Why, why, why!

“‘Why was all this?’ he asked himself in the soundless speech of cells receiving and transmitting emotions, ethic was his usual way of communicating with himself. ‘Why was all this fuss? Why was I so humble? I could have struck him! And to think that I was so eager to come to town this morning. Why didn’t I shout to warn the people of my approach?

Untouchable, Raj Anand, p. 41

Here we see Bakha in conflict with how he sees himself and how he is actually perceived by the higher class people. What made this stand out was his anger towards the unnecessary aggression he faced due to prejudice, but then he immediately questions himself as to why he didn’t call out who he was. Here he still cannot seem to accept that the higher class people can ever be truly wrong.

Work Overload

“But he worked unconsciously. This forgetfulness or emptiness persisted in him over long periods. It was a sort of insensitivity created in him by the kind of work he had to do, a tough skin which must be a shield against all the most awful sensations” (Anand 13).

I feel like the narrator wants us to feel sympathy toward Bakha here because of the emphasis on his mental state. The external narrator tells us what he feels while he works and how beaten down he feels. This on top of the abuse he already faces from his father shows us that the narrator wants us to see the entire picture so we can understand why Bakha acts the way he does.

The Narrator’s Pity

“The clear-cut styles of European dress had impressed his naive mind” (Anand 4).
“And he had soon become possessed with an overwhelming desire to live their life. He had been told that they were Sahib’s superior people. He had felt that to put on their clothes, made one a Sahib too, so he tried to copy them in everything, to copy them as well as he could in the exigencies of his peculiarly Indian circumstances” (Anand 5).

Through the narrator’s choice of words like “naive” and “tried”, it seems that the narrator pities Bakha for his way of coping with being an untouchable. The narrator uses words like this to point to Bakha’s lack of realism to his situation. The narrator makes it clear that Bakha fantasizes false hope about being an English man because it is outside of his oppressing social hierarchy.

English Mind

“He felt amused as an Englishman might be amused, to see a Hindu loosen his dhoti to pour some water first over his navel and then down his back in a flurry of ecstatic hymn-singing. And he watched with contemptuous displeasure the indecent behaviour of a Muhammadan walking with his hands buried deep in his trousers, purifying himself in the ritual manner, preparatory to his visit to the mosque.” (12, Anand)

Because of Bakha’s desire to live like an Englishman, he has grown a distaste for Indian culture and the behaviours he sees around him. Inwardly, his psyche begins to change as he feels “amused as an Englishman might be amused.” Despite the fact that he is of the lowest caste system, he thinks himself superior to those around him, and the description of the behaviour of those around Bakha is negative.