Ice Candy Man Presentation
This document deals with the major and minor themes of Bapsi Sidhwa's most famous novel: Ice Candy Man (Cracking In...
Presentation on the Major Presentation and Minor Themes of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel Ice Cand Man
The Author Bapsi Sidhwa, the author of the novel was born on August 11th, 1938 in Karachi. She belongs to the Parsi community, so her account of the partition is thought to be objective and neutral. She, like the child narrator of Ice Candy Man, Lenny, is a polio victim, that is why she was educated at home till the age of 15. Afterwards she graduated from Kinnaird College, Lahore. She was married at the age of 19. Sidhwa started writing in the 1970s when she was inspired by the story of a young girl who ran away from home and was killed by her husband in the Hindukush mountains. This story was published in the form of her 2nd novel: the Bride. Some of the notable novels of Sidhwa are: the Crow Eaters, The Pakistani Bride, Ice Candy Man, An
About Bapsi Sidhwa Sidhwa’s work has been widely read and appreciated. Numerous awards have been conferred upon her, these include: The Patras Bokhari award for the Bride in 1985 The Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1991 The German Literaturepreis award for Cracking India A Bunting Fellowship from Harvard Currently she is teaching at the University of Texas, Houston.
Ice Candy Man Ice Candy Man, Sidhwa’s third and most famous novel, was published in 1988. The dominant themes of the novel are the themes of disintegration, dislocation, and partition. The sensitive topic of the Partition of the Subcontinent serves as the backdrop of the novel. This partition is one of the greatest tragedies of our times, the severity of which has never been fully understood. Through Ice-Candy Man Sidhwa tries to present an objective view of this event and aims at providing an understanding of the
Overview Sidhwa’s keen observation, concern for the common man & his life, and concern for women and their suppression run though her novel: ICM. In order to understand the theme/s of the novel it is important to take an overview of the novel: It is a historical novel written from the viewpoint of an eight year old girl, Lenny, who happens to be a polio victim. The novel records the neutral observations of Lenny of the world around her and how a political event overshadows her world, causing disintegration and fragmentation. Lenny sees Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Parsees & Sikhs fight for their land and their lives and is an unwilling witness to the trauma that accompanied Independence. Ayah, Lenny’s beautiful and desirable maid, bears the crux of the Partition tale becoming, like many others, the victim of her religion. The story traces the communal discord that occurred at the time of Independence. It highlights that external events can unleash animalistic characteristics in humans, so much so, that they are blinded by prejudice and selfishness and use religion to justify their beastly actions. It is a story about love lost, trust deceived and the subjugation of the mind by deliberately subjugating the body. It is also a story about
Major & Minor Themes Major Themes:
Theme of Partition Theme of dislocation and disintegration Theme of Communal discord Dilemma of the Parsi community Theme of Feminism–women as victims & as saviours Constancy of desire & its lack of moral legitimacy The eternal conflict of moral good & evil in the human psyche Neutrality
Manipulation Intolerance Impassivity Duplicity of colonialism Chaos and confusion
Themes Theme of Partition:
The novel examines the inexorable logic of Partition as an offshoot of fundamentalism sparked by hardening communal attitudes. It looks at Partition as a means of spreading disharmony which resulted in frenzy and chaos. The novel, written from a domestic standpoint, opens with the child narrator observing the the situation of Lahore at at the time of Partition. Her dreams signify the fragmentation of India when she says “ I recall another childhood nightmare… Children lie in a warehouse… Godmother sits by my bed smiling indulgently as men in uniforms quietly slice off a child’s arm here, a leg there”. This dream comes true when in chapter 17 Sidhwa writes “ Playing British gods under the ceiling fans of the Falettis Hotel ,the Radcliff commission deals out Indian cities like a pack p ack of cards. Lahore is dealt to Pakistan, Pakistan, Amritsar Amritsar to India. Sialkot to Pakistan. Pathankot to India. I am a Pakistani. In a
Theme of Partition Sidhwa shows us that the Partition leaves even sane people & friends helpless and ineffective.e.g the sikhs and muslims living in Pir Pindo, helplessness of the Hindu and Sikh friends of the Sethis, and change of religion. The psychological effects of the Partition on the lives of people is also shown in great detail in this novel. e.g Lenny tears her doll in two halves after actually witnessing a similar event, the wails of the f allen allen women Sidhwa shows human loss in Partition: “ wave
