Writing a critical appreciation for a work of literature, or an element of a work of literature, involves evaluating how the work or the element fulfills its purpose. The first step in creating a critical appreciation of the character Flora in Tom Stoppard's play Indian Ink , then, is...
Writing a critical appreciation for a work of literature, or an element of a work of literature, involves evaluating how the work or the element fulfills its purpose. The first step in creating a critical appreciation of the character Flora in Tom Stoppard's play Indian Ink, then, is to determine Flora's purpose.
Flora Crewe is a central element of the play. In fact, she is the character around which the play revolves, and she presents something of a mystery, at least to scholar Eldon Pike, who is researching a biography of Flora. Flora also provides a particular perspective that the author uses to nudge his audience to think in particular ways. Although Flora is British, she expresses support for the independence of the Indian people, and she represents a modern way of thinking and behaving.
Now that we've discovered Flora's purpose (centrality, mystery, and perspective), let's evaluate how well she fulfills that purpose. Flora certainly does well as a central character. She stands at the heart of the play both in the scenes from 1930, in which she appears personally, and in those of the 1980s, in which the audience hears her letters and listens to discussions about her. Flora permeates the play with her personality and her ideas.
Flora also succeeds in adding an element of mystery to the play. Pike is very, very curious whether the rumored nude painting of Flora is real, and the audience eventually discovers that it is and gets a good idea how it came about. It was painted by Das from the memory of the day he sat beside Flora in her bedroom as she tried to cope with the heat. But Das's son and Flora's sister decide not to tell Pike about the painting, so his curiosity is never satisfied.
Finally, Flora presents a specific viewpoint. Even though she is British, she values the Indian way of thinking and living, and she tells Das that he should not be afraid to be himself around her. What the British have done to the Indians is unacceptable to Flora, and she believes firmly in Indian independence, which she actively supports. Flora, therefore, succeeds in presenting her perspective.
Overall, then, Flora Crewe is a successful character who fulfills her triple purpose of centrality, mystery, and perspective.