Comparing Freedom at Midnight and Clear Light of Day
‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’– Samuel Johnson (quoted from a proverb).
The various forms of oppression, over race, class, or gender, all operate with one uniform principle: a belief in their own superiority over another. Just as women have always suffered under the oppression of men in patriarchal systems, a quarter of the world, the natives of India, the aborigines of Australia, the Canadians and Africans, endured the iron hand of British rule for centuries. Using the novels, Freedom at Midnight by Dorninique Lapierre and Larry Collins, and Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai, I explore the relationship between the British colonizers and the Indian people, and the relationship between Bakul, an Indian diplomat, and Tara, his innocent wife. The relationships between the two countries and the married couple represent a mother/child relationship by incorporating the idea of co-dependency. In Freedom at Midnight Great Britain plays the role of a matemal parent that ‘intends’ to save India, while India appears to be a rambunctious child, needing to be tamed. Within Desai’s novel, Clear Light of Day, Bakul is a self-serving parent who sees hope in reforming Tara and ‘intends’ to rescue her from her primitive world in Old Delhi. While both Britain and Bakul begin with good intentions, the result of their efforts, especially Britain’s, proves to be detrimental to India and Tara, respectively.
In Freedom at Midnight, the British, through the East India Company, initially claim India for the economic goal to enrich the mother country, Great Britain. With the intent to improve trade with India, the East India Compan…
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