upon wave of muslim refugees flood Lahore– and the Punjab west of Lahore. Within 3 months 7 million Muslims & 5 million Hindus & Sikhs are uprooted in the most terrible terr ible
Dislocation Dislocation and disruption are very important themes of ICM. We see people weighing the options of staying or migrating. The question of migration loomed large in almost everyone’s head. We see the people of Pir Pindo negating the idea of going by saying: Where can the Muslim villagers go?... How can they abandon their ancestor’s graves, every inch of land they own, their other kin? How will they ever hold up their heads again? Where will they go? No, he says, they cannot throw the Mussulmans out Almost all the people of India especially espec ially the Punjabis were faced with such dilemmas. Above all, the people, especially the Punjabis, were not expecting to be uprooted and dislocated. Perhaps this is another reason why so many of them died because people could not comprehend the severity of the situation. I I think that nobody can think of any place safer than home, and when suddenly you are told that this isn’t your home, people
Disintegration In the novel the disintegration of Ayah’s circle symbolises the disintegration and degeneration of society and the disintegration of society signifies the deterioration deterioration of the characters/ people themselves. Members of the Ayah’s circle represent the different religions of the Subcontinent. We see that the characters belonging to the various communities of India become conscious of their individual identity but at the cost of the composite culture that evolved after centuries. As the novel progressed, the people who thronged Queen’s park became aware of their religious identity and only sat sat with people of their own religion. r eligion. It is only Ayah’s circle that remains intact even when the political rumblings reached Lahore. However, even Ayah’s allure and sensuousness cannot keep the circle intact. In fact, the friends she trusted become her assaulters in the end. This also shows the deterioration of the characters.
Communal Discord The novel aptly traces the pattern of communal discord that occurred at the time of Partition from somewhat complete harmony to total frenzy and chaos. Lenny’s nightmares, especially especially at the crack of dawn set a gory and gruesome pattern of communal discord at the time of partition. We see a pattern of communal harmony when w hen Lenny first goes to Dera Tek Singh and sees the Muslims and the Sikhs sitting together and sharing their concern over the existing situation. We even see them vowing to protect each other, should violence reach their villages. However, during her 2nd visit we see see suspicion and animosity animosity in the air. The rumblings of communal discord reach Lahore.e.g the dinner with the singhs and the
community ICM is seen through the prism of Parsi sensitivity. The beginning shows the noncommittal attitude of the Parsis towards the event of Partition. The novel shows the dilemma & choice of the community. Their leader in Lahore says “ whom do we cast our lot with?” It is decided that in keeping with the tradition the parsees of Lahore would follow whoever so became the ruler of Lahore. Thus the famous Parsi saying ‘ hunt with the hounds and run with the hare’ They decide to be neutral. The novel also highlights the changing
Feminism The novel has a feminine fe minine perspective. The female protagonists
are the moral centers, while most of the male characters either remain apathetic or indulge in destructive violence. The novel holds a gynocentric view of reality. ICM subtly subverts the elements of patriarchy by showing that the female characters pulsate with a will of their own. The feminine qualities of compassion and motherhood are dominant. Women are shown as being oppressed and used as a commodity. They are the ones who have to bear the brunt of the wrong doings done by the men. Revenge is taken by violating the rights of women. (element of Universality) The Ayah is a flame of sensuousness and female vitality. The relationship with the cousin upholds the principle of equality. Godmother towers as a vibrant figure. She is a source of strength and comfort for the needy e.g after Lenny’s operation, & her role in saving Ayah Lenny’s mother starts the healing process by shrugging off her he r
Constancy of Desire The theme of lust and desire is present through out the novel in the persona of Dilnawaz or Ice Candy Man. Just like the other moths he also hovers around Shanti. Even though she is Hindu and he a Muslim. His desire and the ways of getting hold of Shanti throw light at his selfish character and seem immoral especially because he is married. His own wife is kept within the boundaries of his village. ICM keeps on changing his professions but his persuit of Ayah is constant. He doesn’t mind bringing unhappiness and
