Chameleon Ranbir Sahota Essay Contest

The most important character in the short story “Chameleon” by Ranbir Sahota is Rita. Besides her, other important characters are Rita’s parents and her boyfriend Mark. Sanjay and Sunil Methi are also very relevant, as they represent the way in which the traditional Indian society has become blind to the changes within the younger generations. In what follows, we will focus on Rita, her parents and Mark and we will only briefly discuss Sanjay and Sunil Methi.

Rita

Besides being the protagonist of the story, Rita Patel is also the narrator.

Outer characterisation

From her outer characterisation done directly by herself, we discover that Rita is a young woman in a conflictual situation:

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Inner characterisation

Rita’s inner characterisation reveals deeper layers of her conflictual situation. First of all, she has a white English boyfriend, Mark, whom she tries to hide from her parents. The tension of always having to lie is revealed from the very beginning when Mark calls her changing his voice and pretending he is a girl.

She is also characterised by her immense love for Mark, the man whom she cannot see herself without:

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Mark

Mark is Rita’s boyfriend. Here, you can read his outer and inner characterisation.

Outer characterisation

Initially, his outer characterisation shows the lengths he goes just to be able to speak to his girlfriend, changing his voice over the phone:

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Inner characterisation

His inner characterisation reveals that he is in a similar situation to Rita’s. However, he does not hide his relationship from his parents, like Rita does. This shows that he is more open-minded and not as afraid of the consequences as Rita is.

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Rita’s parents

Rita’s parents represent the obstacle between Rita and her true happiness. Rita’s father has come to England because he wanted to earn more and because he followed his friends:

He came to England because his friends did and had worked in the same factory for thirty years, never missing a day ...

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Sanjay and Sunil Methi

The characters of Sanjay and Sunil are very relevant because they represent changes in the Indian way of life. On the one hand, Sunil, the son of Mrs Methi, is a gay Indian, a concept that his parents cannot accept: “’Indians aren’t gay’, they’d say and change the subject.”

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