Historical Context of The Jewel in the Crown Essay

Historical Context of The Jewel in the Crown Essay

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Historical Context of The Jewel in the Crown

 

The historical context of Paul Scott's novel - The Jewel in the Crown - serves to explain and interpret a tragic love story between two characters; Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar. The love story serves to clarify and interpret the social/racial and historical significance of the time period in which it is set - 1942.  Their love - a product as well as a victim of the time and events - is an allegory for the relationship between England and India - the White man and the Black man.  The Jewel in the Crown demonstrates that the elements of life and love are colorless and timeless and that arrogance and hate are universal.

 

Through a historically accurate setting using imaginary characters we are shown the fictionalized city of Mayapore, India during the British Raj and told the "story of a rape, of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened" (Scott 3).  The story is relayed to us, in the most part, through an unnamed narrator that began his quest for answers, concerning the Daphne Manners case, in 1964.  He compiles testimonies and documents that reveal the events to us from a variety of realistic perspectives.  The information is not given in chronological order but as a person who reminiscences would convey a story.   The author effectively uses the characters, time-period and historical events to support the underlying theme of injustice, tragedy and the indomitable human spirit.

 

            Daphne and Hari would never have met and fallen in love in any other place during any other time period.  1942, in India, was thei...


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...irs indicate she was cognizant of the potential consequences of her love for Hari, her rejection of Ronald Merrick and even of her death as a result of giving birth to the baby.

 

The story ends tragically for Daphne and Hari just as the story ends tragically for the England of old and the India of old - but out of their union a new story begins.  Although the offspring of the encounter will not unlearn quickly the evils taught for all those generations before, there is now a hope, "the promise of a story continuing instead of finishing...established for the sake of the future rather than of the past" (Scott 461).  The Jewel in the Crown is part historical novel, part mystery, part love story, part allegory (drjohnholleman 6/9/01) - and in all its parts, it will continue to reveal the darkness, in each of us, that has no connection to skin color.

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