Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Love and Longign in Bombay - Narration

I find it interesting to think about the ways in which the stories about home are being communicated to readers. In Achebe’s work, Things Fall Apart, the story is told from the third person perspective and readers can’t truly be sure who the narrator truly is. The narrator is elusive. In Vikram Chandra’s piece, Love and Longing in Bombay, the narrator is clear; it is the old man, Subramanian. Yet still, someone in the audience is still reframing the stories we are told. I wonder what effect this brings to how we digest the story itself.  This narration style causes me to be hyper aware of the fact that I am reading the stories about strangers I’ve never met in a land I’ve never even been to. This is not to say that I did not feel as if I was able to experience what life for the characters involved was like, but that I was more aware of the sense of longing and discontent that even one’s own home or birthplace could endorse. In this respect, one of the interesting moments for me is when the narrator himself assumes that he knows that the reason why a husband and wife had been murdered. The narrator asserts that the reason must have been a very simple one without even hearing the details; he assumes it is something ”simple and stupid” (76). The Subramanian corrects him, however, informing him that it could actually be very complicated, and the narrator is ashamed of himself (76). I feel as if this moment is one that readers are supposed to model after, especially sine it occurs earlier on. It is true that there are certain universal human truths that spark conflicts and reactions, but maybe that doesn’t give us the license to assume we know  someone else’s story without having heard it. Better yet, maybe the message is that we shouldn’t reduce someone else’s story to something simple. For as Subramanian said it could be “the most complicated thing of all” (76).

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