Mistry's Such a Long Journey: the Struggle Within Essay

Mistry's Such a Long Journey: the Struggle Within Essay

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Common motifs depicted in the characters throughout Rohinton Mistry's "Such a long journey" include the contrast of many opposing forces. Good and bad, bitterness and forgiveness, saving and destruction, heaven and hell as just a few of the conflicting themes. Many secondary characters in the novel are important in the life of Gustad, and encourage these themes. In The Road to Salvation: Mythological and Theological Intertextuality in Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey, Michel W. Pharand states:

"Since good and evil seem to be inextricably bound, it is not surprising that many of the characters in Such a Long Journey end up doing evil in trying to do good, or conversely, that some of the good deeds have their origins in evil actions or events."

The characters in Such a Long Journey are heavily interwoven with symbols to enforce Mistry's ideas of Gustad Noble's struggle within his self, his home and the war torn country he lives in. Tehmul, Ghulam Mohammed and the wall artist are crucial to capture the struggle between the opposing themes in the course of the novel.

Ghulam Mohammed is a secondary character that focuses mainly upon the conflicting friendship and enemy. This is achieved with his unpredictable personality. The reader does not fully understand his dramatic changes in character until the story unravels. We only witness the extreme kindness shown towards Gustad when they are first introduced and again near the end. The reader sees the other less friendly side of Ghulam when he is "encouraging" Gustad to remove the money from the bank and return it promptly.

"`Better than bones being broken, Mr. Noble.' Whose bones does he mean? Unemotional, the bastard's voice. `Do you know how danger...


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...ests Amin Malak, and:

"the novel...is more than the tale of one individual's life, touching and riveting as this aspect is, it is a microcosm of a community, an image of a "tribe" invented through the imagination of its storyteller."

The ability to intertwine characters, symbolism and conflicting ideas with such talent, enhances this novel making Such a Long Journey a journey that is much enjoyed and seemingly well worth the experience.

Works Cited

Malak, Amin. "The Shahrazadic Tradition: Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey and the Art of Storytelling." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 28.2 (1993): 108-118.

Mistry, Rohinton. Such a long journey. Toronto:McLelland & Stewart, 1991.

Pharand, Michel W. "The Road to Salvation: Mythological and Theological Intertextuality in Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey." Open Letter 8.8 107-116.

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