Divided in four parts – “The Year of Our Loves and Friendships”, “The Year of Her Passion”, “The Years of Betrayal”, and “Homecoming- The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is a bold attempt at telling the epic of Asian people in Africa. It is a novel concerning themes of love, passion, commitment and more importantly, identity. The narrator, Vikram Lall, is a Kenyan born Indian who grows up in an era where rebellion, confusion, and disruption were all prevalent. In this journal, you will learn about the characters, themes, and settings in the first half of this book. Part One: The Year of Our Loves and Friendships In the first section we are introduced to the Lall family, who are residents of Kenya.
At once the reader is introduced to the idea of cross-racial and cross-cultural love. Vikram and his younger sister Deepa have befriended the son of their gardener, Njoroge. It is immediately apparent that Deepa and Njoroge have romantic feelings for one another. What makes this unusual is the fact that Njoroge is black. B y doing this it is apparent that Vassanji is illustrating that even in a time where inter-racial love was not socially acceptable, it still existed. He further emphasized this through the portrayal of Vic’s romantic relationship with Annie, a British girl whose brother was friends with Vikram.
This alludes to the “in-between” portion of the title, for intertwining of several different races can be viewed as “in-between.” The fact Vassanji consistently refers to a time where racism was predominant it forces the reader to think back to the time where East Africa was very “confused.” Both of my parents are from East Africa and lived in here the precise time that Vassanji is referring to. They witnessed first hand the lack of identity that existed at that time. Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya were ruled by the British, run by the Indians and populated by the Africans. Because everyone played a different role they all felt like visitors on a foreign land. The Africans, whose land it was initially, were very angered by these circumstances and tribes like the Mau Mau went to great lengths to get back their land. Bloodshed was not an uncommon tactic for they resorted to it quite often.
The Destiny of Man and Environment in Jean Sasson's Love in a Torn Land Dr. Azad Hamad Sharif Instructor Department of English College of Languages Salahaddin University Erbil – Kurdistan Region I- Abstract The struggle of the Kurdish people for existence has recently received much attention from many writers around the world. The armed conflict between the Iraqi regimes and the Kurdish freedom ...
In fact, in the novel, Annie and Billy’s family are murdered by the Mau Mau for they were of British decent. Annie’s Death marked the moment where Vikram lost his love. He had given his heart to Annie and when she died she took his heart with her. This made me question the characters believability because going to Tanzania, I can say that even presently races don not co-mingle. It is rare to see blacks hanging out with Indians or whites, for segregation is still common.
On the other hand, Vassanji did an impressive job of developing these relationship and used outside figures, such as Vic’s mom, to depict the un-accepting aspect of their friendships. These children were clearly ignoring racial barriers that were in place in that time but their bonds and love for one another was real and truly genuine for the relationships which are formed in the beginning of the novel are intact throughout the entire of the story. Part Two: The Year of her Passion Vic tells his story in small snippets of recollection. For example, his encounter with Seema at the library creates some curiosity for what had occurred in East Africa that opened him to migrate to Canada. It is obvious that Vikram has committed some sort of crime which forced him to flee, but were not told much more be yong that.
This technique at times can be frustrating but more often than not just urges the reader to read further in hope to gain some more insight on the past and there is therefore successful. After briefly touching upon the present, Vic then proceeds with telling the story of his past. After returning to Kenya from Dar-es-salaam, Njo and Deepa’s love is indeed rekindled. Unfortunately, this entire section is basically a battle between love and politics, and politics undoubtedly prevails. The first occasion where politics appears is when Njo and Vic meet for the first time since his return.
A research effort titled Electioneering campaign, songs and party politics in south western Nigeria Table of contents Abstract Introduction Chapter 1: African music Chapter 2: Background to Nigeria election process Chapter 3: Music and Politics in Nigeria the meeting point Chapter 4: Music and electioneering campaign in south western Nigeria Chapter 5: Other impacts of music Conclusion References ...
Vic clearly has no interest for politics, but not because he is ignorant, which one may quickly assume, but I think it is more because he is confused. Njo is loyal to Jumo (black leader) because he, like Jumo, is a native of Africa. Annie and Billy are loyal to the queen because they are British. Vic is neither and so he has no idea what to believe. This also is an allusion to the “In-Between.” When Vic musters up the courage to say, “They [Mau Mau] are evil, those who kill children” Njo dismisses it immediately by saying “And what about those who kill our grandfathers? Innocent people die in war, this is the reality.” (Page 167) The author does a great job at depicting the conflicting viewpoints. It makes the reader question tradition vs.
modernity. When Deepa is forced into married Dilip simply because he is a wealthy Indian boy who resides in England, confusion heightens. Why Vic’s parents would insist that Deepa followed Indian traditions when they themselves do not, I still question. Perhaps they faced many obstacles in their marriage that they wanted their daughter to avoid. Or maybe they wanted to ensure that their grandchildren has come sense of identity in having parents of the same background, something that neither Vic nor Deepa had. Regardless of the fact that Deepa’s marriage had been arranged, her love for Njoroge remained a central theme of the novel.
Characters Vikram Lall as a boy is very na ” ive. This is apparent when Njoroge basically cons him into taking a blood oath to Kenyatta. (I swear allegiance to Jumo Kenyatta and if I disobey him let me die.” (Page 98) By this not only is Vassanji revealing Vic’s confused character but it is also creating dramatic irony for the reader would be aware that in the 1970’s Kenyatta’s political partners cruelly purged all Indians from Eastern Africa. But Vikram did not care for Kenyatta, in fact he may have even disliked him, but he places his personal opinions aside for his friendship with Njo, which was on the line, meant more to him than some oath. Setting Imagery is effectively used to describe the setting. “The sun shone gloriously but without a thought of how much the land could bare, it did go down and retire each night, during which interim no could dared come close to bring relief to the earth.
Good writing is never merely about following a set of directions. Like all artists of any form, essay writers occasionally find themselves breaking away from tradition or common practice in search of a fresh approach. Rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. But even groundbreakers learn by observing what has worked before. If you are not already in the habit of reading other writers with an ...
And so the drought continued.” (Page 150) With descriptions like these Kenya is easy to picture. But Vassanji not only uses imagery to portray unnatural violence. “We came out to have a look at this chap and-he had no eyes… Some drunken’ Brits, it seems, out celebrating coronation, plucked out his eyes with a bayonet or something.” The idea of walking out of the street and witnessing such cruelty opens the readers’ eyes to a harsh reality. Style/TechniqueVassanji adequately uses diction to enhance the story as well as using rhetoric questions. These rhetorical questions are very important to the story for they signal the readers response when necessary.
Conclusion Although it took me a while to actually get into the book, as soon as I got in I found it really hard to put down. There is so much conflict both internal and external that upon reading the reader becomes fully submerged. The idea of co-racial relationships was at first hard to believe. I am not exactly sure what will happen in the last two parts of “The In-Between World of Vikram Lall”, but I think that something absolutely shocking will occur, such as Deepa and Dilip will not marry each other, even if their parents want them to. I think that this will cause a lot of anger and betrayal among the families. The more I read through this book, the more I wanted to read.
I hope the ending is as good as the start, but I will have to wait until I have finished reading it to find out.