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Archives > 7. Why does Avinash's chess set become so important to Maneck?

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message 1: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4168 comments Mod
Why does Avinash's chess set become so important to Maneck, who comes to see chess as the game of life? "The rules should always allow someone to win," says Om, while Maneck replies, "Sometimes, no one wins" [p. 410]. How do the events of the novel resemble the various moves and positions in chess?


message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments This is a deep one. Maneck always seemed to be rather reticent to get involved with anything except for the tailors. He was always on their side trying to be humane to them. He also tried to be humane to most people he encountered. He had a very idealistic concept of life. Unfortunately, as he discovered in the story, that is not how life works out. This led to his downfall.

One clear example is Dina's dealings with her landlord. They were always jockeying with each other to get the best of the other. The landlord wanted her out of her apartment because it was rent controlled and he could make much more with a new tenant. She wanted to keep her apartment and her livelihood. The landlord initially tried to kick her out after her husband died. Then, in her dealings with the tailors and Maneck, he tried unsuccessfully to get her to vacate. She check mated him with the Beggarmaster and that worked until he was murdered. The landlord ended the game and checkmated her by evicting her with the Sergeant after the Beggarmaster's death. Prior to this, though, there was letters back and forth and legal help sought out.


message 3: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 2029 comments Mod
The chess set is important because it is a reminder of his first real friendship away from home and while he may disagree with Avinash getting involved in politics he always believed they would come back to being close friends.

The novel resembles a chess game in which no one has won, there are small victories along the way but ultimately it is stalemate.


message 4: by Eadie (new)

Eadie Burke (eadieburke) I agree with Book that the chess set was a symbol of a game of life for Maneck.


message 5: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1434 comments Maneck cherished Avinash's chess set because it was not only a reminder of his friendship but was also a symbol of his political involvement which Maneck had rejected. He was devasted by his friend's demise, but also by his own obliviousness to political realities.


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 964 comments It was an interesting allegory with the political environment in India, especially on the basis of the exchange between Om and Maneck.


message 7: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4168 comments Mod
The chess set is the link to his friend AVinash but I also agree it is a symbal about life is a chess game. Sometimes no one wins.


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