Summary Of Amitav Ghosh's River Of Smoke

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Amitav Ghosh’s novel River of Smoke belongs to the category of the historical novel. With the help of various narrative schemes, Amitav Ghosh in this novel has re-written past that covers the phase of opium trafficking in Canton, in 1838. The story is about the conflict of Manchu Empire against the English Realm who made war on China for the sake of organised commerce. Ghosh has re-concocted past through utilising distinctive narratological mechanism while displaying the personal past with nation’s past. He uses consciousness, interior monologue, reliable and valid voices of chronicled personals, authentic documentation, decrees, Canton journals, Hukamnamas, declarations, interpreters, letters, painting and drawings and so forth to
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Chinnery’s paintings of Canton in flames becomes the endorsement of life of Canton during riots in future that he visions long before the event actually occurs. On micro level Deeti’s drawings on the wall of her Memory Temple are also the moderator of personal history of the people residing in that period.
The book is divided into three sections “Island”, “Canton” and “Commissioner Lin”. Each segment comprises six unnamed chapters. The open ended novel River of Smoke leaves the reader anxious thinking about what will happen next in the third part of trilogy. Amitav Ghosh leaves the novel open ended, a method that makes the reader free to analyse and think what may happen next. He feels curious to trace out clues as to what the ending means and what further action it leads to. River of Smoke follows the third sequel of trilogy Flood of
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It frames a string of inter-related stories from history presented by various narrators. The psychological impact of the opium war upon the mind of the people sometimes surpass the historical facts, which is presented chiefly through main character focalizer Bahram Modi, Neel, Zadig Bay, Robert Chinnery etc. Thus, Amitav Ghosh’s novel exposes the psychic sub-text that lies within and underneath the historical facts. This psychological presentation doesn’t come within the compass of history which is associated only with facts and figures. Through the characters of the novel the writer unravels the impacts of historical events in the lives of people. He presents the aggravated life that the people like Bahram, Ah Fatt, Deeti, Neel, Chinnery has to go through during the opium trade and war period in China. Through different narrative techniques the author offers an opportunity to readers to peep deep into psyche of the inhabitants, traders, officials and others in Canton and to know their past by reconstructing history.
As River of Smoke is set amid the horrifying time of opium trade amongst India and China and later on opium war amongst China and England the plot of the novel is controlled not in a basic way. Infact Amitav Ghosh’s method is to string different narratives together and sometimes he has displayed the recollections of characters in current state just to accomplish distinctiveness and accuracy of the occasions. All the meetings,
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