The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

by

Amitav Ghosh

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The Hungry Tide: Part 2: Beginning Again Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Kanai resumes reading Nirmal's notebook. On the way back to Lusibari, Nirmal feels invigorated and refreshed. He laughs that the storm that led him and Horen to Morichjhãpi has transformed him. Horen asks what Nirmal plans to teach his students, and Nirmal suddenly deflates. Nirmal sits down and thinks. He decides to begin by making connections between the mythical tales the children will be familiar with and geology. He imagines what questions the children will ask and how he'll lead the conversation.
While Nirmal's imaginings are charming, his conceptions of the students are also extremely idealistic. This, combined with Nirmal's insistence that theory must be applied in its entirety, suggests that even if Nirmal is able to actually move forward with establishing a school on Morichjhãpi, he may get hung up on the fact that children don't always behave as expected, especially in idealized imaginings.
Themes
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
Nirmal wants to show them how the Ganga riverbed continues into the ocean, and how the Indian subcontinent moved in prehistoric times. He'll mention the river dolphins that prove that the Indus and the Ganges rivers came from the same sea before two continents collided. He decides he'll tell them a love story about the Ganges river that forms part of the Mahabharata. Nirmal quotes Rilke, saying that singing about love is one thing, but the bloody rivers within people are "something else."
For all of Nirmal's faults, what he wants to impart to his students is essentially that humans and the natural world are intrinsically connected—and that both are also connected through stories. This represents a major meeting of some of the novel's guiding ideas and suggests that when it comes to theory, Nirmal can formulate some complex ideas, even if he cannot actually implement them.
Themes
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon