us a solid idea that states that no man can survive alone, the quote shows an inclusivity of all men and women stating that it is an impossibility to survive alone. The idea that No man can be an Island can be morphed into, ‘man is an ever growing and changing island’. My two texts and film ‘Heat and Dust – Prawer Jhabvala’, ‘Not in India – Sadi Hussain’ and ‘Chocolat’ demonstrate this dynamic that ‘no man is an island’ but man is an ever growing and changing Island.
Heat and Dust is a dynamic text in which a bi-temporal framework is used to follow the paralleled lives of two British women living in India 50 years apart in the 20th century. Personal preferences and personal likes or dislikes determine how one interacts with their community and what barriers emerge. Differences seen in the narrators experience in contrast to Olivia’s character in the year 1923 clearly shows how one embraces the culture whilst the other shuts it out completely. Olivia’s choice of dress included ‘a cream linen suit –with evening dress and satin shoes in her bag.’ The effect of this shows the exclusivity of Olivia and further acts as a barrier as she shuts out the Indian culture surrounding her with dressing very European. Adjectives are used as specifics to label each item and greatly differ from Indian clothing.
In contrast, the narrator willingly sleeps outside in the streets and therefore immerses herself with the culture. This is further demonstrated through the quote, ‘I no longer slept in a nightie, but like an Indian women in a Sari.’ The effect scopes her sense of belonging coming from a very personal context where she uses first person ‘I’ to put us as the reader in her position and the colloquialism of ‘nightie’ in contrast to Indian colloquialism ‘sari’. The effect of the adaptation of the word ‘sari’ shows a deep connection with the Indian culture as colloquialism is only used where one feels comfortable to do so. Barriers may also emerge as one can shut out connections made with landscape, people, culture or communities. This aspect is shown through Olivia actions, ‘let down all blinds and shutters’ and smothers her surroundings to imitate England, ‘rugs, velvet, curtains’. The highly modal word all creates the effect of complete with nothing left out and when this is linked with blocking things out, it creates a barrier, covering things up also blurs connections made. Although barriers can be put up while others accept differing cultures, it can be seen that man/woman is not an Island, but creates connections whether barriers are put up or not.
Relationships with the outer community can enrich character but relationships can also change through knowledge. In Olivia’s context she finds a sense of belonging with her husband who is a British guard and highly sought after in the community. This sense of belonging is not long lived as her experience with him creates a barrier, ‘He couldn’t even get me pregnant’. The effect of this shows a highly emotive stance through the word ‘pregnant’ as it is strictly related to the female sex; medium modality is used with the use of a quite neutral tone to show a sense of giving up. Through knowledge, one can feel closer or further from belonging and therefore man/woman is an ever changing Island.
// In addition, the narrators relationship with a beggar could be further enhanced by her knowledge of the beggars situation. ‘‘she is ill’ he assented vaguely’ and ‘for the first time I understood the Hindu fear of pollution.’ with knowledge and understanding //
Identity is a common theme found throughout my texts and it is through this personal context in which one can find comfort and a sense of belonging. As Heat and Dust presents a text which British women and placed in an Indian society, their personal context must allow change in order for them to belong. ‘Most of us are tired of the materialism of the...