The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide


Amitav Ghosh

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The Hungry Tide: Part 1: The Trust Summary & Analysis

Lusibari supports several thousand people. Some have lived there since the 1920s, others have come more recently as other islands were set aside for wildlife. Though Lusibari appears like any normal island, life there is dependent on the bãdh to protect it from the twice-daily floods. Nilima lives in a house owned by the Babadon Trust, which has a guesthouse on the second floor. On their way there, Nilima tells Kanai that dinner will be upstairs for him, courtesy of a nurse trainee named Moyna. Upon hearing her name, the van's driver tells Nilima that Moyna is frantically searching for her husband and son, who are missing.
By making it clear that Lusibari is dependent on its bãdh to keep it from flooding, the novel again shows that life in the Sundarbans is lived at the mercy of the natural world. The mention that some residents have come from islands that were evacuated to make room for wildlife conservation suggests that the conservation efforts in the Sundarbans don't always take the lives of locals into consideration.
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Nilima clicks disapprovingly about Moyna's husband and then tells Kanai that her husband is Fokir, Kusum's son. Nilima sighs as she says that Kusum was killed long ago. She declines to explain how or why, but says that Fokir was brought up by Horen. She points out the hospital, and explains that they have electricity there for a few hours every night. When they finally reach the guesthouse, Nilima directs Kanai to Nirmal's study on the roof, where the packet is stored.
Nilima's unwillingness to speak about how Kusum died tells Kanai and the reader a lot about how she feels about it: it's likely difficult, unknown, or happened in the course of something Nilima doesn't agree with. This begins to show that what's not said in spoken language can be just as important as what is said, adding another layer to the way that language works.
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