Sunday, May 22, 2016
Great Expectations By Charles Dickens and Coolie By M.R. Anand
Munoo an Incarnation of Pip?
Pip at Estella's House
Mulk Raj Anand is a distinguished Indian writer in English. His work reflects social and economic concerns of the oppressed class of society. That results into injustice, class conflicts, and exploitation of the poor people by rich etc. Coolie is a novel first published in the year 1936. It is the life story of an orphan Munoo, a 14-year-old hill boy and his various kinds of exploitations as the underdog in the society.
The novel is a panorama of Indian Society during the British Regime. The poverty and hunger across the various cross section of society in rural and urban area, evils of rapid
industrialisation, consequential trade unrest and communalism
due to British Policy in India and snobbish behaviour of Britishers in India is
painted over the entire canvas of the novel.
Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens first published in the year 1861. Charles himself had a troubled childhood and his descriptions of suffering and exploitations are more genuine and heart touching. Pip is the central character of the novel. He is 8 years old orphan living with abusive sister and kindhearted brother-in-law. He is taken to the house of a cynical rich lady living with her adopted daughter. He helps a criminal under threat, who in turn arranges education of Pip through an attorney in London. Pip reaches London, is disillusioned when comes to know about benefactor, and comes back to Kent and finds his first love, waiting for him.
Charles Dickens had to work in Blacking Factory when his was father was in Debtor’s Jail. Mulk Raj Anand was born in a well to do family and received his higher education in England.
Pip and Munoo, both are orphans. Both are ill-treated and abused by relatives in childhood. An orphan child is an economic burden on the poor families, whether it is England or India. Society of England and India are patriarchal, but in domestic matters, the will of Lady of the house prevails.
Pip is ill treated by his
own sister Mrs. Joe and Munoo by his aunt. Pip’s first encounter with the
opposite sex happens with Estella, and Munoo is enchanted by Sheila, the elder
daughter of Bank cashier Nathooram. Estella slaps and rebukes Pip, Munoo bites
the cheeks of Sheila, who teases him for banana while playing a monkey game. Pip
determines to win the love of Estella, Munoo runs away, never to see Sheila
Pip reaches London, Munoo to Mumbai. This is turning point in both the novels. So far, both the novels cover the wide spectrum of society and can be called picaresque, but growth of Pip as an individual after every incident is remarkable, while Munoo remains the victim of drudgery his whole life.
Pip is a
round character while Munoo is a flat character. Great Expectations is an
example of the Bildungsroman, Coolie is not.
Both the novels have female characters, but their relationship with the main characters has been left to the imagination of readers. Lakshmi, wife of Hari, and Mrs. Mainwaring soothes or inflame Munoo’s desires, while Estella and Biddy do the same for Pip.
Charles Dickens changed the end of the novel on the recommendation of Bulwer Lytton. Pip meets Estella at the end of the novel; Munoo finds solace in the arms of death, the eternal bride of sufferers.
Munoo is a second-rate version of Pip.
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© Vipin Behari Goyal