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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 > 11. THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN ~ November 25th ~ December 1st ~ PART SEVEN ~ The Bibighar Gardens ~ (pg. 418 - 470) No Spoilers

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Hello Everyone,

For the week of November 25th - December 1st, we are reading Part Seven - The Bibighar Gardens - The Jewel in the Crown - Book One of the Raj Quartet.

The eleventh week's reading assignment is:

Week Eleven- November 25th - December 1st
PART SEVEN - The Bibghar Gardens (pg 418-470)

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 25th.

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



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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 25, 2013 06:18PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Chapter Summary and Overview (pg. 418 - 470)

Daphne sends a note to Hari to meet her at the Sanctuary as they need to talk. She goes to work and Miss Crane is brought in after she was attacked. Daphne goes to see her but Miss Crane is delirious and keeps repeating "It's too late".

Hari does not show up at the Sanctuary and Daphne goes to Bibighar where she finds him. There they have their first sexual encounter. Afterwards, while resting in his arms, they are attacked by five or six ragged, stinking men, who tie Hari up and rape Daphne repeatedly. When they leave she unties Hari and he carries her to the garden gates but she will not let him take her home and tells him that they have not seen each other, that they were not together. She knows that if she had been with a white man and this rape had happened, society would stand with her; but Hari was Indian and their sexual relationship was taboo. So she lies to everyone. She tells them that she stopped at the Bibighar, where no English enter, to see the ghosts are supposed to haunt it. She is almost caught in her lies several times by the magistrate, Poulson. She is then told that Hari has been arrested because her bicycle was found outside his house in the ditch. Daphne believes that Merrick planted it there so that he could arrest Hari. She gives Poulson a tough time and he knows that he can't make rape charges against Hari, especially when Daphne threatens to make Merrick's jealousy public in a hearing. She also refuses to see the boys arrested sine she has already told him that she could not identify the attackers.

She finds that Hari is being sent to prison for political reasons because he knew and worked with Moti Lal who the police were still looking for on sedition charges. The rape case is still open. Daphne eventually breaks down in front of Lady C and Dr. Klaus, admitting that she loves Hari and can't live without him. The doctor tells her "this you must learn to do" (pg 459).

In letters from Lady Manners to Lady Chatterjee, we learn that Daphne indeed died in child birth and that the child was a girl who Lady Manners is going to raise as an Indian. She is named Parvati.
After partition, Lady Manners leaves Pindi and writes to Lady C that she wants her to come visit so that she can give her Daphne's journal and other mementos. She tells Lady C that the baby looks more like Hari everyday and she is certain he is the father, although she is not willing to try to find him. She says her life is drawing to a close and asks Lady C to provide a home for Parvati. She does and the story ends as the narrator leaves MacGregor House and Parvati returns to her room to practice her singing which may someday bring her fame.

message 3: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) We may have to clue to the reason for Miss Crane's suttee, since when she is in the hospital after the attack, she keeps repeating, "it's too late". I choose to interpret that as a statement of the political situation that Britain should have given India independence earlier and now violence is breaking out. Britain has waited too long. The author may not mean that at all but Miss Crane had lived in India so long and had a great affinity to the country and the people that I can imagine her thinking in that vein. Your thoughts?

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) When Hari doesn't come to the Sanctuary to meet her, she is drawn to Bibighar Gardens where she knows he will be waiting. One of our readers, Martin, mentioned that karma and the cycle of events that are drawing Daphne and Hari forward to their destiny. Would you agree with that since the author's style of the use of time causes me to lean in that direction?

message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Finally caught up, just in time, no?

I thought Crane's motivations were pretty clearly, but not explicitly, spelled out.

Both Crane and Daphne realized their stories had come to an end. There was nothing more to do, no other chapter.

Loosely, Crane's immolation is seen as a act of suttee, or even sannyasi, the point being not so much an ending, but a beginning, which in the East's life and death cycle is how death is perceived.

More later. I just finished and am in the moment of "wow!"

message 6: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I did hope that the author would identify Miss Crane's death as suttee and give us a little more information, which he did.

After the rape, Daphne thinks "there's nothing I can do" which reflect the words of Miss Crane both of whom have been defiled by the India that they love.....or do you think of it as a defilement?

message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Do you think that Merrick planted the Hari's bicycle because he wanted him arrested and charged? He was jealous in the way a white man in India would be jealous of the relationship of a white woman (and one that he is attracted to) and an Indian man. False arrest here would not be a consideration.

message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) Jill wrote: "Do you think that Merrick planted the Hari's bicycle because he wanted him arrested and charged? He was jealous in the way a white man in India would be jealous of the relationship of a white woman..."

Merrick is a conflicted character who has not been fully revealed in this novel, in my opinion. I think he hated Hari because Hari was a more refined "Englishman" in some ways than Merrick himself. He saw Hari as someone who wasn't keeping to his place and this infuriated Merrick. Hari's friendship with Daphne probably inflamed him all the more. I also think Merrick truly suspected Hari of subversive activities and was looking for something to pin on him.

message 9: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I think Merrick would have pinned anything on Hari he could. I would like to have known more about him than was given by the author but he was a rather secondary character I guess.
I think that Daphne is probably the most tortured character in the book.....even more so than Hari. And yet, I never could quite get a handle on her personality for some reason.

message 10: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Yeah. The problem with getting a handle on any of the characters, is seems to me, is that implicit to getting a handle on them requires them being still long enough to afix a device to keep them still.

