“For them I am a sweeper, sweeper — untouchable! Untouchable! Untouchable! That’s the word! Untouchable! I am an Untouchable!”(pg. 100)
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. Penguin Books, 2014
This pivotal internal moment shows a conscience mind reacting to the unfortunate reality of society and its ways. The repetition of the word “untouchable” shows this built up anger and outrage, Bakha, a worker, has in him. The workers are regarded in such a negative way, stripped of human rights, and this moment when Bakha say this shows him realizing the true severe meaning of an “untouchable”. Before it was something he knew about in his subconscious and to an extent accepted and at this moment after his encounter with the higher caste man, he has a moment of realization where he feels what it is to be an untouchable.
“‘Why aren’t the latrines clean, you rogue of a Bakhe! There is not one fit to go near! I have walked all around! Do you know you are responsible for my piles? I caught the contagion sitting on one of those unclean latrines!'” (9)
What is evident in class distinction from the beginning of the novel is how Bakha’s treatment is evidence of the way social hierachy is met with rigidity: noting how Havildar Charat Singh, the famous hockey player (9) who is addressing Bakha in this quotation, immediately dehumanizes him because he is of a much lower social class. The stratification of groups here is already solidified under the idea that there is a presumed quality of character to go along with the roles; how could Bakha even go about improving his life quality when all the people above him have no qualms with treating him like he deserves his place?
“Quite frightened her, and made her think he suspected her of something, though what good a body could be to her, poor girl, I can’t imagine, and so I told the inspector.”
Sayers, Dorothy, L. “Whose Body” Dover Publications, INC. Mineola, New York 2009.
This quote occurs early in the novel, but highlights a reoccurring social issue pertaining to the novel. The quote ties ideas about gender and women as victims allowing the idea of feminism in a crime, mystery novel to be analyzed. In this early scene Thipps’ ability to not imagine shows a somewhat closed off view, and failure of reading. A feminist reading of this scene could point out that assumptions are avoided due to the fact of gender, which leads to social issues.