Last time we discussed the burgeoning friendship between Raj and David. Both were imprisoned in a life that didn’t allow nine and ten-year old boys to just be boys. Raj, badly beaten by his father, ends up in the prison hospital but is free to leave (actually physically thrust out in the arms of his father.) David, sick with Malaria and Typhoid Fever, spends time in the same hospital but without the freedom to wander outside of the prison walls.
As Raj begins to recover from his injuries David and he begin their friendship. Even with the language barrier they are able to understand the universal language of boys and venture outside the hospital, but remained within the confines of the prison walls. The staff seemed to turn a blind eye to their evening escapades. Why do you think that they did?
Major events in The Last Brother seem to come after a terrible storm. What do you think Appanah is trying to convey?
After the cyclone David and Raj take shelter temporarily with Raj’s mother. While knowing that David did not belong there she didn’t betray his presence at their home to either her husband or the police officer. Raj believes that his actions on the day of the escape where selfishness. What was his mothers motivation? Why do you think she kept quiet? She knew that he was ill do you think that, as an adult, she should have done something more than allow Raj and David to walk away?
As an adult Raj is filled with regret about David’s death:
“…But when I recall those summer days in 1945, when I speak of David, my heart is heavy, my head teems, and I am so assailed by regrets that I could weep.” (page 125)
Raj was just a young boy and even on reflection he blames only himself – not his mother. Do you understand why?