Gandhi: Fighter Without a Sword by Jeanette Eaton

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Gandhi: Fighter Without a Sword Analysis

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Eaton attempts to portray the spiritual and political leadership qualities of Gandhi in a personal and positive manner. Eaton wants young readers to understand the many sacrifices and trials that Gandhi and his family endured as they struggled to make people free of their unwarranted fears and prejudices. Frequently separated from his beloved family, he studied or worked hard to prove himself worthy of the task. The spiritual awakening that Gandhi experienced in England became the focus for his life and work. Eaton’s portrayal of Gandhi as a self-sacrificing, spiritual individual is illustrated throughout the text. He served as an example for his fellow Indians and for all the citizens of the world.

The use of dialogue in the text of Gandhi is a fictional device that Eaton uses to make the biography more accessible for a younger reader. The liberties that the author takes with such conversations help the younger reader identify with the character and to understand the situation more clearly. For example, the text includes a conversation between Gandhi and a friend while they were still in school in England. Gandhi reportedly said that “I am living in one room and cooking my own breakfast. Now I shall give everything to study.” The conversation probably did not occur exactly as recorded, but Eaton uses this device to give insight into the self-sacrificing character of the young Gandhi. Early in his life, he sought to give up his accustomed material luxuries in favor of a more austere life-style. The change included more than just cooking his own food; as a model for others, it also included ironing his own clothes, spinning yarn for weaving, farming, and waiting on others in need.

Eaton gives stimulating insights into how Gandhi protested peacefully against injustices whenever and wherever they occurred. Gandhi called his protest method satyagraha. He spent long periods of time training his followers on why and how to conduct peaceful protests. Gandhi required his followers to take a pledge before they joined the protest demonstration: He wanted them to know that they might be beaten, receive harsh treatment, or lose their property as a result of their pledge. As Gandhi requested, “Let no one take this pledge who wishes to return blow for blow and hate for hate.” Once he called off a successful demonstration when another faction wanted to use the civil rights protest to advance their personal cause. “Mahatma” (“great-souled”) Gandhi wanted his people to learn the law of love and sacrifice.

After years of peacefully protesting the...

(The entire section is 649 words.)