A House for Mr Biswas

Bipti Character Analysis

Mr Biswas’s selfless mother, Bipti, suffers immensely and seemingly insensibly throughout the book. After giving birth to the protagonist at her mother Bissoondaye’s hut, Bipti watches her husband, Raghu, die, her older boys go off to the cane fields, her daughter runs away with a yard boy, and her other son, Mr Biswas, struggle to find himself a job or wife. Her depression at this misfortune abates suddenly when Mr Biswas marries into the Tulsi clan, which she considered the last element of her life’s work. Although she believes she has nothing more to live for, she also finds a sense of peace and comfort for the rest of the novel, even though Mr Biswas is often reluctant to visit her. When she visits him at Shorthills, however, and develops a close relationship with his wife, Shama, Mr Biswas suddenly comes to respect his mother immensely. When Bipti dies, he mourns at length, even though he never appreciated her during her life.

Bipti Quotes in A House for Mr Biswas

The A House for Mr Biswas quotes below are all either spoken by Bipti or refer to Bipti. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A House for Mr Biswas published in 2001.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

Mr Biswas never went to work on the estates. Events which were to occur presently led him away from that. They did not lead him to riches, but made it possible for him to console himself in later life with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, while he rested on the Slumberking bed in the one room which contained most of his possessions.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti, Raghu, Pratap, Prasad
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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And so Mr Biswas came to leave the only house to which he had some right. For the next thirty-five years he was to be a wanderer with no place he could call his own, with no family except that which he was to attempt to create out of the engulfing world of the Tulsis. For with his mother’s parents dead, his father dead, his brothers on the estate at Felicity, Dehuti as a servant in Tara’s house, and himself rapidly growing away from Bipti who, broken, became increasingly useless and impenetrable, it seemed to him that he was really quite alone.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti, Raghu, Dehuti
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

In this way official notice was taken of Mr Biswas’s existence, and he entered the new world.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti, Lal , F.Z. Ghany
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

Mr Biswas went past Dehuti to look at the body. Then he did not wish to see it again. But always, as he wandered about the yard among the mourners, he was aware of the body. He was oppressed by a sense of loss: not of present loss, but of something missed in the past. He would have liked to be alone, to commune with this feeling. But time was short, and always there was the sight of Shama and the children, alien growths, alien affections, which fed on him and called him away from that part of him which yet remained purely himself, that part which had for long been submerged and was now to disappear.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Shama, Savi, Anand, Bipti, Dehuti
Page Number: 461
Explanation and Analysis:
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The poem written, his selfconsciousness violated, he was whole again.

Related Characters: Mr Biswas, Bipti
Page Number: 465
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bipti Character Timeline in A House for Mr Biswas

