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Nature Strikes Back

pbernal's picture

In The Hungry Tide, I kept seeing the constant theme of nature's strength intertwining with humanity. I found the writing to be beautifully detailed and Ghosh made it possible for me to track Piya's, Fokir's, Kanai's travels in my own world created with his writing. Nature is constantly being intertwined with the events, and adventures the characters go through, inevitable. The value of human life and the value of nature seemed tied to me, unable to be one without the other. Life's constant attacks and misfortunes happen through nature's wildlife, like the attack sof the tigers and the tidal waves that drown several individuals. 

The value of death and life are constant with the value of nature. Without nature, without wildlife, without it's cycle, we wouldn't be able to survive, to exist. It's all a routine, just like our lives. We are alive and walk among nature and nature is a part of our existence, but also a part of our death, the end of our existence. It's that powerful, I believe. A routine, a cycle not so obvious to aknowledge but a true one at that. What keeps us alive, can also end us. 


sara.gladwin's picture

"nature strikes back"--I

"nature strikes back"--

I think this language is so interesting... there seems to be an implication of vengence, as though nature is purposeful in targeting human beings. I think this is another in which we, as humans who can be bound by language and bound by our perceptions of our immediate reality- can only understand the events of nature through anthropomorphic terms... is there anyway to view nature without recreating it in our own image? When we see ourselves primarily reflected in nature, are we "playing god" with reality? And does this reflect our inclination to think anthrocentrically?

--and putting this in conversation to Ghosh, whose descriptions of the Tide Country are constantly made into metaphors for human behavior/ language...

and additionally, I'm now reminded of Paula Allen Gunn's essay about the Keres American Indian Tale, and the revelation that conflict driven plot was not necessarily an innately human reality but a narrative constructed from a patriarchial society... does the narrative which depicts humans' relationships with nature always have to be framed in the language of conflict? I can still remember learning about different literary genres in middleschool and that 'man verses nature' is itself a genre... I feel like 'man verses nature' is an attitude that permeates our daily lives- like thinking of our struggle to get to the Shonibare Exhibit as 'nature' trying to tell us something/prevent us from getting where we need to go, rather than thinking that what we may actually be up against our own human stubbornness, not nature's 'wrath.'

Lisa Marie's picture

Nature's powerful hand in the social world

Similarly to Jessica, I was also struck by the ways in which humans and nature are intertwined throughout the Hungry Tide, but more strongly how much nature determined different individual's decisions and courses or action throughout the story. I think one prominent way in which this is seen is through Piya encountering Fokir in the earlier part of the novel, which happened because she fell out of the boat and was almost enveloped by the water. Additionally, throughout the text, different individuals adapt their behaviors to avoid being harmed by tigers and alligators. It is also interesting how the ways in which certain individuals' skills are valued in their social world do not translate to the natural world. Kanai's language currency is valuable in the social world, and he is able to help Piya converse with Fokir, but is unable to use these language skills in any other ways in the natural world. Thinking about how nature and the characters of this novel are intertwined and how much nature affects the characters' different paths, reminded me of how much mother nature affected this 360, especially how it determined some of the field trips we were and were not able to attend.