Shiny India

Throughout this narrative it is very obvious that Sophia uses her words wisely to make sure her friend, Arabella, gets a gist of her exotic lifestyle in India. Every sentence hold hands with the next to give off the sense of beauty in everything she sees. In letter 7, Sophia starts with a poem from James Thompson’s “Seasons: Summer” to describe the plantations she is surrounded with. Although it is not the same exact thing, Sophia believes it perfectly reflects the summertime fruits

“To taste the beauties of the poet’s pencil, Arabella, you must visit Bengal, where I am more than ever convinced, he penned his glowing descriptions of a climate and its characteristics” (Gibbes 46).

This whole novel is an irony, Sophia talks about the purity and beauty of India for various reasons, mainly to show off, but every time I read about how amazing everything is all I think about the intention behind the British imperialism. It is like a shiny object that distracts from reality. Maybe Sophia hopes that her letters will spread all throughout England and distract the rest of the world on British imperialism. Or maybe Gibbes wants to use the satire to pull attention toward India to question the actions of the East India Company. Interestingly enough Sophia continues to explain how the Mogul emperor spends his summers at a camp, and also mentions the residential situation of the East India Company. “His residences (the Mogul emperor) during the temperate season, which lasts four or five months, are in the fiels;…… The East India Company, I find pay the rent of such houses as the captains of their ships” (Gibbes 30). In this shift of subject, there is a comparison going on between the Mogul emperor and the East India Co. It could be saying that although it may seem like the British are in India establishing trade and taxing the poor, but they are not as bad as the Moguls. Although this statement is not directly said or conveyed through the narrative but that was my thought process as I read.

-Ravneet Dhillon


One thought on “Shiny India

  1. I think the most original part of this post was the focus on how well Sophia chose her words to show her experience in India, and how that tied into knowing English. I think as an improvement I would like to see more about the situation with the East India Company and how that tied into imperialism and language.


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