The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The cook is sure that because Biju is cooking American food, he has a higher position than if he were cooking Indian food. The other letters Biju had sent trace a string of jobs he has had, each in a different restaurant. In letters, the cook tells Biju to make sure he is saving money.
The cook demonstrates just how internalized cultural elitism can be: even characters in India believe that making American food contains more cultural capital than making Indian food.
Themes
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Sai had once ordered an inflatable globe from National Geographic, which traveled all the way from Nebraska. When it arrived, she and the cook blew it up and examined India and New York. The cook was surprised to hear that India experiences the day first, as that fact didn’t seem to mirror anything else about the relationship between the two countries.
The globe that Sai orders is a literal and metaphorical reflection of the way globalization makes the world smaller. She ordered and received a globe which itself traveled from America, and then she and the cook compare the two countries in miniature. Again, the cook’s thoughts reflect his implicit bias that America and other Western countries are superior, a direct result of colonialism.
Themes
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
The policemen, having exposed the cook’s poverty, leave. Sai is embarrassed at seeing the cook’s hut, a place into which she rarely goes. She sees that their friendship is shallow, particularly because she speaks English and he speaks Hindi.
Sai’s pity stems from their difference in wealth. Unlike the policemen and the boys, however, she does not wish to see the cook humiliated. She is one of the few characters that wishes (at least some of the time) to traverse the class divide.
Themes
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
Sai recalls when she first met the cook—nine years earlier, when she had left St. Augustine’s convent. When she arrived, the door had been locked, and the cook had unlocked the gate for her. She had seen how he aged very quickly from his lifetime as a servant.
Sai further explains her background, and how her life, like the judge’s, differs so greatly from the cook’s life.
Themes
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
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In the present, Sai expresses her frustration at the way the police left the cook’s hut, and the mess they have made of his letters. The cook is less disturbed, knowing that they had to search his hut in order to complete their investigation. He collects the letters, hoping that one day Biju will find some pride in seeing them after accomplishing so much.
Again, one of the cook’s strongest traits comes out in his self-deprecation. The judge (and the culture as a whole) has biased him against people like himself, teaching him to trust wealthy people and British people more than other servants, an idea that Biju will echo later.
Themes
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon