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Sea of Poppies

  • Date Submitted: 03/15/2013 06:21 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.9 
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Sea Of Poppies
By Amitav Ghosh

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh is the first volume of the Ibis Trilogy where the author skillfully narrates the happenings of the nineteenth century Opium trade and conveys an historical adventure embarked upon by a number of characters from various different backgrounds, including a mulatto freedman from America, a bankrupt raja, a free-spirited French orphan, a widowed tribeswoman and many others who have set foot on the Ibis hoping for better futures. The Ibis is a projection of uncertainty for the mixed cast of characters as relationships are foreged, destinies undergo sudden changes and hostilities errupt amongst one another. Something more, beyond just the lives of these characters, can be learnt about the realities of the cultivation of poppies, the medicinal uses of Opium and it's influence on the common man during the nineteenth-century. The author manages to skillfully portray this with the help of a number of literary devices such as metaphors, symbolism and foreshadowing to convey the consequences of the use and inlfuence of Opium on various lives and the damages it causes.
The title Sea Of Poppies in itself conveys a lot with its hidden layers of meanings. Poppy could signify three things. It could perhaps stand for the logic of capitalistic production, distribution and alienation. Considering the example of Deeti, a woman who falls in love with an ox man who saves her life and decides to elope due to the rejection of fellow villagers and aboard the Ibis, to her growing so many poppy seemed absurd. She was unable to comprehend the motives behind the profit. With the mass cultivation of poppy the colonised land was introduced to the idea of commodity. The decisions that were made were beyond the comprehension and control of the workers. They were just a sea of poppies, large in number and no different from one another.
Coming to the second significanse. Poppy is also a symbol of both death and sleep: sleep because...

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