Why have Lin never encountered this phenomenon in the book.
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Although it is not specifically identified or talked about in the book, caste system characteristics are clearly noted. For example, the slums of thousands of poor people. The book does not set out to explain the caste system to the reader - it is an autobiography, not a novel seeking to enlighten people on the ways of India.
My daughter and I read, and continue to read this book,---her first, then me. We have talked about this because I, too, brought up the subject. First, I don't think the subject could be totally ignored since,, knowing anything about Indian sub-continental history, it is a defining element to that culture. Linbaba treats it as unimportant in his relationships by introducing characters such as Vikram and Kavita who are supposed to represent the "new modern India." These people are introduced, however, after Lin is taken on his tour by Prabaker to see "the really city." That said to me that there was an unspoken acknowledging of a stricter, more ancient and embedded culture, that Prabu wanted Lin to understand. For some reason, Prabu trusted that Lin could handle the dichotomy.