In Clear Light of Day, what is the importance of Baba's presence?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us remember that Baba, who is a minor character in this excellent story, is characterised by his obsession with his 1947 record collection and seems to be trapped in the past. Baba is a character who is almost psychologically incapacitated through his inability to engage with the present. He spends his time listening to his records and playing games by himself, and the wedding that is occurring seems to be something that he is unable to engage with or even understand.

However, the importance of Baba's presence becomes clear when we compare him to Bim. Both characters are trapped in 1947 and have not been able to advance. In addition, through his repeated playing of his 1947 record collection, Baba causes Bim to constantly replay the events that happened during that year just as he replays his records. However, the difference between Baba and Bim is that Bim does not find this repetition of past events comforting. It only serves to exacerbate her grief and to strengthen her self-righteousness. Baba therefore is a minor character whose presence allows us to understand Bim, a central character, better. He therefore could be said to act as a foil of Bim, highlighting her dis-ease with the past by his ease with it.


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