Narration in Ghost Time

Christi A. Merrill

in Riddles of Belonging

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823229550
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241064 | DOI:
Narration in Ghost Time

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Both Detha's and Bhola Ram's versions satirize a landlord's foiled greed even into death and a helpless farmer's inability to refuse such unfair treatment by the landlord's ghost. Both versions ask us to think about the ways we might avoid such disparities and the resulting injustices. Even in Bhola Ram's impromptu, therefore somewhat abbreviated, and necessarily contrived performance, the narrative style he adopted made it seem ridiculous that the farmer would be so frightened of the thakur and his feudal sense of entitlement that he would agree to let the thakur's ghost take charge of the land. As the monsoon rains come, he still sits. As his neighbors sow and reap, he still sits, doing nothing. He keeps hearing the assurances of the ghost, who assures him, “I will do it in a day” (“ek din mai i kar devai”). That day, of course, never comes.

Keywords: satirize; narration; ghost; thakur; Bhola Ram

Chapter.  18190 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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