As I continue reading The Hungry Tide I find more instances of perception. Each character sees the world in a different way and when two characters cross paths throughout the book you notice these differences between the characters as well as the qualities of each character. Going back to the quote I brought up on Monday:
"a map of the sea floor made by geologists. In the reversed reflief of this map they would see with their own eyes that the Ganga does not come to an end after it flows into the Bay of Bengal. It joins with the Brahmaputra in scouring a long, clearly marked channel along the floor of the bay. The map would reveal to them what is otherwise hidden underwater" (150-151).
There are many ways people can perceive rivers. You can look at the flow of the river, how a river connects to another body of water, what lays beneath the surface, the amount of pollution, etc. Depending on the background of a person or a persons interests they may perceive a river in a different way as oppossed to another. A scientist might look at coral reef and see the environmental dangers causing harm to the reef whereas a poet might write about the beauty of the river. It's not always black and white, but there always is some sort of bias towards how you will react.
This is the post that I had started after last week’s class and spoke about last Monday!
Bear with me as I seem to go in circles….
I was thinking about this after class- why is our first inclination upon recognizing the failures of language to give up on? Why are we so ready to claim that connection is impossible, simply because language does not always meet our needs of expression? I realized that the very rhetoric itself we employ to talk about these things is extraordinarily polarizing… this brought me back for a moment to a sense of hopelessness about the state of language and its connective potential; before I reminded myself that acknowledging that language can fail is not a reason to give up trying to connect or communicate- it is a call to be more attentive to the ways in which we attempt/do not attempt those connections; the words we do/or do not choose to utter. It is committing to the labor involved in creating and maintaining fulfilling connections …
Of course, I realize I have a particular stake in protecting language; a substantial part of my education the only thing I ever felt good at was “reading” language… which is why I spent most of my time at Bryn Mawr under the assumption that the only thing I could ever be was an English Major… being attentive to words and language is a critical tool in what I do on a daily basis.
I found myself really struck the other day about our conversation of Kanai and Piya reading the world versus reading the word, and their similarities and differences and interconnections. “Minutes later, she was back in position with her binoculars fixed to her eyes, watching the water with a closeness of attention that reminded Kanai of a textual scholar poring over a yet undeciphered manuscript: it was as though she were puzzling over a codex that had been authored by the earth itself” (222). Kanai as a reader of the word, Piya as a reader of the world: from Kanai’s perspective, Piya as “a language made flesh” (223). But I also want to push against my attachment to this binary of reading the world versus reading the word, as if there were no intersections. Piya doesn’t totally know how to read the tide country as a world yet, and neither does Kanai, as they both trip in the mud. And, as the book progresses and Kanai is faced with challenges and contradictions to his norms and paradigms, he looses his words. When faced with a tiger, words don’t exist anymore, he almost can’t function. Maybe this is sort of a disconnection, but maybe it is more closely tied to his ultra-connected experiences as a translator: “the act of interpretation had given him the momentary sensation of being transported out of his body and into another.
an economic analysis ending with the claim that this is actually not an economic question,
but rather a question of how much we believe we owe those living in the future...
So I'm continuing to mull over the implications of our story slam--whether telling individual stories invites investment in difference, or bridging towards sameness, whether it encourages investment in the stories we know, or an invitation to revise those stories....?
In The Hungry Tide, I kept seeing the constant theme of nature's strength intertwining with humanity. I found the writing to be beautifully detailed and Ghosh made it possible for me to track Piya's, Fokir's, Kanai's travels in my own world created with his writing. Nature is constantly being intertwined with the events, and adventures the characters go through, inevitable. The value of human life and the value of nature seemed tied to me, unable to be one without the other. Life's constant attacks and misfortunes happen through nature's wildlife, like the attack sof the tigers and the tidal waves that drown several individuals.
The value of death and life are constant with the value of nature. Without nature, without wildlife, without it's cycle, we wouldn't be able to survive, to exist. It's all a routine, just like our lives. We are alive and walk among nature and nature is a part of our existence, but also a part of our death, the end of our existence. It's that powerful, I believe. A routine, a cycle not so obvious to aknowledge but a true one at that. What keeps us alive, can also end us.
One of my post-undergrad dreams is to find a way back to France, a country in which I had the opportunity to study abroad junior year. I figured that teaching English would be a way to gain experience in a classroom, keep myself immersed in French culture, and have the chance to explore other parts of Europe as well. Gaining an understanding about the White-Savior Industrial Complex, though, had me questioning my initial desires of wanting to teach English abroad. Did I want to teach abroad with the mentality of “helping” and “making a difference”? Did I subconsciously crave this opportunity as a way to please my ego? How might my own privileges as an American impact my pedagogy in the classroom, and relationship with the community? How would they differ if I were not a woman of color? These kinds of questions inspired my inquiry project into the implications and experiences of Americans teaching abroad.
BlackinAsia and English as a Tool of Imposition