Chapter 5

Scavenger’s Sonis thus a searing portrayal of a scavenger’s life. It is a saga that talks about the story of three generation scavengers in the Municipal Town of Alleppey. The book throws light on the demeaning practice of untouchability that is practiced in the twentieth century Kerala. Untouchablity is a social evil that prevents the downtrodden from climbing up the social ladder.  Chudalamuttu and Mohanan are fallen heroes in the novel. Their ambitious dream of being emancipated from the clutches of caste biases is shattered and their emancipation is unattained. As Asher points out on the book that,“A number of episodes also serve to remind the reader that a member of this class, even if scrupulously clean, remains unclean” (Asher). This novel attempts to delineate the sufferings of the lowest of the lowest class caste and depict that even they are people with human feelings and emotions and that they aspire a life outside the dirt and filth.

The research has been done analysing the theme of untouchability along with anger, fear and disgust associated with it. Through the method of textual analysis we see  how the protagonist is induced by the fear of becoming of scavenger. This inherent fear leads to the feeling of anger which is suppressed in the mind of the scavenger. Chudalamuttu detested becoming a scavenger and hence he tried not to be one by adopting the mannerisms of his upper caste. He pities himself for being born into the clan of scavengers. He is disgusted with his menial job and is in a quest to climb the social ladder by siding with the overseer. He accumulates wealth to lead a better life unlike the poverty struck life of a scavenger. He is ready to accept any job other than scavenging and he accomplishes this dream by becoming the gate keeper of a cemetery. He has the same fear for his son and in order to change the fate of his scavenger son he names him differently.  Chudalamuttu ran away from his self. He wanted to alter is identity. His identity of being a scavenger was unacceptable for Chudalamuttu. He tried not to be one by dressing extra clean and maintain his physique. Thus nobody would come to know that a man like him did a demeaning job like manual scavenging. Thus it can be concluded that the stigma of untouchability leads to anger and frustrations in the minds of a scavenger. The fear of becoming a scavenger will lead to self-disgust and sel-pity as we see in the case of Chudalamuttu, The research gives a scope of an elaborate study in understanding the psyche of the manual scavengers and the identity issues associated with them.