The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Prologue and Chapter 1: Where Do Old Birds Go to Die? Summary & Analysis

Arundhati Roy
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Summary

The prologue begins with the observation that, in the forest, the foxes are leaving and the crows are “com[ing] home” (5). The narrator notes that the vultures have disappeared due to poisoning from diclofenac, a muscle relaxant given to cattle, who had become the city’s “dairy machines” (5). The narrator adds that these missing birds went unnoticed since there was “so much else to look forward to” (5).

In Chapter 1, an unidentified “She,” who is currently living in a graveyard, notices the missing birds who have “excused themselves and exited from the story” (7). Although she is harassed when she first moves into the graveyard, the neighborhood eventually decides to leave her alone.

When an English-speaking man tells her that her name is transliterated into English as Majnu, making her Romeo in the English equivalent to the...

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This section contains 730 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Study Guide
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