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The Raj Quartet (1): The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion
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HISTORY OF SOUTHERN ASIA > 10.THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN ~ November 18th ~ November 24th ~ PART SEVEN ~ The Bibighar Gardens (pg. 364 - 417)) No Spoilers

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message 1: by Jill (last edited Nov 15, 2013 04:10PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Hello Everyone,

For the week of November 18th - November 24th, we are reading Part Seven - The Bibighar Gardens - The Jewel in the Crown - Book One of the Raj Quartet.

The tenth week's reading assignment is:

Week Ten- November 18th - November 24th
PART SEVEN - The Bibghar Gardens (pg 364-417)

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off on September 16th.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, local bookstore or on your Kindle. Make sure to pre-order now if you haven't already. This weekly thread will be opened up on November 18th.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Jill will be leading this discussion and back-up will be Bentley.




The Raj Quartet (1) The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott by Paul Scott Paul Scott



It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.


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Introduction Thread:

Table of Contents and Syllabus


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Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts - SPOILER THREAD

The Raj Quartet (1) The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott by Paul Scott Paul Scott

message 2: by Jill (last edited Nov 17, 2013 05:03PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Chapter Summary and Overview (pg. 364 -417)

We now begin to hear from Daphne through her journal, addressed to her aunt Lady Manners. It is written to be read by Lady Manners after Daphne's death which she seems to think is imminent. She apologizes for the shame she brought to her family and was known as "Manners girl" because of her relationship with Hari and her pregnancy. She admits that she was not a virgin as the doctor who treated her after Bibighar Gardens had said but they were passing fancies. She states the only man she ever loved was Hari but says she is not sure the child belongs to him although she wants to believe it does.

She is the only one who did not know that it was Merrick who was responsible for Hari's arrest and beatings. And she had doubts about why Hari spent time with her except for special reasons. But she tires of the society of the young British group at the club and feels she is wasting her time with them. She asks her Aunt to promise that if she does not survive the birth that if the aunt cannot bear the baby's presence that it find a good home and if it is a boy to name it Hari.

She relates how she and Hari went to Bibighar Gardens because they could be natural with themselves there and not be disturbed. She asks Hari to introduce her to Sister Ludmila who saw nothing wrong with Daphne and Hari being together. Daphne begins working at the Sanctuary in the evening. She is getting the cold shoulder at the club and wants to find another place to meet Hari. She asks him to take her to the Tirupati Temple where English never go. She tells Merrick and he finally admits that color means everything and the situation is revolting. When Daphne meets Hari later, he tells her that it was Merrick that had him arrested and beaten. Daphne begins to believe that she and Hari can never be friends because their friendship would be tested constantly by questions of color and rejection. She knows that the situation of the British in India had reached a flash point.

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Although Daphne is a bit odd, I wonder why she is so sure she is going to die when the child is born. Does she see it as a punishment for her actions of consorting and loving an Indian man?

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Dr. Klauss, who examined Daphne after the rape, said she was not a virgin which was disregarded by everyone who said that she could not know that. We find that indeed she was right.......Daphne had two lovers in the past which frankly surprised me since I saw her as a backward, rather unattractive girl who would not have been very desirable.

message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments "I saw her as a backward, rather unattractive girl who would not have been very desirable."

Jill, we need to talk...

message 6: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) I think Daphne regarded herself as unattractive and something of a klutz. But I was surprised at the revelation of her past lovers.

And as for your question above, on at least a subconscious level, she may have felt guilty about her affair with Hari. But I also get the hint that there is an underlying health problem that causes her to fear she will not survive the birth.

message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Martin wrote: ""I saw her as a backward, rather unattractive girl who would not have been very desirable."

Jill, we need to talk..."

LOL, Martin.

message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) At the club, Daphne realizes how much people are talking about her when one of the young men said "You don't look as if you've got a touch of the tar brush. I've had a bet on it" (pg. 375). She realizes that she doesn't want to waste her time with these young people. I think this is one of the turning points of her rebellion (probably not the best word) against the racism of the British......or am I reading too much into that incident?

message 9: by Donna (last edited Nov 19, 2013 10:12AM) (new)

Donna (drspoon) I don't know if it was the exact turning point, but I definitely got the feeling that Daphne believes she does not "fit in" anywhere - much like Hari, although for different reasons I guess. Because of her social awkwardness, she never really belongs in the British social club, and this becomes increasingly apparent to her in incidents like the one you point out. She has a basic human respect, it seems, for all people, including the Indians and develops honest, non-patronizing relationships with the Indian people she encounters. But doesn't really fit in their world either by virtue of being white and British. So again, in all of the characters in the book, Scott paints a very nuanced and complex view of racial relations and the nature of racism itself.

message 10: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Probably not the defining moment but one that further verified Daphne's belief of not belonging. It struck me as important since someone actually said something to her face as opposed to the gossip behind her back.

message 11: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) Good point. And I agree that Daphne had a rebellious side or at least wasn't afraid to live a little dangerously and out of the "norm".

message 12: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Full disclosure: I am way behind, as I just started within the last week, so if I offer something incredibly stupid, it's not just because I'm ignorant of more things than I know; but also because I've only read 170 pages to this point.

