The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss Chapter 52 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Biju sees the mountainside approach and grows more and more excited to see his father. As nightfall looms, they reach a few small huts, and take down all of their belongings, including Biju’s boxes and cases.
Again, Biju’s return home is characterized mostly by a desire to be with his father again, after years of being undervalued and dehumanized in many ways. This is also communicated by Biju’s traveling to Kalimpong (where his father works) rather than the village in which he lived.
Themes
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Biju asks how long they are staying, and the men reply that he will have to walk the rest of the way. He asks how he will take his luggage, and too late Biju sees that he is being robbed. They point a gun at him and tell him to hand over his wallet and shoes (which contained his savings), followed by his belt, jacket, jeans, and t-shirt. One of the men gives him a woman’s nightgown to put on over his underpants.
The final leg of Biju’s journey ends in another humiliation (the nightgown is also driven by the misogynistic idea that femininity is inherently insulting) and another loss of his entire savings. Biju’s storyline is perhaps Desai’s most cynical, as it argues that poverty and destitution are almost inescapable, because society is constantly trying to take advantage of people, and often those who are most susceptible to this exploitation are those who are the most defenseless in the first place.
Themes
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
Biju runs into the forest, without his luggage, savings, and without his pride. He has returned from America with far less than he’d ever had. He questions why he left. He remembers the last time he saw Saeed Saeed, who planned to divorce his first wife after acquiring his green card and get married for real. Biju’s knee starts to hurt once more.
As Biju feels the old throb of his knee, the injury he experienced at the Gandhi Café symbolizes the disproportionate injustice done to those who are underprivileged, which only those with exceptional luck or charisma, like Saeed, are able to escape.
Themes
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon