Compare and Contrast

Essay by majuran January 2009

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Shivamurthie � PAGE �1�

Aberame Shivamurthie

Mr. Ward


26 May 2008

ISU: Compare & Contrast Essay

Both The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, by M.G. Vassanji, and Cinnamon Gardens, by Shyam Selvadurai, are novels that indirectly discuss British colonialism. The In-Between World of Vikram Lall follows the life of Vikram Lall, an Indian born and raised in Kenya, while indirectly dealing with colonial and early post-colonial issues. In Cinnamon Gardens, life during colonialism in Ceylon, which is presently known as Sri Lanka, and the issues that arose during this period are viewed by a handful of characters that are part of the upper society. Although both novels are written during the same time period, the authors have different views towards the British, one being in favor and the other against. In Vassanji's novel, the British were disliked because they created an inferior status for Kenyans, treated them badly and the dislike was expressed through rebellions.

However in Selvadurai's novel, the British are liked because they are better rulers, increase status for the upper elite and have brought wonderful things to Ceylon, according to the Ceylonese society.

In the novel The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, the British were disliked since they caused the other races to have an inferior status. As the novel begins in the fifties, the British were at the top with the most power since they were the colonial rulers. The Indians, who came to Kenya for work, had a status that was "in-between" the other two cultures. Vikram's grandfather, an Indian who came to work on the railway, described the conditions by saying "For every mile of railway track laid, four Indians died" (19). The British forced cultures of lower status work on their behalf, while they enjoyed the luxuries. They...