A Suitable Boy - Part 1 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Suitable Boy.
This section contains 247 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

Part 1 Summary

The first part, or chapter, of the novel introduces the various families involved in the overall story. They have come together on the occasion of the marriage of Pran Kapoor and Savita Mehra. Savita's younger sister Lata, considered of marriageable age now, sets up the main conflict in the novel by questioning the idea of arranged marriage as opposed to a marriage based on romantic love. Lata's mother, the widow Rupa Mehra, is intent on finding a "suitable boy" for Lata who is repulsed by the idea. Another conflict in the novel is the antagonism between Hindus and Muslims in post-Partition India/Pakistan. This theme is emphasized when Lata meets and subsequently falls in love with Kabir Durrani, a Muslim. Mrs. Mehra is so incensed at the idea that she packs Lata up and moves her to Calcutta where they will stay with Lata's brother, Arun Mehra.

Part 1 Analysis

Vikram Seth sets up the major conflicts in the novel with his opening chapter. Aside from the cultural tradition of making arranged marriages for Indian children of the higher castes, he manages to insert the sense of disenfranchisement between Hindu and Muslim in reference to political intrigues at the time. These political involvements are kept from being dry historical facts by the active involvement of the various members of the four families in the novel. Lata and her best friend, Malati, serve as foils for discussion of the social situations in the novel.

This section contains 247 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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