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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Portrayal of Indians in the novel

Though many in England saw the Indians as uncivilized and thieir ritiuals as paganistic, Collins sought to paint a different view of India in The Moonstone. He opens the novel with the story of the history of the yellow diamond and how the diamond belongs in the forehead of the Hindu moon god. Nevertheless, though the diamond holds a religious significance to the Indians, financial gain is the only motive behind the theft of the diamond. In this way, Collins depicts the Indians as having true values and the English as seeking only wealth while not respecting the religious worth of the diamond.

When Betteredge first meets the Indians, he describes the chief of the three as having "the most elegant manners," while Mr Bruff opens his narrative describing the same person as "an Oriental stranger of distinguished manners." Clearly, the object here is not to present the Indians as savages. Instead, Collins portrays them as very respectable gentlemen seeking an object that belongs to them. The portrayal of Mr. Murthwaite shows an Englishman who is described as an "Indian traveller," yet he maintains an understanding and appreciation for Indian society and religious customs. On the other hand, Godfrey Ablewhite, who is ultimately responsible for the lost diamond, seeks only financial gain due to being in debt and needing money immediately. Obviously, the aim of the Indians in attaining the diamond is a higher aim than the motive behind Godfrey's actions.

In the end of the novel, Mr. Murthwaite, in his travels to India, happens across the path of the three Indians and sees the diamond restored to its proper place. In a way, Collins is able to predict the eventual victory of India over British rule.

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