The timeline below shows where the character Bipti appears in A House for Mr Biswas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...began to build the next—Mr Biswas found this touching because he neglected his own mother (Bipti), who died “in great poverty.” In his refined English, the clerk claimed that he was... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 1: Pastoral
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Mr Biswas’s parents had “another quarrel” just before his birth, leading his mother, Bipti, to take her three children from his father, Raghu, and walk to the village where... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Pundit Sitaram recommended a name starting with “Mo,” and Bipti could only think of “hun,” so Mr Biswas became Mohun—a holy name for Krishna, the... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
On his ninth day of life, Mr Biswas’s sixth finger simply fell off in bed; Bipti “thought this was an excellent sign” and buried it in the backyard. He got “attention... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...very confused at being held above an oiled brass plate, but the viewing was successful. Bipti and her children went home to Raghu, and henceforth “Mr Biswas’s importance steadily diminished.” “He... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
One morning, Raghu heard Mr Biswas sneeze from the road, and Bipti had to convince him to go on to work; he returned shortly thereafter with a... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...and upon walking it to feed one day he came across the shallow stream where Bipti and Dehuti washed the family’s clothes. He returned to the stream periodically, disturbing its fish... (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...and Raghu told him and Prasad to go search for Mohun and the missing animal. Bipti mentioned that Mohun “knows he mustn’t go near water” and Dhari wailed, believing that Mr... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Bipti began sending the villagers with messages, most importantly to her childless sister Tara, “a person... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...he never tried meat) and began spitting furiously. Tara led the women in wailing for Bipti; because “cremation was forbidden,” Raghu lay in a coffin wearing his finest dhoti. “Photo now,”... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...family all together for the last time,” as they split up shortly after the funeral. Bipti sent Dehuti to Tara, where she would learn etiquette and find odds of marrying well... (full context)
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...Mr Biswas thought his unsalted food tasted like raw flesh and spat it out. After Bipti gave him Raghu’s blanket, he screamed all night, as the raw smell seemed to emanate... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...Dhari’s meddling in the garden and went to work at the buffalo pond. After sunrise, Bipti went outside to see their flowers uprooted and vegetables destroyed. Dhari yelled from across the... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
At night, Bipti, Pratap and Prasad waited with Raghu’s cutlasses and sticks—Mr Biswas again drifted off to sleep... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
“In the end Bipti sold the hut and the land to Dhari” before moving with Mr Biswas to live... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: Before the Tulsis
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
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Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...teacher Lal—a convert from Hinduism to Presbyterianism—asked him for his age and birth certificate, which Bipti could not produce. (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Tara took Bipti to the decrepit office of an uncouth solicitor named F.Z. Ghany, who handled a few... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...and unhappy with his accommodation in a mud hut full of strangers, and especially with Bipti’s sense of depression and lack of affection. His fully-grown, boring brothers visited at Christmastime, and... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
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Bipti worried that none of her children had married, and Tara nevertheless decided to pull Mr... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Bipti was alarmed, not excited, to see Mr Biswas upon his return. She questioned him in... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
Bipti was also irritated because she was forced to defend Dehuti, who eloped with the yard... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...a floor mattress in a windowless room. Whenever the shop was closed, he would visit Bipti, Alec, or Tara, whose bookcase now had twenty volumes of The Book of Comprehensive Knowledge,... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
...beat Mr Biswas until his cheekbone bled and kicked him out, sending him back to Bipti. (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
When Mr Biswas returned home, Bipti massaged him with oil “for the first time since he was a baby” and argued... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...stalls, and watched carts race up and down the road. He went home to inform Bipti that he would not take a job or see Tara, but planned to kill himself,... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
...rich descriptions of “intoxicating worlds” excited him. He grew restless and wanted to move, but Bipti thought herself too old to live among strangers. (full context)
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
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Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Bipti also promised to marry off the reluctant Mr Biswas, which would complete her life’s work.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Tulsis
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...he realized that marriage would create enormous problems for him: where he and his mother, Bipti, would live, and especially how he would get a job. He figured that the Tulsis... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
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...and returned to Pagotes, coming to see the whole affair as a “good fright.” However, Bipti immediately began praising him for marrying into a good family and went to visit Hanuman... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...on the bridge that connected that part of the house to the statue-filled drawing-room that Bipti had found so impressive. The small, unadorned prayer-room lay above the drawing-room. (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
...houses he ever lived in as nothing more than “a visitor, an upsetter of routine.” Bipti probably was not thinking of him, and his childhood home had been destroyed. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: The Chase
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...celebrations—which excluded all the sons-in-law—invariably reminded him. He would always return to Pagotes and see Bipti, who always compared him to Raghu and claimed “she had nothing more to do, and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Green Vale
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...eating and drinking and the unfortunate eventual beating of wives. Mr Biswas went to visit Bipti and Tara, then on Boxing-day, his brothers Pratap and Prasad who “had married nondescript women... (full context)
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
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...with Rabidat, and then began chatting with Mr Biswas, who pretended he was visiting because Bipti was sick. They drank some milk from the cows, Mr Biswas said that his mother... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...from atop a hill, he saw a crying woman—who was “Shama, Anand, Savi, his mother [Bipti]”—seeking help but wanted her to go away. Tarzan was outside the door with an injured... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1: “Amazing Scenes”
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
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Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
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...village where Prasad lived found him. Then, he went to see Pratap and discovered that Bipti had been living with him for some time. She had suddenly become “active and lucid,”... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3: The Shorthills Adventure
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Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
Mr Biswas sent for Bipti to visit. Her feelings about the new house were unclear, and since his children had... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4: Among the Readers and Learners
Social Status and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
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Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...started another short story—but, as usual, never finished it, for news came that his mother, Bipti, had died. (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Gender and Family Theme Icon
...for her illegitimate marriage, and Ramchand helped plan the funeral arrangements. Mr Biswas glanced at Bipti’s body and then wandered around, wishing he could be alone, feeling that he had lost... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
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Colonialism, Oppression, and Escape Theme Icon
...tried to comfort him and finally learned he was writing to Doctor Rameshwar, who signed Bipti’s death certificate after cursing and berating the family. Realizing his family would offer him comfort... (full context)
Independence vs. Belonging Theme Icon
Education, Work, and Language Theme Icon
Mr Biswas still felt the pain of having failed to know, honor, or love Bipti; soon, he started another letter, this time addressed to her, remembering her clearing the brush... (full context)