The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss


Kiran Desai

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The Inheritance of Loss: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Sai remembers how gentle she and Gyan had been with each other, and then how ferocious his look had been warning her to stay away in Darjeeling. Gyan returns to Cho Oyu a final time after ignoring her, sitting at the table “as if in chains.” He apologizes for being human, and she gets angry at his feeble excuses. He interrupts her, saying that he doesn’t have to listen to her tirades, and leaves. She cries.
Whereas Gyan and Sai previously respected each other, and their relationship had been extremely caring, here Gyan continues to push away from this dynamic. The misogyny in society gives him a license to ignore her, thinking that he is a grown man with ambition and principle and she is merely a young girl without ideals.
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Sai continues to hope for Gyan’s return. She reads Wuthering Heights and waits. She visits Uncle Potty, who confesses that he had considered himself a lover of love, often finding it in “the wrong sides of town.” He describes some of the men he had loved, and who loved him. But Sai is too close to the situation to appreciate his perspective.
Uncle Potty’s stories again demonstrate how different forms of disadvantage and privilege intersect for very different outcomes. Uncle Potty and his lovers are marginalized for their sexuality, but Uncle Potty’s education, family name, and wealth kept him in the upper-class society, inherently oppressing others as well.
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Sai next goes to Mon Ami. Noni and Lola ask who is causing her distress, and whether he is tall, fair, handsome, and rich. Sai is rescued from her misery in getting a cold, which gives her an excuse for her tears, sore throat, and dismal mood. When her cold starts to wane, she goes out to find Gyan.
Noni and Lola continue to reveal their Western bias, providing Sai with a textbook description of a Western idea of what male beauty means, almost as if it is taken from a European fairy tale.
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon