The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide

by

Amitav Ghosh

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Tigers Symbol Icon

In the Sundarbans, tigers symbolize the extraordinary power of the natural world. Locals know that the tigers are always there and can appear and kill with no notice, and they overwhelmingly believe that to even say the word "tiger" is to call the beast itself. Though tigers certainly aren't the only animal or natural force capable of killing people, the special reverence afforded to tigers makes them the representative of the deadliness of the Sundarbans as a whole. Like the tigers, the landscape itself must be treated with respect, reverence, and fear.

Tigers Quotes in The Hungry Tide

The The Hungry Tide quotes below all refer to the symbol of Tigers. 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:
Language Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of The Hungry Tide published in 2006.
Part 1: Nirmal and Nilima Quotes

But for these women the imagining of early widowhood was not a wasted effort: the hazards of life in the tide country were so great; so many perished in their youth, men especially, that almost without exception the fate that they had prepared themselves for did indeed befall them.

Related Characters: Nirmal Bose, Nilima Bose
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Part 2: Crimes Quotes

"Who are these people, I wondered, who love animals so much that they are willing to kill us for them […] it seemed to me that this whole world had become a place of animals, and our fault, our crime, was that we were human beings, trying to live as human beings always have, from the water and the soil."

Related Characters: Kusum (speaker), Nirmal Bose
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 216-17
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Interrogations Quotes

"Because it was people like you," said Kanai, "who made a push to protect the wildlife here, without regard for the human costs. And I'm complicit because people like me […] have chosen to hide these costs, basically in order to curry favor with their Western patrons. It's not hard to ignore the people who're dying—after all, they are the poorest of the poor."

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt (speaker), Piya Roy, Fokir
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 248-49
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2: Signs Quotes

[…] He had become a token for a vision of human beings in which a man like Fokir counted for nothing, a man whose value was less than an animal. In seeing himself in this way, it seemed perfectly comprehensible to Kanai why Fokir should want him dead—but he understood also that this was not how it would be. Fokir had brought him here not because he wanted him to die, but because he wanted him to be judged.

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt, Fokir, Bon Bibi
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Wasn't this why people who lived in close proximity with tigers so often regarded them as being something more than just animals? Because the tiger was the only animal that forgave you for being so ill at ease in your translated world?

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt, Fokir
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The words he had been searching for, the euphemisms that were the source of his panic, had been replaced by the thing itself, except that without words it could not be apprehended or understood. It was an artifact of pure intuition, so real that the thing itself could not have dreamed of existing so intensely.

Related Characters: Kanai Dutt
Related Symbols: Tigers
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Hungry Tide LitChart as a printable PDF.
The hungry tide.pdf.medium

Tigers Symbol Timeline in The Hungry Tide

The timeline below shows where the symbol Tigers appears in The Hungry Tide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: The Tide Country
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Salt and fresh water mingle, and the tides create new islands and destroy others overnight. Tigers, snakes, and crocodiles kill dozens every year. "Sundarbans" means "the beautiful forest," though the etymology... (full context)
Part 1: S'Daniel
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...He abolished the caste system, and people came by the thousands. The snakes, crocodiles, and tigers killed so many people, Sir Daniel started giving out rewards to people who killed them... (full context)
Part 1: Nirmal and Nilima
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...people instead to hunt and fish. Doing that, they drowned and were easy prey for tigers, sharks, and crocodiles. The school was grossly underfunded; all the money apparently went to the... (full context)
Part 1: Words
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...alarm Fokir. He makes vague gestures to the shore, and Piya realizes he's concerned about tigers. She thinks this is silly and starts to mime claws at him, but he grabs... (full context)
Part 1: The Glory of Bon Bibi
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Finally, Dhona sent Dukhey to shore and left without him. Dokkhin Rai, disguised as a tiger, stalked the boy, who called out for Bon Bibi. She came immediately to hold Dukhey,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...never came. He'd gone out looking for firewood, and the entire village helplessly watched a tiger stalk and kill him across the river. Kanai was gripped with the desire to comfort... (full context)
Part 1: Morichjhãpi
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
Nilima explains that Morichjhãpi was an island set aside for tiger conservation, but refugees began to settle there in 1978. They came from a resettlement camp... (full context)
Part 1: Garjontola
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...and Tutul approach a small alter with unfamiliar figures on it, though she notices a tiger. She watches Fokir perform a ceremony and notices a word that sounds like "Allah," which... (full context)
Part 1: A Disturbance
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...bark. Moyna appears in the doorway and asks if he heard "it"—the sound was a tiger, though Kanai recognizes he cannot say the word. He recognizes that Moyna looks anxious because... (full context)
Part 2: Destiny
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...a tree with his gamchha on Garjontola. After the storm passed, he did hear a tiger's roar, but he dreamed of Bon Bibi telling him she'd keep him safe if he... (full context)
Part 2: The Megha
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...Nilima seems somewhat alarmed. She stands up and tells him that it's extremely dangerous out there—tigers pick off several people weekly. She shows Kanai her unofficial records of tiger attacks, which... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...a file down and reads that between 1860 and 1866, 4,218 people were killed by tigers. Kanai wants to know why, but Nilima can't answer. She says that the tigers in... (full context)
Part 2: Memory
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Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Kusum, and Fokir to the shrine, knowing he'd be the first one dead if a tiger came. They place the figures on the shrine, and Nirmal is surprised to hear Horen's... (full context)
Part 2: A Killing
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...go—it sounds like an angry mob. When they reach shore, Horen shines his flashlight onto tiger prints leading towards the village. Horen anxiously tracks the animal's movements until they top the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Horen explains that the tiger probably heard the buffalo giving birth and had then fallen through the thatch roof of... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
...torches onto the thatch. Piya feels angry and betrayed when Kanai translates Fokir's words: that tigers only go into settlements when they want to die. (full context)
Part 2: Interrogations
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...doesn't want to get caught up in the police action that's sure to follow a tiger killing. A while later, Kanai finds Piya leaning on the rail. It's clear she's been... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
Idealism and Theory vs. Practicality and Action Theme Icon
...Piya that the forest service heard that a foreigner was at the village where the tiger was killed, and they likely don't want the news to get out. He even had... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
...Piya sits next to Kanai, looking troubled. She explains that she's still horrified by the tiger killing, but she recognizes that it's probably a normal part of life for people like... (full context)
Part 2: Signs
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...the boat passes close to Garjontola, Fokir stands and points to what he says are tiger tracks in the mud. Kanai can't quite make out the tracks, but Fokir says the... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Kanai finds this idea far-fetched, but Fokir says that the tigers tend to like to watch strangers. Kanai is fairly certain that Fokir is playing a... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...of how animals kill people in tide country: crocodiles drown people before eating them, while tigers mercifully kill people instantly. Kanai pulls himself up and wades into the mangroves, trying to... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...Horen run to him and haul him into the boat. He babbles about seeing the tiger, though Horen and Fokir insist there isn't one around. (full context)
Part 2: The Wave
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Human Cost of Environmental Conservation Theme Icon
...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... (full context)