Examine the use of imagery in the novel Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand.

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Untouchable opens with a particularly striking piece of imagery. In the opening pages, Anand gives us a very detailed description of the outcaste colony and those unfortunate enough to live there. As one would expect, this is a thoroughly depressing place, with an air of hopelessness hanging over it.

The Dalit inhabitants of the colony are forced to live in conditions of quite unimaginable squalor. Anand's description of the fetid brook filled with raw filth and sewage is particularly vivid, not to say stomach-churning, as is his explicit description of the foul, putrescent stench emanating from enormous mounds of animal dung and the hides and skins of carcasses as they dry in the baking heat.

Thanks to these highly descriptive passages and the vivid imagery they generate, we are able immediately to enter into the world of the Untouchables, people who, of their very nature, are forced to hide from the world. Straight away, we ask ourselves how on earth it's possible for people to live in such a godforsaken environment. Yet somehow they do, and it's because we want to find out exactly how the Dalit people manage to eke out an existence amidst such filth and squalor that we turn the page. As with all good imagery, there's a purpose to it, and the main purpose is to make us want to read on.

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