The Hungry Tide Summary

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In The Hungry Tide, Piya, an Indian-American marine biologist and Kanai, a translator from New Delhi, meet on a train and again in Lusibari, India. Their lives become intertwined with Fokir, an Indian fisherman of the lower-class. The novel provides insight into the classes of Indian social status, which have been influenced by the centuries-old caste system. Within the caste system, society was divided into four main groups with the agriculturists and merchants, rulers and warriors, and priests and thinkers above laborers and unskilled workers (Nehru, 75). More recently, a less rigid class system has emerged, “defined not just in terms of income, but also as values, cultural affinities, lifestyles, educational attainments and service sector …show more content…
In contrast, the majority of India’s middle-class are pretentious, seeing themselves as superior and distancing themselves from the lower-class, who, as a result, are reduced to living in abject …show more content…
Judgement based on middle-class values leads to the conclusion that lower-class citizens are failures in society. It could be argued that the middle- class in not at fault and that Fokir’s belief in fate kept him from trying to better himself. However, Kanai’s contempt for Fokir and his lifestyle is revealed during an out-of-body experience where Kanai becomes “a token for a vision of human beings in which a man such as Fokir counted for nothing, a man whose value was less than that of an animal” (Ghosh, 270). For a brief time, Kanai is able to feel the oppression. Kanai was judged and found to be worthless as a human being. Oppression serves to exaggerate the troubles of the lower-class. Fokir could live without education, position, and wealth, but he could not live without respect. His last heroic act, saving Piya’s life, earned him the respect he was due as a human being, but could not obtain as one of the

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