Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

by Kiran Desai

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How does Desai present the theme of "Individual VS Society" in Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard?

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In Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard Desai presents the theme of "individual versus society" by showing the way in which the life of Sampath Chawla is negatively affected by each and every one of his social support systems. A worthless job, an unassertive family unit, and his estranged society, lead Sampath to finally act upon his true desires in life, resulting in the insane decision of leaving everything behind, climbing a guava tree and deciding to live in it.

This is a representation of how society can push someone so far that insane choices are made in order to preserve what is left of our sanity. However, the primary reason why we rebel against society is precisely to preserve and safeguard our individuality. This is the most important aspect of the theme of "individual versus society" in Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. 

An effective way to present your essay is by describing the ways in which society directly affected Sampath prior to his change as far as a) his family as a support system, b) his job,  c) society at large. 

Show how Sampath's philosophical intelligence and ability to tap on the true personalities of people represent intellectual and emotional gifts that went under-appreciated and ignored by society until the moment when he decided to live life the way that he chose to.

Desai also notes how, despite of the sensation and enigmatic reputation that Sampath creates as a result of his new lifestyle, he maintains his philosophy of life. Moreover, Sampath now lives in meditative contemplation, while the world around him tries to figure out how to financially benefit from his new-found fame and guru-type abilities. 

This shows that, while Sampath removed himself from society to find himself, society now seems to want to move itself around Sampath's life precisely because he is perhaps one of the few who has succeeded at finding individuality! This is because Sampath's individuality becomes stronger and more assertive when he finally beats the rat race of society and follows his own mind, heart, and instinct to make life what he really wishes it to be.

Therefore, list the many contributors that led Sampath to make the abrupt choice of changing his life, and then compare Sampath's individuality before and after his lifestyle change. Note that he became a perfectly round character after finally moving away from the social pressures and expectations bestowed upon him. Moreover, explain that his choices are defensible considering his deep desire to maintain his individuality versus society's apparent agenda to ignore the uniqueness of each human being and treat everyone as mere money-making machines. 

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How should one approach an open ended essay in which the question states: "How does Desai portray the theme of "Nature versus Society" in Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard?"

In Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard nature plays a very poignant role. "She" is the refuge to which society runs to to find succor, support, and peace. Nature, with its rich, protective, and supple elements, is basically ignored until the moment when individual (Sampath) finally takes the initiative to remove himself from an otherwise venomous and polluted society which rots the individual from the inside out. For your essay, outline the many obstacles that prevented Sampath from finding his voice and from finally liberating himself from oppression. Once he chose to do that, he became part of nature, or the Natural order of things. As a result, he is juxtaposed to the purpose of society versus his own purpose as an individual.

Like a silent and welcoming mother, Nature is always there on the sidelines awaiting with eager motivation the arrival of those who appreciate, remember, and love her. When Sampath finally chooses to lead a path toward individuality, he immediately escapes toward Mother Nature herself to hide him and save him from a life that was no longer worth sacrificing time or efforts for.

The moment Sampath climbs the guava tree he immediately declares the tree as "his home", and he begins a journey where he and nature are finally bound together as nature originally intended humanity to be. In the tree, he sleeps, the muses, he philosophizes, and he gets nourished by his earthly, real mother. Hence, note how Nature is the ultimate source of peace and inspiration in Sampath's life.

However, like Sampath, Nature is in danger of the rest of society. When the alcohol-addicted monkeys" attack the city, the now-formed alliance between Sampath and Nature are put at risk. When Sampath's father and the advertisers greedily look for ways to make money out of Sampath's new-found celebrity as a guru, their invasion of Sampath's new "space" in Nature is also put at risk. In all, Nature and Sampath represent "the individual", which is now uncorrupted and has found a purpose. Meanwhile such "individual" is in constant danger of extinction by the agendas of society as a whole.

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