The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide Part 2: The Wave Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the wind's intensity increases, the flying objects grow larger. Piya sees an entire clump of mangroves and the shrine to Bon Bibi flying through the air. She's thankful for the trunk in front of her, as it blocks the flying objects from hitting her. She tries to match Fokir's breathing behind her. Hearing a deep noise, Piya glances around the tree and sees a wall of water coming at them. She freezes in fear as Fokir holds her tightly against the tree, and they both take a huge breath right before the wave hits them. The water pushes the tree almost to the ground, and Piya knows the water is deep. She tries to untie the sari knot to free herself, but Fokir won't let her. As Piya struggles, the pressure lessens and the tree straightens above the water.
Again, it's clear here that Fokir knows what to do and doesn't let panic get the best of him. When the shrine to Bon Bibi flies away, it suggests that Piya and Fokir are truly on their own, without even local divine figures to save them. In turn, this reinforces that while locals can certainly pray and put faith in divine intervention, these efforts may be insufficient in the face of the violent, unpredictable natural world.
Themes
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Kanai races for the guesthouse and knocks on the door. As soon as Nilima unlatches it, the wind whips it back and wrenches her wrist. After they both ascertain that the other is well, Kanai insists they gather essential things from downstairs and then move upstairs to escape the coming floods. They fill two suitcases with files and food and then make their way up. Once upstairs, the wind seems quieter. Kanai explains that he and Horen had to leave Piya and Fokir outside, and admits that he lost the notebook.
When the storm is even able to harm Nilima from the safety of her own home, it shows again that nature cares little for its human inhabitants—and further, that manmade objects and dwellings are ineffective means of fighting back successfully.
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Nilima is horrified, but composes herself and asks if Kanai read it. Kanai says it was mostly about Morichjhãpi and what Nirmal experienced in the lead-up to the assault on the island. Nilima asks why Nirmal didn't leave it to her, and Kanai carefully says that Nirmal seemed to think that she wouldn't be sympathetic. Angry, Nilima insists she was sympathetic, but she was willing to focus her attention on making Lusibari better while Nirmal wanted to either fix the whole world or nothing. She insists he ended up with nothing, which Kanai refutes. He insists the notebook was something, and explains that he's going to rewrite it from memory. Nilima asks that Kanai write her side of the story too, as her story never gets told.
By asking Kanai to write her story, Nilima recognizes that there's power in the kind of writing that Nirmal did and Kanai can now do. Written language has the power to spread her life story, which she seems to think is boring and uninteresting in comparison to Nirmal's. By doing this, Nilima essentially forces Nirmal to compromise on his principles in death—their stories combined will hopefully shed light on the Sundarbans and the Morichjhãpi conflict that he'd find possibly distasteful, but will be able to help people.
Themes
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Kanai hears the tidal surge coming and peeks out the window. He sees people at the hospital looking at the floodwaters, and Nilima admits that they never would've built the cyclone shelter if Nirmal hadn't insisted. She says it's the most important thing he ever did, though he'd surely insist it wasn't revolution and therefore, wasn't important.
Nilima's admission that Nirmal was responsible for the cyclone shelter shows that she did admire her husband for some things, as long as she was actually able to put his ideas or suggestions into practice with Trust funding.
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Related Quotes
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As the eye of the storm hits Garjotola, Piya looks around. Fokir stands and appears to be searching for another branch to move to. He crouches and points into the distance, where Piya sees a tiger pulling itself out of the water. The tiger watches Piya and Fokir for a few minutes before slipping back into the water to follow the eye of the storm. Piya and Fokir tie themselves back to the tree, and the other side of the storm hits them. Piya realizes that the wind is now coming from the opposite direction—the flying objects are hitting Fokir. He holds her so closely, she feels as though they're one.
Cyclones are composed of winds that circle the eye of the storm, hence the change in the wind's direction when the other half hits them. The fact that the tiger does nothing to Piya and Fokir suggests that Bon Bibi is still present on the island, and it also implies that in times like this, the tigers are just as beholden to the whims and violence of the natural world as humans are.
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