Heat and Dust Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Why is the narrator motivated to travel to India?

It seems that the narrator is intrigued by Olivia's mysterious letters. The fact that they were kept hidden for so long, and that neither Tessie nor Beth will speak of Olivia, seems to incite her curiosity. The narrator hardly remembers Douglas, but does recall Tessie quite well. It's likely that she sees this as both a mystery to unravel and an adventure at this point in her young life.

2. Describe the narrator's first night, and impressions of, Bombay.

The narrator's first impression of Bombay is that it is not at all what she expected. The strange woman she meets in the missionary hostel warns her against eating eating Indian food, cautions her to boil her water, and tells her it is a hopeless place. The Christian woman indicates that the narrator's only hope is to return to England. Any romantic impressions of traveling to exotic India that the narrator fosters are dashed by this first night in Bombay.

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