But I wanted to respond to this notion of there being a particular moment because it deals with time in an implied linear fashion. But Scot is also describing a more cyclical sense of time, one that encompasses rebirth and reincarnation.

In Sister Ludmila's section, she describes coming to Santuary with Kumar. Sanctuary, I think, has a double entendre here (sorry if I'm going over what has been already covered). There is the sanctuary of the West, a place of protection, the arbor that Tristan and Isolde sought away from the world. But there also is the concept of sanctuary in the East, which is a combination of a vow or commitment, and entry into a community, especially a religious one.

I see both at work here.

"She [Daphne] was attempting always a wholeness. When there is wholeness there are no causes. Only there is living. The contribution of the whole of one's life, the whole of one's resources, to the world at large. This like the courage to leap, is a wholeness I never had." (p.143)

Given that Ludmila recounts Daphne's story in the context of the story of the triangle between the prince, his son, and the singer, their story (and the buildings involved) are the foundation for the more contemporary story.

I think it's not unreasonable to see either a figurative, or even literal, reincarnation here, a birth/death cycle where Daphne/Kumar/Merrick can be seen as manifestations of the singer/the princes son/the prince.

It's not as if Daphne has a choice. Her karma is, as Ludmila re-cognizes, to jump in and let the current carry her in her pursuit of the whole.

Anywho, that's what I'm playing with at the moment.

message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Martin for the insightful comments. I think we may have touched on the idea of the Sanctuary but we have not looked at the "reincarnation", figurative or literal, concept and it is an interesting one. I think that the manner in which the author uses time was giving a few readers some problems in the beginning of the book but it became apparent that there was a deeper reason that he used this technique........tying the past and the present in a suggestive manner. That is why the story almost fits into a mystery we try to connect the fragments, which are sometimes only alluded to, to make the whole.

message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) Very nice to get some new insights, Martin. I especially like what you say about Daphne and her pursuit of wholeness, which I think really fits her. I have read the book on a much more literal level - as a treatise on race, class, and prejudice along with underlying sexual tensions, especially on the part of Merrick. All of the characters are so wonderfully drawn and the sort of circular time structure allows each one to be heard from his/her own particular perspective. Looking forward to more of your comments.

message 15: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The Bibghar is the only place that Daphne and Hari can feel comfortable. The English don't go there and neither do the children who think it is haunted, so they have privacy. But they felt almost guilty that they had to hide themselves away to escape the disapproval of the population, both British and Indian. This situation, can do one of two things in my opinion......ruin the "friendship" or inflame the idea of the doing something dangerous which is sometimes attractive. What do you think?

message 16: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Jill & Donna,

Thanks for the kind words.

I shouldn't even attempt to speculate on answering your question, Jill. But, since no one else is responding...

I suspect that Bibghar's link is karmic (cause and effect). The narrative goes to a lot of trouble to establish the history of the place.

Given that past, present, and future do not here enjoy their neat, but illusory, distinctions that the west tends to assign to them, I'm inclined to see that Hari and Daphne are manifestations of the same, or very similar, karma associated with the earlier son of the prince, and the singer.

message 17: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) It is odd that although I noticed that the author spent a lot of time describing the Bibighar Gardens and its history, I did not give a lot of thought to the karmic interpretation. It crossed my mind but I think you have explained it in such a way that it may be exactly what the author was trying to tell us. His writing is such that it allows a lot of inference by the reader and your idea makes sense.

message 18: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Jill - one of the things that impresses me is that Scott wrote at a time when integrating nondual thinking into a text largely for cultures rooted in dual thinking was largely unheard of.

There are predecessors - Frank Norris in the 19th century for instance - but Scott is so artful.

Even today, the challenge for authors, it seems to me, is to describe phenomenal such as karma, rebirth, reincarnation and similar thinking in a way that readers are not made uncomfortable, yet it is there to be experienced.

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