Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Gandhi: Fighter Without a Sword, Jeanette Eaton chronicles the many-faceted influences in the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi that caused him to mature into a spiritual, educational, and political leader. Gandhi is in narrative form and is interspersed with black-and-white sketches by Ralph Ray. Each chapter provides an understanding of one particular section or event in Gandhi’s life, beginning with his teenage years. The book examines the early cultural influences in India on Gandhi as he began to explore who he was and why the British dominated his society and government. Eaton recalls the young, married Gandhi leaving his wife and infant son for three years to study law at the University of London. While in London, Gandhi discovered his deep, religious spirituality. According to Eaton, “A kind of happiness he had never known before awoke in his heart.” This religious awakening was the major influence on the rest of his life and work.

Less than two years after Gandhi’s return to India from London, he traveled to South Africa to work on a court case for an Indian merchant. While in South Africa, he experienced the insults of prejudice that the white South Africans inflicted upon people of color. Gandhi met this brutal indignity in an active, peaceful protest called satyagraha. The author explains that satyagraha signified “that a man must declare the truth in which he believes and be willing to die for it...

(The entire section is 480 words.)