Okay, so it was Gordy who showed me a book written by the guy who knew the answer.
It was Euripides, this Greek writer from the fifth century BC.
A way-old dude.
In one of his plays, Medea says, "What greater grief than the loss of one's native land?"
I read that and though, "Well, of course, man. We Indians have LOST EVERYTHING. We lost our native land, we lost our languages, we lost our songs and dances. We lost each other. We only know how to lose and be lost."
But it's more than that, too.
I mean, the thing is, Medea was so distraught by the world, and felt so betrayed, that she murdered her own kids.
She thought the world was that joyless.
And, after Eugene's funeral, I agreed with her. I could have easily killed myself, killed my mother and father, killed the birds, killed the trees, and killed the oxygen in the air.
More than anything, I wanted to kill God.
I was joyless. (24.21-24.31)
Euripides' Medea is a Greek tragedy about a woman who is abandoned by her husband and has her homeland taken away. This situation turns into a snowball of destruction that leads her to kill her own children. Arnold can relate – at least in part. His people also had their land taken away and have become very destructive. They haven't killed their children, but they do have a tendency to kill each other. How, though, is Arnold's ending different from Medea's? Is Arnold living in a tragedy? (For more, see our section on "Genre: Colonial Literature.")