The Inheritance of Loss Characters

Kiran Desai


Sai is an orphaned teenager who lives in Kalimpong with her grandfather, the judge. Kalimpong is a small town in northern India. Before living with her grandfather, she lived in a convent school. At the convent school, she learned English as well as Western values and appreciation of all things English. She falls in love with Gyan, her mathematics tutor. Although he is from a lower class, this does not stop Sai from falling in love with him. In India, most marriages are arranged, so falling in love is not considered a prerequisite. In her everyday life, Sai speaks to the judge and the cook as if they were equals. She is strong and ambitious. She is open-minded about the world around her. As the novel proceeds, she learns about her privileged life and she feels guilty. She becomes aware that being a Westernized Indian is difficult and dangerous. Eventually, she tries to find how to leave Kalimpong.

The judge (Jemubhai Patel)
The judge (Jemubhai Patel) is a retired chief justice. The judge is an angry, stern, and spoiled old man. When he was young, his family sacrificed so that he could attend Cambridge. When Jemubhai goes to live in England, he tries to become more British. He begins to see all things Indian as vile. He studies in England and finally secures a position with the ICS as a Chief Justice. He makes one friend in England, named Bose, who helps him become more like the British. When he returns to India, he feels like a foreigner. Jemubhai meets with his wife after being separated from her while he was in England. No longer interested in being married to an Indian woman, he sends her back to her parents, an act that brings shame to his own family.

After serving as a Chief Justice with the ICS, Jemubhai Patel retires to Cho Oyu. His granddaughter comes to live with him, and he tries to raise her so that he can finally be forgiven for all the shame he caused his family.


(The entire section is 598 words.)