A Literary Analysis of "The Inheritance of Loss"

Topics: India, British Empire, British Raj Pages: 8 (2815 words) Published: April 3, 2011
The Inheritance of Loss Literary Analysis
I. Character
1. His wife dies by slipping from a tree while gathering leaves for their goat. 2. Sacrifices a chicken in order to save Biju from being taken by his deceased mother. 3. Tries to send Biju abroad for the first time when a recruiting agent from a cruise ship line comes to Kalimpong. 4. Succeeds in sending Biju to the United States with a tourist visa. 5. Brags all over Kalimpong that Biju is successful in America, even though it isn’t true. 6. Starts sending Biju requests that he helps other immigrants get settled in the United States. 7. Biju calls Cook to make sure everything is OK. The call goes in and out and doesn’t last very long because of a faulty telephone wire which worries Biju, and ultimately brings him back to India. 8. Runs away from the riot and realizes that he may never see Biju again and that his relationship with him has degraded down into a series of letters. 9. Cook goes out to try to find Mutt and realizes that he is meant only to be a cook and comes to terms with that.

This is Cook’s climax because now he can stop trying to improve his life, which has only brought him conflict and despair, and focus on his relationship with Biju. 10. Gets beaten by Judge with a slipper for being a “bad man.” 11. Is reunited with Biju.

Throughout the novel, Cook is optimistic about improving his lot in life. That changes, however, following the GNLF riot when he loses all hope after he realizes that he may never see Biju again. But his hopeful outlook is restored when Biju appears down at Cho Oyu’s front gate. Judge:

1. Is the top of his class at the age of 14.
2. Attends Bishop College.
3. Marries Nimi, a woman younger than he, whom he does not yet despise. 4. Leaves for England to attend Cambridge University.
5. Gets inducted into the Indian Civil Service with the lowest possible qualifying marks on his viva voce. 6. Returns to India a changed man. He despises all that is Indian, especially his all but forgotten wife, Nimi. 7. The powder puff incident in which Nimi steals Judge’s powder puff, Judge discovers the act, and he proceeds to rape her for the first time. 8. Sends Nimi back to her father’s home, who has Sai’s mother, and dies. 9. Cho Oyu is robbed by gunmen and Judge is stripped of his pride. 10. Is approached by the wife and father of the drunk that was beaten by the police in connection with the robbery, who beg Judge to tell police that it was not the drunk who stole the guns. Judge refuses. 11. Mutt is stolen by the discontented wife and father of the drunk and sold to a family in a distant village.

This is Judge’s climax because once he has lost the only thing he loved, he realizes the error of his ways, especially his indirect murder of his wife, and he resolves to erase his mistakes by treating Sai better. 12. Judge beats Cook mercilessly with a slipper for losing Mutt.

Judge changes most when he studies in England. During this time, he rejects his traditional Indian customs and traditions and converts to being agnostic, borderline atheist. He becomes westernized in his attempts to appease the English who look down on him and in turn, grows to hate all Indians. Sai:

1. Sai moves into a convent, St. Augustine’s, when she is a child while her parents are working in the Soviet Union. 2. Sai’s parents die as a result of being hit by a bus in Moscow. 3. Sai moves to Cho Oyu after her parents die to live with Judge. 4. Sai becomes isolated from the world until she meets her neighbors in Kalimpong. 5. Noni is assigned by Judge to tutor Sai.

6. Sai outgrows Noni’s knowledge.
7. Judge hires Gyan to tutor Sai.
8. Sai and Gyan begin a courting relationship.
9. Cho Oyu is robbed by gunmen from the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). 10. Sai and Gyan fight over their ideals and what it means to be Indian and Nepalese. 11. Sai seeks out Gyan at his home and the two fight even more. 12. Sai resolves to get out of India at the...
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