A Suitable Boy - Part 7, 23 through 46 Summary & Analysis

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Part 7, 23 through 46 Summary

Meenakshi comes in from her assignation all smiles and is briefly even nice to Mrs. Rupa Mehra. That soon breaks down over an argument about what Lata is to wear for a night on the town. Mrs. Mehra has what Meenakshi sees as old fashioned ideas. The night is to begin with cocktails at the Finlays. A dispute arises over what is acceptable to wear for dancing the tango, a term Mrs. Rupa Mehra simply does not understand. About a third of the guests at the Finlays is Indian and men and women mix freely and unselfconsciously. When Billy and his wife arrive, it is time for them leave for the dancing. Arun, still looking for an "up and coming" suitable boy for Lata thinks Bish Bhaduri might be a possibility, but Lata wishes he were "up-and-going." Meenakshi brazenly recruits a stranger to dance the tango with her. An hour later they leave the club and Arun, a bit tipsy, wants to have a picnic and ushers Billy, his wife, and Meenakshi into the backseat of his car with Lata in front with him. Arun narrowly misses hitting a child out on the streets at three a.m. The resulting dialog trying to stop Arun from shouting into the darkness highlights the social caste order prevalent in the Indian society. It breaks up the party and they go home where Mrs. Rupa Mehra is waiting up for them.

Varun is found with questionable friends at the racetrack, betting on the horses. He runs into Patricia Cox who tells him Arun is there as their guest. She tells Arun who thinks bitterly that maybe he should start being his brother's keeper.

Mrs. Rupa Mehra cites a litany of her troubles, mostly about gossip that she has heard about her family. She complains that nobody in the family ever tells her anything. Dipankar, hoping to engage Varun in conversation, drops by only to find that Varun has gone out. Dipankar thinks about his interpretation of the Hindu religion, a topic he had hoped to discuss with Varun. He and Mrs. Rupa get along well discussing the mysticism of the Hindu religion. Lata agrees to go out with Amit but Mrs. Rupa insists that someone go with them as a chaperon. Kakoli has developed an attachment to a German boy named Hans, much to the consternation of her family. The outing with Amit produces a level of emotional attachment in Lata who enjoys his knowledge of poetry. The time is somewhat spoiled by a discussion of low caste servants. The subject of sexual discrimination comes up when Lata finds a newspaper article about how employment in the Foreign Service can employ only those women without encumbrances. Lata finally makes up her mind to answer Kabir's letter, expressing her feelings for him. In 7.38, the suitable boy theme is revived with a rather unsavory boy who becomes engaged. Lata and Amit go out again to the book bazaar. Mrs. Rupa's hypochondria comes to light in her visit to an odd-ball homeopathic doctor. Afterward, she leaves alone for Delhi.

Part 7, 23 through 46 Analysis

The last section of Part 7 deals largely with Hindu religion and also returns to the theme of the suitable boy. A bit of gossip is related about a boy, just engaged, whose character flaws include drinking too much and eating raw onions. Again this points up the inequality between girls and boys in the Indian society, where certain flaws in a boy can be overlooked while a girl who makes a social blunder can no longer be considered suitable. Sex discrimination also arises in the newspaper article explaining how women are generally not considered for the Foreign Office because of their potential encumbrances. The treatment of servants raises the issue of class discrimination. Meenakshi's behavior at the dance indicates a certain change in the attitudes toward women in upper Indian society, though Mrs. Rupa's disapproval symbolizes the resistance to change.

This section contains 663 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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