The Collapse of Balance

Topics: A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry Pages: 4 (1779 words) Published: December 12, 2012
The Collapse of Balance
The novel, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry stands out for its unique take on the Emergency situation through the perspective of the poor. It’s a novel that shifts the idea, which a majority of the intellectuals held at the time, that the type of democracy in motion in India had brought freedom only to those of a higher status and thus, the poor would not be victims of this new restricted freedom. As illustrated in the novel, this logic seems to imply that the Emergency did not harm the poor, rather it was supposed to raise them from their low status and bestow upon them benefits for their own good. The government is oppressive in a city of great volatility that it can quickly change a person’s life. This is also reflected in the use of the title, “A Fine Balance,” when the word “fine” is taken to mean “delicate,” suggesting that it takes only a slight movement to alter the whole order of things. By depicting the struggles of the four main protagonists along with many other socio-economically challenged characters and the obstacles they continue to endure, Mistry succeeds in conveying his point of view. Mistry develops such concepts more significantly through the portrayal of characters whose lives are always changing as a result of the obstacles that they continually face by revealing that there is never a fine balance. The novel takes place in the “city by the sea” (Mistry 4), which doesn’t specify a location at all, but then the author adds that “they could have been anywhere” (Mistry 4). It seems significant for the author to begin in such a way to suggest that the tribulations that are about to take place with the characters are not merely local issues, but a global plague for the underprivileged. This idea creates an eerie feeling that for the marginal people “living each day is to face one emergency or another” (Mistry 571). Mistry exposes the most horrifying facets of the Emergency, suffered mostly by the poorer section of...
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