The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide Part 2: Kratie Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the tide rises, the dolphins leave the pool and Fokir rows back to the Megha. Piya showers and then sits by the rail to watch the landscape. Kanai joins her, and they begin talking about their past romances. Piya says that being alone is part of her job, but she did have one serious relationship in Kratie, Cambodia. She was studying Orcaella and often ended up in the same café as a Fisheries Department officer named Rath, who spoke English. They slowly began spending time together, and they shared their stories of difficult childhoods. Piya thought she was going to be the lucky biologist who found love.
With this story, Piya shows how she uses her interest in nature to actively separate herself from men and even other people. However, her interest in Rath suggests that she doesn't necessarily want to be alone; being alone is more a matter of comfort and safety than anything else. When she and Rath used the stories of their childhoods to connect, it again shows how language and storytelling can create better and more complex means of knowing someone.
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Rath took Piya to the airport for a conference in Hong Kong, and they emailed daily for several weeks. Then, the messages stopped. When Piya got back to Kratie, she learned that Rath hadn't just married another woman, but he'd also told all the other officers all her personal secrets. Piya packed up a week later. Upon talking to some female friends a bit later, they all laughed—apparently, that sort of thing is common. They counseled Piya to be happy being alone. Kanai feels as though Piya is truly extraordinary, and he suggests she doesn't have to be alone.
Notice that Kanai is becoming far more interested in engaging with Piya as a person and sharing in her emotions, rather than thinking of her as an object to be won. This shows that his ideas of what constitutes language and communication is beginning to shift and change to a more nuanced and varied way of looking at it.
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