I think Siva is the key to unlocking this novel. Siva is the whole - destroyer and creator - here, and to one degree or another that reflects human/character psychology as well.

For instance, take our friend Merrick. He's your bureaucratic functionary of an occupying/colonizing power. Incapable of the self examination of say a Daphne, Hari/Harry, or Robin White, he is a step below even the automoton Brigadier Reid. At the same time, this tool of the colonizer so intent on destroying any energy Indians have of forming their own nation ironically is simultaneously pushing India toward its emergence as a modern nation state, with all that involves. Destroyer/creator.

Before reading The Jewel, I did not understand what was meant by Hindus who claimed their philosophy attained nondual thinking. I thought that was where Buddhism ratcheted Hindu philosophy to the next step.

But, now, I think I'm beginning to understand.

message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I must say that I never thought of Siva as the key to unlocking this novel even though an image of the Siva is mentioned and present in the Sanctuary and is one of the pantheon of the three main gods of Hinduism. I was thinking on a much more basic level but your explanation certainly has merit. Siva is also the god presiding over personal destinies which, with the destroyer/creator role, mirrors the human character of your example of Merrick. Interesting concept, Martin.

message 12: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Jill,

I think it best if I take my response to your post to the thread whose focus is the overall book.

message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Martin.

message 14: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) We have reached the end of the first book of the Raj Quartet. Thanks to all who participated. Watch the History Book Club Home page for the dates for the second book, The Day of the Scorpion.

The Day of the Scorpion (The Raj Quartet, Volume 2) by Paul Scott by Paul Scott Paul Scott

message 15: by Kressel (new)

Kressel Housman | 917 comments And on that note, I want to say that the future books tell you a whole lot more about Merrick and his motivations. I don't know precisely what they were, but I know that's what happens because The Raj Quartet is my Mom's favorite series of all times and the BBC adapted it years ago.

message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Kressel.

message 17: by Hana (new)

Hana I was shocked by the Bibighar Garden encounter--that something could for one moment be so magical and then be destroyed with such swift and unexpected brutality.

Daphne keeps wondering if she should have told the truth, but had she done so Hari really would have been destroyed. It seems to me that Daphne acted with great courage and presence of mind. Her lies were very well thought out and the way she faces the judge and basically torpedoes the entire investigation was brilliant. She saved Hari's life and she has the courage to have the child, in the hope that it might be his.

message 18: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) Hana, I've enjoyed your comments. I wonder if Daphne had told the truth if things would have worked out better for all in the end. The lies seemed to just breed more lies from others.

message 19: by Hana (last edited Mar 23, 2014 09:39AM) (new)

Hana Kathy wrote: "Hana, I've enjoyed your comments. I wonder if Daphne had told the truth if things would have worked out better for all in the end. The lies seemed to just breed more lies from others."

Thanks Kathy. I'm still wondering a full day after finishing the book. But I don't know...Hari did make love to her, breaking a major taboo. It's hard not to believe that because the rapists saw them together, they were emboldened. I suspect that's how people, or at least the British authorities, would have read the situation. Seems to me they would have found some way to ensure that Hari was executed. I can imagiine the arguments in court... Daphne was too innocent of the ways of India to realize that Hari would betray her, etc, etc. I assume that's just one of those things we'll never know....

Speaking of unresolved mysteries, my first mental comment when I put the book down was 'What!! You're not going to tell us who the Stranger was???!!!' At first I thought it had to have been Lindsey, but then it emerged that the Stranger had interviewed Lindsey in England before he came out to India.

Of course I forgave all because it was an incredible book--definitely a Five Star instant re-read. I'm looking forward to Book 2!

message 20: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) Hana wrote: "Speaking of unresolved mysteries, my first mental comment when I put the book down was 'What!! You're not going to tell us who the Stranger was???!!!'...."

That was so my reaction!

message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I wonder if we will discover something about the Stranger in the next books......or maybe he is of no importance to the overall story. It is a mystery that perhaps the author created to add another layer to the plot. If so, it was effective since it is one of the first questions everyone asks when they finish the book.

message 22: by Hana (new)

Hana Jill wrote: "I wonder if we will discover something about the Stranger in the next books..."

I thought that too! A teaser worthy of YA trilogy-style fiction ;)

message 23: by Hana (new)

Hana Another wonderful character makes her appearance only in this last chapter -- I simply love Parvati

Because of who she is, because of her beauty and her gifts, she is 'the promise of a story continuing instead of finishing', of India as '...the repository of a tradition established for the sake of the future rather than of the past.'

Oh Parvati! I'm enough of a romantic to hope it all turns out well for you!

message 24: by Martin (new)

Martin Zook | 615 comments Don't know how to break this to you, Hana; but that's about it for her. I rarely criticize a book for what it isn't, including how characters are handled. But, I do think Scott dropped the ball with Parvati, not because of her characteristics so much, as her mythical significance.

Parvati is the consort of Siva, the framing Indian myth of the story. How do you introduce a character like her, and then drop her? Not sure what Scott's thinking was.

message 25: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Martin.......remember that Hana is just reading the book and we don't want to slip spoilers into the chapters. They can be placed on the Book as a Whole thread which is a non-spoiler thread. Thanks for your cooperation since your comments are always welcome....but let's not get ahead of the chapter being discussed even though we have read the book already.

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