The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

Noni Character Analysis

One of the judge’s neighbors, Lola’s sister, and Sai’s first tutor when she arrives at Cho Oyu. She and Lola are upper-class Bengali women who have also assimilated many parts of British and Western cultures, such as celebrating Christmas, reading Jane Austen, and listening to the BBC. Noni becomes a mother figure for Sai in many ways. Noni has never been in love, and counsels Sai to take life’s chances as they come, and to avoid being stuck in an environment in which time does not seem to move forward.

Noni Quotes in The Inheritance of Loss

The The Inheritance of Loss quotes below are all either spoken by Noni or refer to Noni. 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:
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Inheritance of Loss published in 2006.
Chapter 12 Quotes

It was important to draw the lines properly between classes or it harmed everyone on both sides of the great divide.

Related Characters: Sai, The Cook, Noni, Lola
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

Noni: “Very unskilled at drawing borders, those bloody Brits.”

Mrs. Sen, diving right into the conversation: “No practice, na, water all around them, ha ha.”

Related Characters: Sai, Noni, Lola, Mrs. Sen
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 31 Quotes

There was no system to soothe the unfairness of things; justice was without scope […] For crimes that took place in the monstrous dealings between nations, for crimes that took place in those intimate spaces between two people without a witness, for these crimes the guilty would never pay. There was no religion and no government that would relieve the hell.

Related Characters: Sai, Noni, Lola
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 37 Quotes

They rushed out: “This is our land!”

“It is not your land. It is free land,” they countered, putting down the sentence, flatly, rudely.

“It is our land.”

“It is unoccupied land.”

Related Characters: Noni (speaker), Lola (speaker)
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 38 Quotes

The wealth that seemed to protect them like a blanket was the very thing that left them exposed.

Related Characters: Noni, Lola
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:
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Noni Character Timeline in The Inheritance of Loss

The timeline below shows where the character Noni appears in The Inheritance of Loss. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...the morning, the judge instructs the cook to bring Sai to meet her new tutor, Noni. On the road to Noni’s house, the cook points out the neighbors’ houses to Sai.... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Finally, they reach Noni’s house. Noni lives with her sister Lola in a rose-covered cottage named Mon Ami. Lola’s... (full context)
Chapter 9
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...have a watchman, but Lola tells her that he is Nepali, and can’t be trusted. Noni tells her sister to calm down and reassures her that their watchman has always been... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...Lola brags about the plays, the strawberries and cream, and the loveliest gardens. She and Noni listen to Pixie nightly on the BBC, but other Indians hear her name announced with... (full context)
Chapter 11
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Back at Kanchenjunga, the cook drops Sai off at Mon Ami for her tutoring with Noni. In between dropping her off and picking her up, the cook goes to the market... (full context)
Chapter 12
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Sai’s routine continues in Kalimpong until she is sixteen. Noni and Sai ponder a physics textbook, until Noni feels a wave of exhaustion and they... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...the cook talks about his wife and Biju, and about their family affairs and finances. Noni believes that it is inappropriate for servants to speak so openly with their employers, and... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...maid talk, she wondered if she had never experienced real love with her husband, Joydeep. Noni had never experienced love at all, and so was jealous of her maid. (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Noni asks Sai if she wants to meet people her own age; Sai responds instead that... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
Noni and Sai attempt physics a few more times, but to no avail. Noni tells the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
...anticipation for each other grows. The judge tells her to come down. Sai remembers that Noni told her time should move—she should not remain in a life where time never passes.... (full context)
Chapter 21
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Lola and Noni discuss the “insurgency.” Noni thinks the insurgents have a point, but Lola thinks that now... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Noni tells Lola to consider the issue from the Nepalis’ point of view. They had been... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...peeks in. Lola continues their conversation, saying that Darjeeling and Kalimpong never belonged to Nepal. Noni says that the British are very unskilled at drawing borders. Mrs. Sen jokes that they... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Noni asks Mrs. Sen about her daughter in America in order to change the topic, but... (full context)
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
Noni asks Sai if she has any news, to try and change the topic a second... (full context)
Chapter 25
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...grows cold but remains damp. At Christmas, Sai joins Father Booty, Uncle Potty, Lola, and Noni at Mon Ami. They drink and sing, eat soup, mutton, and pudding, and the sisters... (full context)
Chapter 31
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
In March, Father Booty, Uncle Potty, Noni, Lola, and Sai take the Swiss Dairy jeep to exchange their library books at the... (full context)
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
...how ugly it had been in contrast with the beginning of their relationship. Lola and Noni wave at Mrs. Thondup, a Tibetan aristocrat who lives nearby, out the window of the... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...try to accommodate for the population. This added weight has caused many landslides. Lola and Noni comment that the town has really gone downhill—both literally and metaphorically. (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Sai overhears Noni and the librarian trying to reckon with Christian sin and forgiveness in Crime and Punishment.... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Father Booty, Uncle Potty, Noni, Lola, and Sai begin to hear a procession in the street, though they can’t understand... (full context)
Chapter 33
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
On the day of the library trip, Lola, Noni, Father Booty, Uncle Potty, and Sai try to find another restaurant to eat lunch. They... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...in the procession. He sees her, and his expression warns her not to approach him. Noni asks if that was her math tutor. Sai tries to rescue her dignity and denies... (full context)
Chapter 37
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Lola and Noni finish their library books but could not return them. Tourists stop arriving. Children are taken... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
A group of boys from the GNLF search for shelter, and see Lola and Noni’s kitchen window open. They climb through, asking the women to buy their calendars and cassettes... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
In the end, Lola and Noni buy three calendars and two cassettes. The boys then refuse to leave. They eat all... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...and the garden’s output of tomato chutney. Below the steps they notice how Lola and Noni’s property stretches into a lawn. Within a month, a hut appears in the middle of... (full context)
Chapter 38
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...there: how eyes had always watched them. The Nepalis could recognize and name her and Noni as some of the few rich people in the town, but the sisters could barely... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Generations worth of discontent begin to settle upon them, and the things that Lola and Noni had found so innocent and fun (Trollope, the BBC, Christmas), suddenly distinguish them and make... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
When Lola returns to Mon Ami, Noni asks what happened. Lola can’t bring herself to recount the episode. She goes into the... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Noni knocks on the bathroom door and asks if Lola is all right. Lola tells her... (full context)
Chapter 39
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Sai next goes to Mon Ami. Noni and Lola ask who is causing her distress, and whether he is tall, fair, handsome,... (full context)
Chapter 43
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
...police run to private homes for shelter. The police begin to bang on Lola and Noni’s door. They are desperate to get in, but the sisters refuse them. (full context)
Chapter 44
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...made to swear loyalty. Those who aren’t Nepali are treated worse. Bengalis, like Lola and Noni, are completely unacknowledged by friends they have known for years. (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...become a row of huts. They tap phones, water pipes, and electric lines. Lola and Noni’s vegetable patches are stripped overnight, and the area near their gate is used as a... (full context)
Chapter 46
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
...seen her: the milkman, the baker, the plumber, the electrician. He knocks on Lola and Noni’s door, and Mrs. Thondup’s. (full context)
Chapter 47
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...police by sleeping in the homes of the wealthier people in town like Lola and Noni, whose houses they know will not be searched. (full context)
Chapter 53
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...will realize he’s signed away his property and Father Booty’s to new owners. Lola and Noni’s lives would continue unimpeded, and Lola’s daughter will marry an Englishman. Meanwhile Sai wonders where... (full context)