& evil Moral good and evil are in eternal conflict in the human psyche. External events serve to unleash the evil inside men if they sway towards that side, just as they may bring positivity if men are good themselves. ICM’s desire is constant but lack of restraint and inherently good qualities unleash the beast inside him when he witnesses the arrival of the death train from Gurdaspur. The description of Ranna’s village shows the animalistic characteristics of men. In the same way wa y ICM, blinded by religious hatred and revenge turns into a cruel man who derives sadistic pleasure and satisfaction in killing Hindus and Sikhs. As opposed to him we see see Masseur Masseur trying talk
Neutrality The author adopts a neutral and objective tone that helps in highlighting the theme of neutrality. We see that the common man is neutral n eutral but he is swayed by religious and political differences. The Parsi community remains neutral and we see Lenny’s aunt and mother helping all their friends. The Masseur also holds an objective view and many times diffuses tensions inside the group. This signifies that had there been no neutral and objective people then there would have been complete chaos.
Manipulation & Betrayal The transformations and transmogrifications of ICM signify his manipulative nature. He tries to lure in people, just as he lures Lenny to tell him about the whereabouts of the Ayah. His character represents the manipulative and cold nature of politicians, especially his role as a pimp. Manipulation gives rise to betrayal: Ayah is betrayed by all whom she trusted, ICM, the butcher and even Lenny– though unconsciously. We also see manipulation by the leaders and
Religious intolerance ‘ one man’s religion is another man’s poison’—this is exactly what happens in the text. As the Partition progresses, we see religious frenzy and hatred. Even the people who throng the Queens Park sit with people of their own faith and show intolerance towards other religions. There is zero tolerance as religion is used as a tool to carve out the divisions. Even the Ayah’s group collapses when religious differences stare the members in the face. Many people changed their religions to
Impassivity Initially we see the impassivity of the Parsees, but it was shrugged off by many of them. This is also highlighted when she doesn’t feel any pain when she was being dismembered in her dream. The impassive and nonchalant attitude of the politicians is highlighted in the text. The power hungry politicians don’t care for the common man. We also witness the impassivity of the British government and then the independent governments of the two new nations.
‘ it’s strange the English Sarkar can’t seem to be doing anything” “ I don’t think it is because they can’t,I think it is because the Sarkar doesn’t want to.”
Lenny’s dreams also signify the lack of concern by the authorities to check the barbarism at the time
Duplicity of Colonialism By showing the relationship between Godmother and Slave Sister Sidhwa conveys or warns that the exploitation manipulation and suppression of one individual by another is not confined to a male-female relationship, it can exist between a female-female relation ship. Feminists are being made aware of the dangers replicating the patriarchal principles. Even though Godmother is a beacon of courage, strength and hope, we see her misusing her powers.
Chaos and Confusion Chaos, confusion, confusion, and and mayhem become become the order of the day when men throw way sense se nse and logic. This chaos comes with a very heavy price. We learn that all passions whether religious or amorous are capable of bringing out the best and the worst in human beings. Religious hatred led to communal violence.
The Process of Healing
Amidst this chaos and confusion we see hope in the persons of the Sethi women. They start the healing process by reaching out to those who were abandoned for no fault of their own. When ICM realizes that he will never be able to get Ayah’s love, he also starts on the path to moral good. This is where the novel ends. Sidhwa ends by initiating the healing process and points out that the only way to heal wounds is to overcome them by forgiving and reaching out to others who may have gone
Conclusion Thus we see that the harrowing event of the Partition brought dislocation, disintegration, chaos with itself. The novel written in the present tense, deals with these events from a domestic standpoint, creating a realistic picture with a strong element of universality. Central to the novel are the themes of migration, manipulation, feminism, and submitting your soul to external events.