Interesting scene between Abheet’s wife and Jenkins, especially how he didn’t know Abheet’s inability to salute had been because of an injury which he never said anything to Abheet about. In a way Jenkins treated him as a perfect equal and looked past his differences – perhaps the way Jenkins wished others had looked past his. Wonderful story.
Jenkins is a man without a home either, just as the Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs are without a definite (legal) idea of what their home and land looks like. Everyone is adrift, even the English, at least for someone like Jenkins whose past will prevent him from ever going back to England.
It seems as if Rao is suggesting that Jenkins is gay, between his fantasy about Abheet’s hair on the pillow, to what is most likely a sexual scandal with him (as a boy) and the older, impeccable Mr. Templeton. Is he attracted to neatness? Is his resentment towards Abheet sexual? Could the feelings go both ways?
Interesting scene about gas-lighting when he was caught with Mr. Templeton.
He’s making an assumption that because Abheet’s salute is (perhaps) insolent, that there could never be order: “How could a country even hope to govern itself with such obvious lack of self-control?” even though Abheet seems to be in complete control of himself and it is Jenkins who is the problem. But he’s in charge, he has the authority so the resentment spins round like the fan he hates.
Jenkins is white and is casual with his racism, as are the officers, such as Smithson – these are very white sounding names but not very British sounding. Yet along with his racism, he’s also curious as when he tries to imagine what Abheet’s Sikh hair is like when he’s not wearing the turban, he almost seems to admire it romantically the way he wonders what it looks like spread across his pillow.
So Abheet’s lazy salute is at odds with the rest of his tidy appearance and cheerful demeanor. We then learn that Jenkins had been part of some scandal at his old post so perhaps there is some animosity that Jenkins, as a possible dirty cop(?) is Abheet’s superior (jealousy; resentment, anger). Jenkins also doesn’t want to be there; he wants to be vacationing in the Himalayas.
Have we met Jenkins before? Everything at the police station seems to be doing its job poorly, such as the fan like a wilted flower, and Abheet Singh’s inability to salute properly. Jenkins does not sound like an Indian name; is he white? Is that why we doesn’t understand marriages arranged in childhood? He wonders how people will know how they’ll turn out – and someone is a murderer so he’s right to be skeptical
Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 43, “When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see”. In his sonnet he describes the paradox of how when our eyes are closed (wink means to dream) that we see best in our dreams, that when it is dark it is actually most light and that in the light is when we can clearly see the absence of what we love. Emily agrees with Bill on this paradox, perhaps because no matter how well a poem can be written it can’t really do justice to the subject of the poem.
Emily begins by playing with the words “I” and ” Eye” and then makes a connection to the “Faith” which is something that can only truly occur when one cannot see; faith occurs in the absence of physical light (evidence) because it is its own source of light that can see past the darkness to reveal a greater truth. And to do so one must see with a different set of eyes, which Emily refers to as “My Hazel Eye” but not because her actual eyes were “Hazel” but because her “I” is “Hazel”, the “I” she truly sees with because the “I” has “Faith”.
However, I don’t believe she is limiting “Faith” to just a religious definition; she does not mention God or angles, rather she seems to be writing about the absolute form of “Grace”, not just any particular God’s “Grace” but pure “Grace”, the fullest expression of a benevolence that does not judge but rather grants an absolute salvation for anyone willing to accept it. And this “Grace” is, unlike the sun in “There came a Day – at Summer’s full” a light that can only be seen with “My Hazel Eye”, that “Eye” of the “I” which can “behold” the world which no physical light can illuminate.
For example, she writes that “my sense [is] obscured” when she is awake rather than when she is asleep during “periods of shutting” when the true “light” falls on “The Features so beloved”. She is saying that our senses are not capable of truly seeing the forms – such as the form of “Grace” – but that in our dreams we can comprehend them. Though she is asleep “in my Dream” she will “arise” which is a wonderful image and paradox of the sleeper arising, of being truly awake when one is asleep. No wonder she gets annoyed with her father when he tries to wake her up to early as in “Sleep is supposed to be” and “Where bells no more affright the morn” because to her the waking world is really when we are most oblivious to the wonder of “Grace”.
The same can also be said for the world of art and poetry. Dante wrote about his perfect love with Beatrice but could only express the pure form of that love by placing her in paradise, in other words by placing her in a work of art. And though he loved her when she was alive and could physically see her by the light of day, it was in his imagination and in art in which the fullest expression of his pure love to her could be expressed. The same holds true for Emily who sees the world must fully in her poetry and when her pen, not the actual sun in the summer’s sky, illuminates the world of the “perfectness” of the forms. Thus art is a form of “Grace” that we can see with both our “Eye” and our “I”, a “lid” which can be opened so that we can glimpse the beauty beyond. And this beauty is something she must “better see”, not just in the sense of it being more clear, but that she “better” do it because it is important, because to truly find one’s way to “Grace” one must learn to see with their “Hazel Eye”, with their “I” and not only their sensual “eye”.